Economy

TOM HARTON Commentary: Riding the rails from first to worstRestricted Content

April 11, 2005
When my grandparents took the interurban from Rushville to Indianapolis to see the 1920 Indianapolis 500, they probably didn't appreciate how lucky they were to live in a state that was a leader in public transportation. Indiana had one of the earliest and most extensive interurban systems in the country. The state's electric railway network converged at the Indianapolis Traction Terminal, thought to be the largest interurban station in the world. The massive building on West Market Street served 462...
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Ergo Office Furniture LLC: Workers sit, ergo offices need furniture Retailer deals primarily in used desks and chairsRestricted Content

April 11, 2005
Ed Callahan
Businesses sometimes need office furniture immediately. That's one of the reasons Ergo Office Furniture has thrived. Ergo, at 2525 N. Shadeland Ave., sells, rents or leases office furniture to its customers. Though the company does carry some new furniture, and can order whatever it doesn't have, co-owner Mark S. Kemper said 70 percent of Ergo's revenue is in used furniture. The advantage of selling used furniture is that it's normally right there in the inventory. Brand-new furniture, in many cases,...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Enjoy growth while it lasts, because change is afootRestricted Content

April 4, 2005
Patrick Barkey
There is good news for the Indiana economy. Strong spending by businesses on capital goods in the national economy in 2004 translated into the best year for output and hiring we've seen in the state economy in more than five years. And it's showing up in tax revenue as well. On a year-over-year basis, Indiana's collections from income and sales taxes were up 8.3 percent in the last quarter of 2004, better than the national average and significantly better than...
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Incubator lures biotech upstart: Fish vaccine biz hoping to land on canalRestricted Content

April 4, 2005
Peter Schnitzler
Hatching new businesses is getting to be routine for Indiana University. So it was easy for Richard Wagner to contemplate moving his biotech startup from Columbus, Ohio, into IU's 2-year-old business incubator on the Central Canal. "It's an excellent facility. Every time I go up, I'm more and more impressed with it," Wagner said. "They put a lot of thought into designing it to meet the needs of life science and biotechnology research." Wagner, who holds a doctorate in plant...
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ROSE Awards ceremonies honor hospitality workers: A dozen employees commended for top-level serviceRestricted Content

April 4, 2005
Staff Report
Vickie English, night auditor, Courtyard by Marriott at the Capitol In her eighth year as night auditor at the Courtyard at the Capitol, English was honored for providing outstanding service, including driving to the airport to deliver an airline ticket a guest left at the hotel. Robert Diaz, chauffeur, Carey Indiana A 17-year employee with Carey Indiana, Diaz was praised for going out of his way to be helpful. When one one client requested food from a popular restaurant in...
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Planners brace for museum meeting: City to show its culture to influential gatheringRestricted Content

April 4, 2005
Tracy Donhardt
The world's largest museum meeting convenes in Indianapolis next month, and organizers say the gathering could do more than showcase the city's ever-growing cultural cache. Hosting an estimated 5,000 museum professionals and patrons also will give cultural tourism efforts a boost and dump more than $4 million into the local economy. The stakes are so high that more than 500 volunteers have been rallied to keep activities running smoothly day and night during the May 1-5 event. Evening events are...
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Little jets get the test in Indiana: New aircraft could help small airports shave costsRestricted Content

April 4, 2005
Chris O\'malley
A top Indiana economist will study whether an emerging class of aircraft known as "very light jets" could fuel an economic boom, especially in the state's smaller, more isolated communities. Morton J. Marcus, director emeritus of the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University, will gauge the potential impact of VLJs in six communities, including Mount Comfort Airport in Hancock County. Several aircraft makers next year plan to launch the diminutive jets, which can whisk up to six people as...
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State tourism effort set for new format: Lawmakers create separate department; supporters think changes could lead to less bureaucracy, more fundsRestricted Content

April 4, 2005
Scott Olson
After years of languishing in the Department of Commerce, lawmakers passed legislation late last month creating a separate Department of Tourism and Community Development that will report to Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman starting July 1. The commerce department already has been dissolved, effective Feb. 1, and the state's economic development programs have been handed to the new Indiana Economic Development Corp. Tourism supporters are hopeful that by removing a layer of bureaucracy, the department can capture more funding. "It was...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Revised job-growth figures provide hope for economyRestricted Content

March 28, 2005
Patrick Barkey
It wasn't many months ago that Indiana's leaders faced an unpleasant question: Would the jobs being destroyed by the recession, technological change and global competition ever come back? Today, we know the answer is an emphatic yes. In fact, Indiana's employment growth over the last 12 months has been stronger than all but 15 other states. If that news had come out six months ago, in the harsh glare of the political campaign, you wouldn't be reading about it here...
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National lobbyist meets with gov: Small-business advocate says health care is still the toughest issue for ownersRestricted Content

