Brandon Smith

IPBS Statehouse Reporter

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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Business
3:49 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Jobs Report: Almost 16,000 Positions Created In November

It's the most jobs the state has seen created in any month for a decade-and-a-half.
Credit Andreas Johannsen / https://www.flickr.com/photos/andjohan/564471485

Indiana’s private sector added more jobs last month than any single month in 15 years.  Yet the state’s unemployment rate remains unchanged.

The private sector added nearly 16,000 jobs in November, led by huge gains in the Professional and Business services sector. 

But the state’s unemployment rate held steady for the third consecutive month at 5.7-percent.  That’s because the additional jobs were largely offset by additions to the workforce – more than 12,000 people last month joined the job hunt. 

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Government
4:13 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

State Revenue Forecast Stable, But Gambling And Smoking Cash Evaporating

Governor Pence says he wants to use the state's revenue picture to push for more education initiatives.
Credit Jim Nix / https://www.flickr.com/photos/jimnix/6168273244

Indiana’s gaming revenue has been in free fall for a few years, and it’s predicted to continue its drop in the upcoming two-year budget cycle. 

That’s in large part because of increased competition from neighboring states. 

A legislative study committee is proposing changes to the industry that include moving riverboats on land, allowing live dealers rather than electronic table games at racinos, and tax incentives. 

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Government
5:08 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

New Group Will Push For Non-Partisan Redistricting

Groups that advocate "good government" say gerrymandering in states such as Indiana has led to shrinking voter turnout figures.
Credit https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/IN

Indiana’s voter turnout in the last election was the lowest in its history and the worst in the country.  Common Cause Indiana’s Julia Vaughn says that’s in part because voters don’t have enough choices, noting that 44 out of the 100 state Representatives ran unopposed.

“A lot of people are waking up that redistricting reform is something that we need to do here in Indiana to really revive our democracy, breathe some life back into it,” Vaughn says.

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General News
5:52 am
Mon December 15, 2014

New State Revenue Forecast To Be Released This Week

Credit Simon Cunningham / https://www.flickr.com/photos/lendingmemo/

A big piece of the state budget-writing puzzle will be revealed this week when analysts present a new revenue forecast to the State Budget Committee. 

Last fiscal year, Indiana experienced essentially flat revenue growth, which spurred the governor to cut state agency and public university budgets.  Through nearly half of the current fiscal year, revenue growth has been about one or two percent, what Office of Management and Budget director Chris Atkins describes as “sluggish but positive.”  He says he’s hoping for a rosier outlook in the upcoming forecast.

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Government
3:35 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Panels Examines What Ethics Changes State Government Needs

A former state lawmaker and a Kentucky ethicist weighed in on the matter Friday.
Credit Noah Coffey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/noahwesley/

Ethics experts and former lawmakers say ethics reform must be rooted in a creating a culture of values in government. 

Controversies over the past year involving a House lawmaker, an INDOT official and the former State Superintendent spurred a call for reform from the legislature. 

Citizen advocacy groups such as Common Cause Indiana, which organized a panel discussion at the Statehouse Friday, have long stressed a need for robust reform. 

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