Economy

VIEWPOINT: 'Buy local' should be rallying cryRestricted Content

April 7, 2008
Brian Sullivan
In recent months, our governor and mayors across the state proudly have announced business developments and out-of-state companies' plans to expand or relocate in Indiana. They've worked overtime to earn these economic boosts, and they're to be congrat ulated for helping bolster the state and local economy. But we're ignoring a simple strategy that could yield many more high-paying jobs: Buy local. Here's the irony: Pursuing this strategy doesn't have to cost a dime. No recruiting trips to China, no...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Sales tax increase helps cut government spendingRestricted Content

April 7, 2008
Mike Hicks
Indiana's sales taxes rose a penny this week, to 7 percent. The increase was a necessary remedy to our property tax mess. But it's worth laying out its impact on our economy. Sales tax is paid by Hoosier residents, visitors and businesses alike. By my estimates, Indiana households will pay $640 million in additional sales taxes, businesses $500 million more, and out-of-state visitors an extra $160 million. The two effects economists might worry about with a tax hike are changes...
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Developer pulls back on growth to survive precarious economyRestricted Content

March 31, 2008
Cory Schouten
The CEO of locally based Lauth Group Inc. says most people he knows in the business, even the steely types who always project optimism, are privately nervous about the economic morass that began with a collapse in subprime mortgages.
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BEHIND THE NEWS: 2 tech firms planning IPOs get curveball from marketsRestricted Content

March 31, 2008
Greg Andrews
Aprimo Inc. and ExactTarget Inc. haven't had to weather the recent stock-market turmoil. Not directly, at least. But the two Indianapolis software companies-which filed plans for IPOs last fall, when markets were comparatively serene-surely would have made their public debuts by now if conditions had remained favorable. Lately, they've been anything but. The tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite is off 12 percent in the year. And the volatility of the Dow Jones industrial average is enough to make anyone queasy. One day,...
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VIEWPOINT: Get on board with transit, or miss the busRestricted Content

March 31, 2008
Dennis Dye
The Crossroads of America is at a crossroads-a transportation crossroads. And the direction we choose will affect our area's competitiveness and economy for decades. It's imperative that we embrace mass transit. Mass transit matters because it correlates to a key concern for companies planning to move or expand: access to a qualified work force. In choosing a community, companies assess obvious factors such as site acquisition costs and taxation, but even those typically take a back seat to work-force access....
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Talk of corporate greed falls flat with this economistRestricted Content

March 31, 2008
Mike Hicks
It is an election year again, and talk of corporate greed, that stalwart in the lexicon of electioneering, once again fills the airwaves. An economics columnist usually wouldn't write about matters of sin. But attacks on greed always seem to have a policy message attached, and that is a big problem for all of us. Formally, corporations cannot be greedy. Corporations, not being human, cannot feel the weight of sin and so do not exhibit greed any more than they...
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Legislators tackle range of business-related measures:Restricted Content

March 24, 2008
Property tax reform took center stage during the just-completed session of the Indiana General Assembly. But lawmakers also grappled with a host of other measures with business implications. A roundup appears below. ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT One of the session's most divisive issues-whether to penalize companies that hire illegal immigrants-died during the waning hours. Under the legislation, introduced by Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, companies could have had their business licenses suspended, or revoked after three instances. The Senate and House passed...
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Local bankers surprised by Bear bailout: Observers hope firm's sudden sale signals peak of financial turmoilRestricted Content

March 24, 2008
Cory Schouten
The local president of Milwaukee-based M&I Bank, Reagan Rick, got the shocking news while waiting for a plane at Boston Logan International Airport. It came in a text message from Robert Warrington, the former CEO of First Indiana Bank, the Indianapolis bank M&I acquired last year for $529 million. Warrington told him 85-year-old New York-based investment bank Bear Stearns Cos. had been sold to JP Morgan Chase Co.-with backing from the Federal Reserve-for a mere $2 per share. "The degree...
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Foreclosures keep 'em busy: Bankruptcy attorneys, credit counselors seeing surge in clientsRestricted Content

March 24, 2008
Scott Olson
Many consumer bankruptcies typically can be traced to a divorce, job loss or medical issue. Now another perpetrator-subprime mortgages-is entering the fray. The fallout from the housing crisis, coupled with a weakening economy, is contributing to a rise in bankruptcy filings nationwide. They spiked more than 30 percent in January compared with the same time last year, according to the Virginia-based American Bankruptcy Institute. With more than 1 million subprime mortgages due to reset this year, ABI Executive Director Samuel...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: New tax break makes Indiana more attractive than everRestricted Content

