About Watchdog Indiana

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Watchdog Indiana is a non-profit, non-connected, and non-party advocate for good government that focuses on the state and local tax burden of Hoosier working families. Watchdog Indiana provides information about the revenues, spending, and long-term debt assumption of Indiana local and state governments. An online community is established where Hoosiers come together voluntarily to help encourage our state and local governments better respond to the needs of working families. 

Government actions and state legislators are considered Taxpayer Friendly if they are results-oriented, compassionate, and fiscally responsible.

Watchdog Indiana was founded by Aaron Smith on November 14, 2001. The activities of Watchdog Indiana can be summarized under the headings of Educate, Analyze, Advocate, Motivate.

Educate. Watchdog Indiana identifies key General Assembly issues and legislative initiatives that have the potential to significantly impact working families. These issues and initiatives can generally be categorized as budget priorities, tax policy, public information access, transportation matters, local government reform, government ethics, education effectiveness, and unemployment compensation. These issues and initiatives are summarized in E-mails and on http://www.finplaneducation.net/ so ordinary citizens can better understand the public policies that affect their daily lives.

Analyze. The key issues and legislative initiatives are analyzed from the standpoint of working family impact. There are no Statehouse lobbyists with a broad-based focus on working families, and Watchdog Indiana analyses often provide a perspective that would otherwise be overlooked.

Advocate. Watchdog Indiana sends numerous E-mails to General Assembly legislators and makes dozens of committee testimonies to convey opinions on key legislative initiatives. Some Statehouse relationships have been developed to help better understand and impact legislative outcomes.

Motivate. Recipients of periodic Watchdog Indiana E-mail Updates are sometimes encouraged to contact their elected public servants to let them know what they think of a legislative initiative. Also, E-mail Update recipients are encouraged to support Taxpayer Friendly candidates during primary and general elections. Watchdog Indiana maintains an individual legislator rating web page for the Governor and all 150 General Asembly members where their votes and positions on key legislative proposals since 2001 are recorded. General Assembly candidates are sent questionnaires to help determine if they are Taxpayer Friendly.

Because monetary contributions were accepted, Watchdog Indiana was established on November 14, 2001, as a non-profit, non-connected, and non-party political action committee (see WINPAC) that provided information to those informed, concerned, and conscientious citizens of Indiana who want to help control their state and local government growth in public revenues, spending, and long-term debt assumption. Bookkeeping records of contributions conformed to the legal requirements of the Indiana Election Division. These bookkeeping records and the required Election Division reports protected contributors to Watchdog Indiana. All WINPAC reports filed with the Election Division are published on the Division's website at Indiana Campaign Finance. Of the $12,700.81 spent from November 14, 2001, through December 31, 2016, $10,622.45 (84%) came from itemized contributions by Aaron Smith. NOTE: The Watchdog Indiana Political Action Committee (WINPAC) was disbanded on January 1, 2017.

Understanding the Fundamental Watchdog Beliefs listed next will help you understand the Watchdog Indiana approach.

Fundamental Watchdog Beliefs

1. Federal, state, and local governments take in as revenues, and spend too much of, the United State's total output of goods and services.

2. Excessive government revenues and spending erode the incentive to work, lower productivity, and limit economic growth.

3. Governments at all levels can effectively provide necessary services with less revenue.

4. Increased and continual direct citizen involvement in the democratic process is necessary for governments at all levels to consistently exercise fiscal restraint.

5. The right of voters must be established and preserved to petition for binding initiatives and referenda regarding unnecessary government revenues and spending.

6. The Indiana Public Access Laws must be fully preserved and protected.

7. Analysis of government revenues and spending should focus on the movement of cash rather than the inflow and outflow of working capital.

8. Analysis of government cash incomes should focus on all revenues and not be limited to just taxes.

9. Citizens must educate themselves regarding the cash flows of government revenues and spending.

10. Candidates and elected officials who are results-oriented, compassionate, and fiscally responsible must be identified and supported.

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This page was last updated on 01/20/17.