Economy

EYE ON THE PIE: Election is critical to Gary's futureRestricted Content

April 10, 2006
Morton Marcus
Let's sell Fort Wayne and its surrounding counties to Ohio or Michigan. Or in the spirit of the day, at least we could lease out part of northeast Indiana. If we got rid of Fort Wayne (Allen County) and two counties to the north (Steuben and DeKalb) plus one county to the south (Adams) and one to the west (Huntington), we could decrease our state's population by 491,500. Why would we want to do that? There's no good reason to...
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Experts: Businesses should prep for bird flu: Vast majority of U.S. companies have not budgeted for possible pandemic, despite warnings from health officialsRestricted Content

April 10, 2006
Scott Olson
The much-hyped Y2K computer bug came and went without so much as a whimper from a whirring hard drive. But unlike the threat of malfunctioning computers, health experts warn that the potential danger of an avian flu pandemic is far greater. In the event of a widespread outbreak in the United States, companies large and small need to be prepared in order to keep interruptions to a minimum, they say. "I am an evangelist for having a contingency plan," said...
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Tourism's new buzz: Product development: Officials want to build on Indiana's unique assetsRestricted Content

April 3, 2006
Matthew Kish
Billboards in southern Indiana used to tug spelunkers in four different directions. Come to Marengo Caves. Spend an afternoon at Bluespring Caverns. Visit Wyandotte Caves. Don a headlamp at Squire Boone Caverns. Two years ago, however, operators at the four attractions decided it might be a better use of cash to market the area as a single attraction. They pooled their advertising budgets and printed a brochure that listed all four destinations. They also created a passport that visitors could...
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Master planner: Veteran event organizer Smith helps city land major eventsRestricted Content

March 27, 2006
Matthew Kish
Maribeth Smith never talks about herself. Despite engineering some of the biggest events in the city's history-everything from Final Fours to the Jazz Fest to last year's meeting of the American Association of Museums-she's loathe to use the word "I." She prefers "we." As in "we" the city. Or "we" Maribeth Smith & Associates, her 14-year-old event planning firm. But as reticent as the 62-yearold Smith might be to take credit for her accomplishments, convention organizers and city officials say...
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Schneider Corp. has designs on big growth in Lawrence: Long-time engineering firm gets boost from state as it plans to make $4.4 million investment, add 140 workersRestricted Content

March 27, 2006
Scott Olson
The voluminous building the Schneider Corp. occupies on the former Fort Benjamin Harrison property was built as a barracks for enlisted men and later converted to a dormitory. So it's fitting that the locally based engineering firm has a vision to create a university-type setting on its nearly fouracre campus where employees can receive training without stepping foot off the property. "We've worked on a strategic plan for the last couple of years, and Schneider University is part of that...
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TechPoint names up-and-coming Mira nominees: Annual award celebrates excellence in innovationRestricted Content

March 20, 2006
Peter Schnitzler
TechPoint won't distribute its annual Mira awards until its banquet at the Indiana Roof Ballroom May 19. But the state's largest high-tech trade association has completed the nomination process for its top awards, pulling together a list of 49 innovative companies and educators in such categories as information technology, life sciences and advanced manufacturing. About 750 people usually attend the Mira banquet. But the awards are meant to reverberate among a far wider population all year long as confirmation which...
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BULLS & BEARS: Stop-loss orders might cost you in long runRestricted Content

March 20, 2006
Dave Gilreath
Every fortnight, my firm sends out a newsletter to clients, prospects and friends. In it, we opine on the stock market, the economy, pop culture and politics. If you read this column, you have a general idea of the tone of the letters. This week, we got "fan mail" from neither a client nor a friend, but from a gentleman we had presented our services to about 18 months ago. He started his letter stating he found our writings "informative,...
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Hospitality madness: City wants to grow reputation as Final Four's ideal siteRestricted Content

March 20, 2006
Matthew Kish
Bill Evans' phone rang at 11 p.m. It was a basketball team. The players wanted milkshakes. He popped up like he was bouncing on one of those mini-trampolines mascots use to dunk basketballs at halftime. He tapped his partner on the shoulder. They rolled two coolers to the downtown Steak n Shake. He ordered milkshakes. Large ones. Two for each player. They put the shakes in the coolers and rolled them through the downtown night to the team hotel. The...
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Short session long on action: Led by Major Moves, telecom successes, biz interests fared well in 2006 General AssemblyRestricted Content