March 17, 2008
Cedric D\'hue
Rapid growth in the high-tech fields of biotechnology and life science has made Indiana a shining example of how promoting emerging industries can transform an agricultural and manufacturingbased economy into a national leader in innovation. It has done so by creating an environment in which knowledge-based businesses can thrive. Building on this success, Indiana continues to position itself as a leader in emerging technologies. A new tax law that took effect this year will present another major step toward this...
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Tech innovator tries entrepreneurship again: iGoDigital software already used by major retailersRestricted Content

March 17, 2008
Peter Schnitzler
Eric Tobias, the IT architect behind Carmel-based online battery supplier Technuity Inc., now is energizing another startup, Indianapolis-based iGoDigital, a fast-growing player in "recommendation" software for retailers. Tobias, 31, was chief technology officer of Technuity, which distributes batteries, carrying cases and electronics accessories. He left the company, once known as Batteries.com, after it was acquired in November by Hauppauge, N.Y.-based Audiovox Corp. for $16.5 million, plus the repayment of $4 million in debt. The deal added $30 million to Audiovox's...
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STATEHOUSE DISPATCH: Lawmakers left lots of touchy issues for waning daysRestricted Content

March 17, 2008
Ed Feigenbaum
As we prepared this column at midweek, there still was no certainty about a property tax relief and reform package resulting from the regular session, set to adjourn sine die March 14. While some lawmakers were proclaiming no hope of enacting a package before time expired in the regular session, others were seeing movement toward a plan that was structured largely along the lines of the original package offered by Gov. Mitch Daniels. Democrats altered strategy as the scheduled adjournment...
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RETURN ON TECHNOLOGY: Just when you thought airport lines couldn't get any longerRestricted Content

March 17, 2008
Tim Altom
This isn't a column about business technology per se, but I couldn't resist the temptation to write about a half-dozen states thumbing their noses at the federal government and potentially backing up travel this spring at airports all over the country, including some of the world's busiest, all over a piece of plastic. After the tragedy of 9/11, one of the 9/11 Commission's recommendations was to create a hard-to-fake identity card for Americans. In 2005, Congress passed a huge defense...
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INVESTING: Process of deleveraging creating lots of carnageRestricted Content

March 10, 2008
Ken Skarbeck
The deleveraging of America continues with unpleasant consequences for consumers and investors who are overextended. One problem with a mass deleveraging is that the repeated selling of an asset to repay a debt burden leads to further declines in the price of that asset. That, in turn, forces others to sell, as the lower asset values no longer support their debt obligations. It's otherwise known as a vicious circle. The Federal Reserve, the U.S. Treasury and Congress are scrambling to...
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Finish Line escapes one crisis, but challenges abound: Indianapolis-based athletic-wear retailer now shifts its attention to reinvigorating sales after prolonged slumpRestricted Content

March 10, 2008
Cory Schouten
Executives at locally based The Finish Line Inc. felt a weight lifted after escaping a potentially ruinous attempt to acquire Genesco Inc., a company more than twice its size. But there's no time for rest: They now must focus on a core business that was floundering even before Finish Line bid $1.5 billion in June 2007 for the Tennessee-based parent company of mall chains Hat World, Lids and Journeys. Finish Line this month reported its eighth consecutive quarter with declining...
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NOTIONS: Variations on the theme of March MadnessRestricted Content

March 10, 2008
Bruce Hetrick
March Madness is upon us-that glorious season born in a Springfield, Mass., peach basket and now headquartered, literally and spiritually, in the Hoosier state. That means, of course, high-pressure conference tournaments; Big Dance brackets and pairings; controversial selections and exclusions; friendly wagers; blowouts; upsets; scoring runs; dry spells; lead changes; come-frombehind victories; heartbreaking defeats; and last-second, game-winning three-pointers. But in only the first week of the third month of the Gregorian calendar, it's clear-from personal life, to the recession (er...
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EYE ON THE PIE: Waiting for evidence of recessionRestricted Content

