INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Mitch Daniels' legal staff is trying to determine whether he can lobby state lawmakers when he takes over as president of Purdue University.
Daniels said Friday he wasn't sure whether he could press members of the General Assembly on the university's behalf because state ethics rules require a one-year "cool down" for public officials after leaving office. If the law is unclear, he said he would "lean" against lobbying in his first year at Purdue.
"If anything, I'm going to lean on the side of extra caution. If that means someone else tells the story down here tells the story for at least a year, that's what it means," Daniels said, motioning to Indianapolis.
Daniels was named Purdue's president Thursday and will start at the university in January.
The upcoming legislative session will be critical for university leaders as lawmakers craft the state's next two-year budget. Indiana's public universities have struggled with state funding cuts and rising tuition costs. Since 2009, Daniels has ordered more than $150 million in cuts to public education — about $30 million to Purdue.
But there likely will be more money to dole out to cash-starved programs next year. The state's collection of taxes has improved, Daniels amassed a cash savings of roughly $1.8 billion, and a massive error in collecting corporate income taxes resulted in roughly $100 million more annually becoming available to the state.