March 28, 2005
Scott Olson
The National Federation of Independent Business is the nation's largest small-business advocacy group, representing 600,000 members in all 50 states. Its voice in Washington, D.C., is Dan Danner, an Ohio native and Purdue University graduate, who is the organization's lead lobbyist. During a recent visit to the NFIB's Indiana office, Danner sat down with IBJ to address issues critical to the state's smallbusiness owners. IBJ: As chief lobbyist for the NFIB, how do you get the organization's message to federal...
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The seeds of original thinking grow sales SALES:Restricted Content

March 28, 2005
Tim Roberts
OK, true confession time. My first attempt at a sales gig was selling flower seeds. That's right, seeds. The ones you would order from the back of a comic book. I was 9. The incentive was a "prize." Of course, you could select your own prize, and the prizes were the kind that would make a 9-year-old do anything because these were "must-have" prizes. My wild-eyed eyes were set on X-ray vision glasses. As I said, "must-have." I remember Mom's...
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BEHIND THE NEWS: In scandals' wake, firms endure financial wringer Process mapping Too high a costRestricted Content

March 28, 2005
Greg Andrews
Last year was excruciating for executives at many of Indiana's public companies, but not for the usual reasons, like a slumping economy or sliding stock market. Instead, it was because they had to devote thousands of employee hours and millions of dollars to comply with a controversial new rule, Section 404 of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley corporate-accountability law. The rule requires companies to assess the internal accounting controls they have in place to ensure their financial reporting is accurate and reliable-and...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Revised economic data show pronounced growthRestricted Content

March 21, 2005
Patrick Barkey
Can government really create jobs? That's a question candidates in the throes of a political campaign, whose rhetoric promises endless prosperity, will sometimes put to economists like me. My answer has always been that there is a lot our leaders can do to destroy jobs, but very little they can do to create them, at least in the short run. But recent events have caused me to reconsider this. Our government, or more accurately, the statistical agencies we employ to...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Job growth, other factors portend stronger economyRestricted Content

March 14, 2005
Patrick Barkey
While it's not quite the job creation engine it was in the late 1990s, the newcentury U.S. economy is still one of the brightest stars on the global stage when it comes to growth. Last month's strong employment gains, on the heels of upward revisions to overall growth and productivity, should put to rest any fears that the national economic expansion will be foundering anytime soon. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, payrolls at U.S. business establishments grew by...
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City should prepare for energy shortage:Restricted Content

March 14, 2005
Clarke Kahlo
Indianapolis city planners should begin planning for a declining energy future. "Peak oil" and natural gas (generally, the point at which worldwide production begins to decrease, and the resource subsequently depletes)-are well-documented and loom directly ahead. Yet local plans are silent on the subject. Long-term impacts on our economy and community fabric will be significant. Mobility and development patterns will be heavily affected. Politicians and the media need to inform the public and properly plan for this sobering eventuality. The...
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SUSAN WILLIAMS Commentary: Keep Statehouse free of 'March Madness'Restricted Content

March 7, 2005
Susan Williams
Commentary Keep Statehouse free of 'March Madness' "March Madness" is upon us. Downtown will play host to 37 basketball games in 37 days. Visitors from all over the state and the nation will flock to our city and be dazzled by the ambiance and excitement we have refined over many years of hosting major events. Even the most profoundly addicted hoops fans should get their cravings satisfied. As we enjoy the month's activities, we must be mindful not to take...
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Training agency slashes government reliance: Not-for-profit turns to private donations for fundingRestricted Content

March 7, 2005
Andrea Muirragui
Talk about a turnaround. An Indianapolis not-for-profit that once relied on government money to pay for most of its programs has found a way to do what many others wish they could-diversify its revenue stream as public funding dries up. In less than five years, work-force development agency Training Inc. has ended a decades-long dependence on government grants and contracts. "We had to reinvent ourselves in order to survive," said former Director Joyce Duvall, who left this month after more...
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Software firm on the rebound: Move to private status, restructuring help Made2Manage move into profitabilityRestricted Content

March 7, 2005
Scott Olson
Made2Manage Systems Inc. is beginning to make strides, both in profitability and perception, since completing its metamorphosis from a public to private enterprise 18 months ago. The software maker that staged its initial public offering in 1997 posted a peak loss of $4.7 million four years later amid a soft economy. Its health improved the following year in 2002, when losses totaled $690,000. But by then, Made2Manage executives had concluded an investor-led acquisition would be the best elixir to nurse...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Think before demonizing free-trade agreementsRestricted Content

March 7, 2005
Patrick Barkey
E c o n o m i s t s approach the issue of free trade with something resembling religious zeal. Outside of a few high-visibility defectors, such as CNN's Lou Dobbs and columnist Paul Craig Roberts, we've found that the pros of liberalized trade between nations heavily outweigh the cons. That's hardly the case in the general populace. The Indiana Senate's recent approval of a meaningless but symbolic call on Congress for a moratorium on free-trade agreements with other...
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Bye-bye Big Apple, hello Indy: Young entrepreneurs opt to open firms hereRestricted Content

