Economy

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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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS:Restricted Content

February 6, 2006
Patrick Barkey
You can tell that economists as a group don't have a marketing bone in their bodies. How else can you explain the incomprehensible name we've given the measure of economic activity we watch more closely than any other? Gross domestic product. If I were a comedian, I could probably do a sketch on what images those words conjure up. But I'm an economist, so there's little chance of that. Instead, like the rest of my brood, I am diving into...
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VIEWPOINT: Our schools let talent go to wasteRestricted Content

January 30, 2006
Ginny Burney
We have two kinds of schools: those that encourage each child to be all he/she can be and those that focus on being efficient institutions for groups of children. The first kind of school finds ways to help each child who struggles, meets each child's educational needs, and finds ways to provide each child with the context to achieve as much as he/she can at the most appropriate pace. The second kind of school is focused on making sure as...
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Busy year, but no record: A Wellpoint deal leads list for second year in row, but 2005 lacks blockbusterRestricted Content

January 30, 2006
Peter Schnitzler
For the second year in a row, a giant Wellpoint deal led the pack. As much money was involved in Wellpoint's $6.7 billion acquisition of WellChoice Inc. as in the rest of the list combined. It was a huge deal by most any company's standard-except Wellpoint's. The year before, Wellpoint's $22.7 billion merger with Anthem Inc. led all deals and then some. Thanks to that single mega-deal, 2004's $31 billion list total shattered all previous local merger and acquisition records....
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EYE ON THE PIE: Let's revisit the State of the StateRestricted Content

January 30, 2006
Morton Marcus
Quite appropriately, Gov. Mitch Daniels did not make any claims about "a revitalized Indiana economy" in his recent State of the State speech. He stuck to the theme that we are on track to turning the economy around rather than proclaiming any victory. This restraint was well-warranted. Indiana ranked 45th among the 50 states in its rate of employment growth for the past year (November-to-November figures). The nation added jobs at a 1.5-percent rate. Our 0.3-percent increase beat out only...
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Local money managers beat the Street in '05: But not by much; huge returns a distant memoryRestricted Content

January 30, 2006
Matthew Kish
Put your money in value stocks. No, put it in a mix of value and growth stocks. No, go with value stocks and a peppering of mutual funds, just to be safe. Gather Indianapolis' most prominent money managers in a room, and the advice would go something like that. Yet while the city's highest-profile wealth handlers take wildly different approaches to investing, they agree on one point: The market posted a disappointing performance in 2005. "It was a difficult year...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Americans' spending binge is ultimately unsustainableRestricted Content

January 30, 2006
Patrick Barkey
Americans don't save much these days. Twenty years ago, our 9-percent rate of savings was troubling and somewhat embarrassing, compared with the double-digit savings rates of other industrialized economies. But that rate seems sky-high compared with today. If savings rates remain as low as they've been the last few months, we may have to rename them. Dis-saving rates? It's an odd-sounding word, if it even is one. But what else do you call a negative savings rate? According to the...
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Busy year, but no record: A Wellpoint deal leads list for second year in row, but 2005 lacks blockbusterRestricted Content

January 23, 2006
Peter Schnitzler
For the second year in a row, a giant Wellpoint deal led the pack. As much money was involved in Wellpoint's $6.7 billion acquisition of WellChoice Inc. as in the rest of the list combined. It was a huge deal by most any company's standard-except Wellpoint's. The year before, Wellpoint's $22.7 billion merger with Anthem Inc. led all deals and then some. Thanks to that single mega-deal, 2004's $31 billion list total shattered all previous local merger and acquisition records....
More

EYE ON THE PIE: Let's revisit the State of the StateRestricted Content

January 23, 2006
Morton Marcus
Quite appropriately, Gov. Mitch Daniels did not make any claims about "a revitalized Indiana economy" in his recent State of the State speech. He stuck to the theme that we are on track to turning the economy around rather than proclaiming any victory. This restraint was well-warranted. Indiana ranked 45th among the 50 states in its rate of employment growth for the past year (November-to-November figures). The nation added jobs at a 1.5-percent rate. Our 0.3-percent increase beat out only...
More
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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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