May 17, 2017-Governor Eric Holcomb will be in the area tomorrow to sign a a pair of “ceremonial bill signings.” At 9:00 a.m. he will celebrate the signing of House Bill 1144 in Michigan City. House Bill 1144, written by Representative Hal Slager of Schererville, steals local control and gives it to the un-elected Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority(RDA). The bill was pushed by One Region and their partner NIPSCO. Local elected officials in Hammond and Munster panned the bill as a disastrous power grab saying it would create a “Shadow government.” Gary Common Council President Ron Brewer stated the bill “would devastate our community” when signing a resolution opposing the disastrous bill. Under the bill the un-elected RDA, led by Community Hospital CEO Donald Fesko, can come into any town with a train station and grab property tax and local option income tax money for 30 years. The money will be used to build mixed-use, multi-family dwellings according to a comprehensive strategic plan authored by Policy Analytics. Policy Analytics provides rosy predictions as to the success of the plan just as they predicted 86,000 jobs upon completion of the Gary/Chicago International Airport.
At 3:30 p.m., Governor Holcomb will attend a reception with One Region members at the Munster Center for Performing Arts. The Munster Center for Performing Arts is owned and operated by the Community Foundation of Northwest Indiana, Inc. Donald Fesko, the Chair of the RDA, is the CEO of Community Foundation. One Region is a not-for-profit organization created by The Times, Congressman Peter Visclosky, and Democratic State Representative Charlie Brown. One Region receives the overwhelming majority of its revenue from governmental sources according to IRS filings.