March 20, 2006
In less than three months, the Indiana General Assembly approved a pair of blockbuster economic-development measures designed to dramatically upgrade the state's infrastructure. With the passage of Gov. Mitch Daniels' Major Moves initiative, Indiana will lease the Indiana Toll Road to an Australian-Spanish consortium for 75 years. It will use the upfront, $3.9 billion payment to build roads. Meanwhile, the approval of telecom deregulation sets the stage for more local phone, cable and Internet competition. Daniels, a Republican, argued that...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Revised data shows state faring better than thoughtRestricted Content

March 20, 2006
Patrick Barkey
If you were watching this space to see what-if any-silver lining for Indiana could be found in the harsh blows about to fall on the high pay, full benefit, Big Three automaker production jobs I promised to talk about last week, I ask your forbearance. The Toyota Corp. has beaten me to the punch. The company's announcement that it plans to build its top-selling Camry in Lafayette says it better than any words I could come up with. The future...
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You can take it to the bank: Financial experts say state's economy is rising, merger mania isn't over and regulatory laws could take a tollRestricted Content

March 13, 2006
On Feb. 24, IBJ Publisher Chris Katterjohn, Managing Editor Greg Andrews and banking reporter Matt Kish sat down with four leaders from Indianapolis' banking and finance sector: Judith Ripley, director of the Indiana Department of Financial Institutions; Kit Stolen, CEO of Union Federal Bank of Indianapolis; Steve Beck, president and CEO of the Indiana Venture Center; and Keith Slifer, senior vice president of LaSalle Bank. Among the topics of conversation: How's the state's economy doing? Are more bank mergers on...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Fixed-rate mortgage loans remain a relative bargainRestricted Content

March 13, 2006
Ron Mcguire
Mortgage lenders have found all sorts of creative ways to get money into the hands of eager buyers, with interestonly, piggy-back and no-doc loans. While these loans have provided opportunities to fund more house than ever, the opportunity to sleep peacefully knowing your payments are locked in place makes fixed-rate mortgages a desirable option for many homeowners these days. Closing gap Even with interest rates inching up, fixed-rate mortgages never looked better compared to adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARMs, and short-term...
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Wishard bounces back, projects $23M surplus: Improved billing, debt collection dry up red inkRestricted Content

March 6, 2006
Tom Murphy
Wishard Health Services made it back into the black in 2005, three years after posting a staggering loss of $77 million. The not-for-profit, public hospital system expects to record a $23 million surplus on $362 million in revenue when budget totals are final in a few months. Its leaders expect to wind up with another surplus in 2006. Such performance is a noteworthy achievement in the public health universe, said Lynne Fagnani, senior vice president for the Washington, D.C.-based National...
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CHRIS KATTERJOHN Commentary: Partisanship: The nemesis of progressRestricted Content

March 6, 2006
Like Mayor Bart Peterson's Indianapolis Works legislation last year, Gov. Mitch Daniels' Major Moves bill has become the political football of this legislative season. The rhetoric and posturing associated with the highway funding bill has been as partisan and irrational as it comes. It's as if the Democrats who oppose Major Moves are trying to compensate for their party's inability to produce a solution to our state's highways needs during the previous 16 years of Democratic leadership under governors Bayh,...
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Open source gaining traction: Government departments, more businesses seek alternatives to Microsoft, othersRestricted Content

February 27, 2006
Scott Olson
The Indiana Department of Education's effort to outfit high schools with computers is a costly endeavor for a state strapped for cash. But installing what is known as open-source software is softening the blow. As the name implies, open-source programming is available for users to study, modify and share freely-a sharp contrast to the proprietary software sold by behemoths such as Microsoft Corp. and Oracle. Expensive licensing fees associated with the proprietary software sent the Education Department looking for alternatives....
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Ethanol's secret: Highly touted alternative fuel needs tax subsidies to surviveRestricted Content

February 27, 2006
Chris O\'malley
State and local leaders have been crowing about how ethanol plants will bring more jobs to Indiana and put more dollars in the pockets of corn farmers. If that prospect isn't enough to make votecoveting politicians and corn farmers giddy, General Motors Corp. started singing ethanol's praises this month in TV ads. Joyous motorists frolic under blue skies-all thanks to ethanol's promise of cleaner air and energy independence from oil. But there's another economic reality for motorists who use E85,...
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PETER SCHNITZLER Commentary: Embrace India while you still canRestricted Content

February 27, 2006
PETER SCHNITZLER Commentary Embrace India while you still can India will fool you, if you don't pay attention. The term "developing nation" doesn't begin to do it justice. Having traveled internationally a number of times before, I thought I was prepared for whatever culture shocks awaited more than 8,000 miles away. I anticipated the heaving crowds, the livestock in the crumbling streets, even the abject poverty. I didn't expect innovation. And especially not entrepreneurship on par with the kind found...
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BULLS & BEARS: Indiana's in biofuel game; now it should strive to winRestricted Content