March 10, 2008
Morton Marcus
Save the date: March 27. That's when the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis will release the latest data on Indiana's economy. At that time, we'll get the first estimate of personal income for the last three months of 2007, plus revisions of previous quarters. If there is a recession, that's where we will see the first clear indications. If? Yes, it is still not clear if there is a recession because the data, our photos of economic performance, are not...
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Borshoff is latest communications company to diversify: Firm known for public relations seeks creative growthRestricted Content

March 10, 2008
Anthony Schoettle
An Indianapolis-based firm long known for public relations and crisis communications work is now trying to make its mark as a full-service advertising agency. Borshoff, formerly Borshoff Johnson Matthews, last month hired Art Haynie, a veteran Los Angeles-based creative director, to bolster the effort. "Public relations has been our handle for a long time," said company founder Myra Borshoff Cook. "Now, we have to get the word out that we're just as strong in other areas. To grow we feel...
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SURF THIS: At this networking site, 'Smaller' is the new better

March 3, 2008
Jim Cota
Several years ago, I had a conversation with a friend about "The Tipping Point," a now-famous book by economist Malcolm Gladwell. During this conversation, my friend casually mentioned that he thought it would be beneficial (though I think he may have actually said, "Wouldn't it be cool...") to get together with other people in the community to discuss the ideas put forth in this book and a variety of other "businessrelated" titles. I admit, I agreed that it would, indeed,...
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Many of state's new jobs are at call centersRestricted Content

March 3, 2008
Cory Schouten
The state's economic development leaders have been touting 2007 as a banner year that brought commitments for more than 22,000 new jobs, including positions in manufacturing, logistics and life sciences. But almost 20 percent of the announced jobs would be in call centers--jobs that typically pay near or below the state's $35,000 average annual wage.
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Right time for REITs?: Some predict beaten-down sector is ready for another winning streakRestricted Content

February 25, 2008
Cory Schouten
For seven years, real estate investment trusts delivered returns that clobbered the overall stock market. Then, last year, the winning streak came to an end. Between January 2007 and January 2008, REITs as a whole lost 24 percent of their value. An index of the companies took a bigger hit than most every other sector. Among local REITs, Duke Realty Corp. was the hardest hit, with its stock price falling 44 percent, from about $41 to $23, during the one-year...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Study exposes unfortunate work-force realitiesRestricted Content

February 25, 2008
Mike Hicks
For more than a half-century, we have built complex statistical models to attempt to explain why regions enjoy different levels of prosperity. Virtually every conceivable variable-from ethno-linguistic similarity indexes to existing natural resources to government structures-have been tried, with the models proving enormously successful. One critical insight in this extensive body of research is that human capital-the quality of a labor force-yields the strongest explanation for differences in prosperity. When we apply these models to the United States, the importance...
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EYE ON THE PIE: Primaries and prudence demand attentionRestricted Content

February 25, 2008
Morton Marcus
Today-not tomorrow or next week, but now-is the moment to get involved in improving your life and the lives of your family and neighbors. Don't delay. All you need do is both of two simple things. First, find out who is running in the primary election on May 6 for the Indiana House of Representatives and Senate from your district. Yes, the national news media have told us that our Indiana primary may be meaningless. They are referring to the...
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Commentary: A story we all should heedRestricted Content

February 11, 2008
Mickey Maurer
Last month, Brightpoint Inc. Chairman and CEO Bob Laikin was honored with Indiana University's Distinguished Entrepreneurs-In-Residence Award. If the selection committee was looking for an executive with pluck, it chose well. The IU Kelley School of Business hosts the Distinguished Entrepreneurs-In-Residence program to inspire students and help them learn about the challenges of starting or expanding an emerging business. Laikin's tumultuous and exciting journey left the students as dizzy as a day-long ride on the Kings Island Beast. Laikin founded...
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Uphill battle ahead: State poses tough test for new enviro leaderRestricted Content

February 11, 2008
Chris O\'malley
By the time Jesse Kharbanda earned a Rhodes scholarship to study at Oxford, the University of Chicago student already knew he wanted to advocate environmental policies in the developing world, someday. Eight years later, some might say Kharbanda has landed in the developing world, all right-Indiana, insofar as it's considered the backwater of environmental stewardship. One might recall the state's 49thplace ranking in a 2007 review of "greenest" states by Forbes magazine. Only West Virginia-a national leader in illiteracy-scored worse....
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  1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.

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