February 28, 2005
Scott Olson
Two Hoosier natives are back home in Indiana to start neighboring businesses on Fort Wayne Avenue, no less. The world travelers-separated in age by just a year-spent significant time in New York City but only met within the past six months. With similar stories to tell about why they chose to return to Indianapolis, and impressed with the city's vibrant downtown that had blossomed while they were away, the two opted to take the plunge together. Both say they're not...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Are traditional pension plans an endangered species?Restricted Content

February 28, 2005
Ann Carr
Defined benefit plans, or pension plans as they are more commonly known, were a core component of the benefits provided by blue chip employers until the 1980s. About 40 percent of all American workers were covered by these plans. Under such plans, employees are guar anteed monthly retirement checks for life based upon their compensation, years of service and other factors. Recently, however, the use of pension plans has dropped dramatically. In 2003, only 20 percent of the work force...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Michigan's job pain is felt throughout the MidwestRestricted Content

February 28, 2005
Patrick Barkey
At the end of last year, the unemployment rate in Michigan was 7.3 percent. That was more than 2 percentage points higher than Indiana's. No state in the country had a higher jobless rate. That's not a big story in the Hoosier State. We have our own economic challenges, after all. But perhaps we should be paying a bit more attention. We're not exactly immune to the forces that are dealing such harsh blows to the Michigan economy right now....
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Studies: Bans don't burn biz: Restrictions in other cities didn't reduce overall sales, but some taverns were hurtRestricted Content

February 21, 2005
Chris O\'malley
"My business was down 15 percent at first," recalled Gina Scott, co-owner of the Lexington pub. Lately, she added, "It's still down a bit. I don't know with the ban it will ever go up to where it was." This ban-in the heart of tobacco country-may offer a glimpse of what's to come for Indianapolis bars and restaurants if proponents of a smoking ban prevail in the City-County Council. The proposed Indianapolis ordinance is one of the most stringent in...
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OneAmerica grows bullish on its future: New leadership hopes to sustain steady growthRestricted Content

February 21, 2005
Tom Murphy
OneAmerica Financial Partners Inc. kept busy with a brand change, a record year for retirement services and the arrival of several new leaders in 2004. New President and CEO Dayton Molendorp plans to keep the positive momentum flowing with 34 key projects outlined in the 2005 business plan. But analysts say the Indianapolis company will have to grow in the face of strong competition and a pressing need to keep up with technology. The company formerly known as AUL unveiled...
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Celluloid tax credits?: Incentives for movie makers getting bipartisan supportRestricted Content

February 14, 2005
Anthony Schoettle
House Bill 1639 would put in place a hefty set of tax incentives for companies making movies, television shows, music videos, commercials and corporate videos on Hoosier soil. Though the bill has bipartisan support in the House, a similar measure was spiked last year because of concerns over lost tax revenue. Even the bill's author thinks there could be a fight over the measure in the Senate. Those who think the idea of drawing movie producers to Indiana is far-fetched...
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  1. A Tilted Kilt at a water park themed hotel? Who planned that one? I guess the Dad's need something to do while the kids are on the water slides.

  2. Don't come down on the fair for offering drinks. This is a craft and certainly one that belongs in agriculture due to ingredients. And for those worrying about how much you can drink. I'm sure it's more to do with liability than anything else. They don't want people suing for being over served. If you want a buzz, do a little pre-drinking before you go.

  3. I don't drink but go into this "controlled area" so my friend can drink. They have their 3 drink limit and then I give my friend my 3 drink limit. How is the fair going to control this very likely situation????

  4. I feel the conditions of the alcohol sales are a bit heavy handed, but you need to realize this is the first year in quite some time that beer & wine will be sold at the fair. They're starting off slowly to get a gauge on how it will perform this year - I would assume if everything goes fine that they relax some of the limits in the next year or couple of years. That said, I think requiring the consumption of alcohol to only occur in the beer tent is a bit much. That is going to be an awkward situation for those with minors - "Honey, I'm getting a beer... Ok, sure go ahead... Alright see you in just a min- half an hour."

  5. This might be an effort on the part of the State Fair Board to manage the risk until they get a better feel for it. However, the blanket notion that alcohol should not be served at "family oriented" events is perhaps an oversimplification. and not too realistic. For 15 years, I was a volunteer at the Indianapolis Air Show, which was as family oriented an event as it gets. We sold beer donated by Monarch Beverage Company and served by licensed and trained employees of United Package Liquors who were unpaid volunteers. And where did that money go? To central Indiana children's charities, including Riley Hospital for Children! It's all about managing the risk.

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