IBJOpinion

EDITORIAL: Legislators need to create jobs, not kill them

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IBJ Editorial

We’ve heard plenty since the November election about what we should expect out of our elected officials. Our Legislature, we were told, would be all about jobs in 2011. Fiscal responsibility and education reform are front and center—but they are merely a means to the same end: jobs.

Sadly, a legislative body supposedly focused on job creation continues to willfully disregard the advice of the very business community that is expected to create those jobs.

The advice from business? Steer clear of immigration reform and gay marriage legislation. Those issues don’t advance job creation, they hurt it.

The response? Legislation dealing with immigration and marriage is sailing through the General Assembly. Our lawmakers’ professed love for job creation apparently has its limits.

Senate Bill 590 would give Indiana an immigration law on par with the controversial Arizona law. It would open the door to racial and ethnic profiling by police, creating an atmosphere of intolerance that business leaders say is inconsistent with participating in the global economy.

Indiana Chamber of Commerce President Kevin Brinegar told a Senate committee his organization is concerned the bill would hurt economic development in the state.

Cummins Inc. President Tim Solso advanced that notion in an opinion piece in The Indianapolis Star. Solso said Cummins, which has a global footprint and is one of the state’s largest employers, can’t grow in a state with a reputation for intolerance. He noted that 30 percent of the company’s Indiana work force was born outside the United States, including almost 700 from India, China and Mexico—any of whom could be subject to questioning by law enforcement officials if the bill becomes law.

The bill also amounts to a fiscal threat. Attorney General Greg Zoeller says defending its constitutionality could cost the state millions.

We wish legislators would listen to reason and reverse course on what could be a costly, job-killing bill. Pressure the federal government to secure U.S. borders, but don’t put Hoosier jobs and resources at risk in the process.

Not a single job will be created by writing a gay-marriage ban into the state constitution. Yet some are pursuing that tired cause once again in spite of objections from the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce and some employers that it will alienate talented employees—who happen to be gay.

The definition of marriage bill has legs this year thanks to the Legislature’s Republican majority, but the version of the bill that passed the House goes beyond the stated goal of its sponsors, which is to protect the institution of marriage. The bill would also prohibit anything resembling marriage. That part of the bill could jeopardize existing policies under which some companies extend benefits to their unmarried employees’ domestic partners, both gay and straight.

If sponsors of this bill are truly concerned only about the institution of marriage, why does the legislation overreach?

Republicans should stick to what they’ve historically been known for: limited government and fiscal responsibility. Both are good for the economy. Making life difficult for businesses and their employees is not.•

__________

To comment on this editorial, write to ibjedit@ibj.com.

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  • Yeah.
    More on the Indiana ban on gay marriage:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAXf7nAo2Fs

    Makes good points.
  • Needs more teeth
    Enough with the "we wish they would..." stuff. This is an opinion piece, so have an opinion. Not only that, tell people what they can do if they agree with your opinion. Is there a hearing we could attend? Does writing to your representatives help? If it passes, can it be repealed? How? Can we pressure the governor to veto any of this? I'm tired of playing dead for the Republicans in Indiana.
  • Cummins
    And, it should also be noted that Cummins Inc. was one of the first (if not THE first) company in the state to extend domestic partner benefits to its employees. Thank you Cummins for being an inclusive company. We need more leaders in the state like Tim Solso.

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  1. So, Pence wants the federal government to ignore the 2008 law that allows children from these countries to argue for asylum in front of a judge. How did this guy become governor? And how is that we'll soon be subjected to repeatedly seeing him on TV being taken seriously as a presidential candidate? Am I in Bizzaro-U.S.A.?

  2. "And the most rigorous studies of one-year preschool programs have shown short-term benefits that fade out in a few years or no benefits at all." So we are going down a path that seems to have proven not to work very well. Right intention, wrong approach?

  3. Well for Dunkin Donuts it might say that even a highly popular outlet can't make a poorly sited location work. That little strip has seen near constant churn for years.

  4. Years ago, the Pharmaceutical and Medical Device companies shifted their research investment away from Medical Institutions to focus more on private research centers, primarily because of medical institution inefficiencies in initiating clinical studies and their inability/commitment to enroll the needed number of patients in these studies. The protracted timelines of the medical institutions were prompting significant delays in the availability of new drug and medical device entities for patients and relatedly, higher R and D expenditures to the commercial industry because of these delays. While the above stated IU Health "ratio is about $2.50 in federal funding for every $1 in industry funding", the available funding is REVERSED as commercial R and D (primarily Phase I-IV clinical work)runs $2.50 to $1 for available federal funding ($76.8B to $30.9B in 2011). The above article significatly understated the available R and D funding from industry......see the Pharma and Medical Device industry websites. Clearly, if medical institutions like IU Health wish to attract more commercial studies, they will need to become more competitive with private clinical sites in their ability to be more efficient and in their commitment to meet study enrollment goals on time. Lastly, to the reference to the above Washington Post article headlined “As drug industry’s influence over research grows, so does the potential for bias", lacks some credibility as both FDA and Institutional Institutional Review Boards must approve the high proportion of these studies before studies are started. This means that both study safety and science must be approved by both entities.

  5. ChIeF and all the other critics – better is better no matter what. Get over it; they are doing better despite you ?

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