February 27, 2006
Ken Skarbeck
Over the past few months, Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar has been vocal in touting the benefits of renewable fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel. It would be wise for the state's government and business leaders to heed his message. The renewable fuel industry is gathering momentum and has a high probability of growing into a substantial industry. The energy bill President Bush signed into law last summer mandates the use of 7.5 billion gallons of ethanol each year by 2012,...
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Emerging India: Opportunity or threat?: Indiana businesses brace for growing global competitionRestricted Content

February 27, 2006
Peter Schnitzler
Opportunity or threat? Indiana businesses brace for growing global competition Next month, President Bush will make his first official visit to India. To most of the American media, it'll be just one more round of global terrorism discussions with a distant foreign nation, perhaps worthy of a brief. The Indian press knows better. Six weeks ahead of Bush's trip, banner headlines about it ran in every newspaper. Al Hubbard knows better, too. Friends with Bush since their days at Harvard...
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Entrepreneurship the Indian way: A day with a Bangalore software-maker reveals business parallelsRestricted Content

February 20, 2006
Peter Schnitzler
BANGALORE, India-HealthAsyst CEO Umesh Bajaj remembers when the only computers allowed in India were self-assembled. As recently as 20 years ago, the Indian government's protectionist measures prohibited foreign companies from directly selling PCs. Instead, Indians imported microchips and built the computers themselves. In his first job as an electronics engineer for an Indian conglomerate, Bajaj crisscrossed the country marketing versions of mainframes and desktops made in India. Today Bajaj, a 55-year-old born in New Delhi, owns his own Bangalore-based health...
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Emerging India: Passage to Bangalore: Hoosiers seek outsourcing and investment opportunitiesRestricted Content

February 20, 2006
Peter Schnitzler
Passage to Bangalore Hoosiers seek outsourcing and investment opportunities BANGALORE, India-The deal was falling apart. Despite a week of flirtation and friendly negotiations, the two young Indian entrepreneurs rejected the offer from the group of Hoosier investors. Frustrated, the investors walked out of the hotel conference room. The chance to speculate on an Indian software startup called Picsquare.comhad fizzled. But none of the six Indiana business leaders was demoralized. After all, they'd crossed the globe to pursue business opportunities in...
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BULLS & BEARS: Trading too much in stocks a great way to erase profitsRestricted Content

February 20, 2006
Dave Gilreath
A common hindrance to creating wealth from stocks is overtrading. Investors feel compelled to take a profit because, as they like to say, "If you don't sell, the gain is just 'on paper.'" However, some of the world's best investors commit funds to a stock and hold it for fairly long periods; not forever, but quite a while. According to the mutual-fund-ratingservice Morningstar, there is an inverse correlation between turnover and performance in the funds they monitor. Sure, some folks...
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Want-ad battle brewing: Newspapers feel threatened by state's deal with MonsterRestricted Content

February 13, 2006
Anthony Schoettle
A four-year, $2.8 million deal between the DWD and McLean, Va.-based Monster Government Solutions to develop and maintain an online job search and recruitment system is coming under heavy fire, with newspaper operators saying a system funded by their own tax dollars will harm their business. DWD officials said the deal is designed to lower unemployment and boost Indiana's economy. "We think this deal is going to result in a brain gain, keeping people employed and keeping our college graduates...
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Roll the cameras: State cranks up efforts to court film industry under new task forceRestricted Content

February 13, 2006
Scott Olson
North Carolina offers a 15-percent tax credit to filmmakers to help offset production costs. The credit recently helped sway a national retailer to shoot an in-store commercial there instead of in Indiana. While the $600,000 production hardly compares to a multimillion-dollar motion picture, losing it was a big deal for local companies that didn't get the work. Holli Hanley of Grand Illusion Lighting Inc. in Zionsville, which rents lighting equipment to production companies, lamented the loss. "Everyone in the entire...
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BRIAN WILLIAMS Commentary: Health care is hurting Indiana's economyRestricted Content

February 13, 2006
Nearly 875,000 Hoosiers lack health insurance, including 165,350 children. Lack of health insurance takes a devastating toll on Hoosiers and the state's economic health, and the effect of the uninsured will only get worse as their numbers grow. As companies confront rising health care costs, the obvious solution is dropping or scaling back health-insurance benefits. As a result, the number of uninsured increases, resulting in a premium cost shift to the insured and increased cost for government-provided health care. Over...
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