Government

VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Weak dollar can actually help Hoosier manufacturersRestricted Content

April 21, 2008
Christine H.
As the U.S. dollar continues to weaken against foreign currencies, it actually benefits many Indiana companies that are actively pursuing sales abroad. M a n u fa c t u r e r s should pursue crossborder sales and supply-chain relationships to capitalize on the improved price points resulting from the lower dollar. However, manufacturers should be aware of the reach of U.S. patent law, which U.S. courts are regularly extending to cover activities performed outside our borders. Capitalizing on...
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A life of hard work, from the farm to the House: Thompson, who has three business degrees, wants to give boost to economically disadvantaged countiesRestricted Content

April 21, 2008
Peter Schnitzler
Nearly 30 years ago, former State Sen. Katie Wolf appeared at a "women in politics" conference in Gary. Afterward, Jill Long Thompson, then 25, marched up and asked for advice. Thompson had her sights set on joining the Valparaiso City Council. Wolf offered her phone number. She soon found Thompson waiting on her doorstep, bursting with questions about how a female Democrat should campaign in a conservative, rural area. "What struck me was her determination to win," Wolf remembered. "After...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: How kids do in high school matters to economyRestricted Content

April 14, 2008
Mike Hicks
Far too often, our worry about the shortterm state of the economy prevents us from focusing on the long term. That's too bad because it is the long term, not the short run, that we have the most ability to influence. The most important issue looming for Indiana and the nation is education. Here is the fate of a representative group of 10 18-year-olds. Four years ago, our 10 Hoosier students entered high school. One could not read. As of...
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Sales tax will finally settle old police, firefighter pensions: Local government headache now on state's booksRestricted Content

April 14, 2008
Peter Schnitzler
For decades, local governments begged the Legislature to pick up their enormous tab for pre-1977 police and firefighter pensions. Thanks to property tax reform, this year they got their wish. Indiana will use a portion of its 1-percentage-point sales tax hike, which is expected to raise close to $1 billion annually, to underwrite the pensions. The state's additional yearly expense will be $115 million to $125 million. "We believe the portion of the sales tax pledged will be sufficient to...
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Docs dip toes into computerized records: Electronic systems are the future, but high costs slow adoption rateRestricted Content

April 14, 2008
J.K. Wall
Ask Cathy Molchan the cost of installing the electronic medical record system in a doctor's office she administers, and she gives a clear, quantified answer: $80,000. Ask her whether the system saves the practice any money, and her answer is less concrete. "It can definitely save money because of the time savings," said Molchan, practice administrator for Dr. Leo Bonaventura, an infertility specialist at Clarian North Medical Center. "You can actually be focused more on what you need to do,...
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EYE ON THE PIE: Why is home ownership a big deal?Restricted Content

April 14, 2008
Morton Marcus
Housing remains one of our most domestic industries. The labor used to build the houses themselves is still local. Products we put into our homes (furnaces, plumbing, appliances, etc.) are still primarily made in the United States from domestic parts. All that is changing. More and more work is being done off-site and more of the components installed have foreign origins. Now, without our thinking about it, the financing of our homes has become an article of international trade. Once...
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Federal survey of patients puts hospitals to the test: Satisfaction questionnaire ranks criteria ranging from room cleanliness to communication skills of providersRestricted Content

April 14, 2008
Scott Olson
New patient satisfaction scores compiled by the federal government and posted online give consumers more feedback than ever regarding the care hospitals provide. The usefulness of that information is up for debate. On its Hospital Compare Web site, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services tracks technical measures that show how often hospitals provide certain types of care that is recommended for patients treated for various conditions-heart attacks or pneumonia, for instance. Starting late last month, the agency began including...
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NOTIONS: Why you can feel good about the world's futureRestricted Content

April 14, 2008
Bruce Hetrick
Let me introduce three remarkable young people. Jessica Gabrian grew up in a St. Louis suburb. She earned good grades, excelled at volleyball and won an athletic scholarship to William Woods University in Fulton, Mo. Early on, there was a hearing-impaired student in one of Jessica's classes. There was also a sign language interpreter. Always a visual learner who talked with her hands, Jessica grew fascinated with the beauty of American Sign Language (ASL). She was "instantly hooked." She decided...
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Charter schools face long wait for county funding: State, local money based on outdated mechanismRestricted Content

April 7, 2008
Tracy Donhardt
The property tax reform plan recently signed into law by Gov. Mitch Daniels is expected to provide relief-eventually-for most homeowners. Unfortunately, the tax crisis wasn't fixed fast enough for charter schools. Because property taxes haven't been calculated yet this year, schools didn't get funding advances from Marion County, something 15 of the county's 21 charter schools needed last year. At least one school-Irvington Community Academy-has received help from the Greater Educational Opportunities Foundation in getting an emergency bridge loan of...
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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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THE TRAVELING LIFE: Not for the night life: On tour in Saudi Arabia

March 31, 2008
Frank Basile
Shortly after arriving in Jeddah, it became clear that you don't go to Saudi Arabia for its night life. With very little interaction of the sexes, a virtual ban on flirtation, a total prohibition on alcohol, smoking, dancing and movies, there was not much for our little tour group to do after dinner each evening. As for the days, well, they were different than anything you could experience here in the U.S. ... particularly for the women in our group....
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Commentary: Daniels, IEDC burning things upRestricted Content

March 31, 2008
Chris Katterjohn
My friends at Crain's Chicago Business have published several stories about the state of Indiana's economic development efforts since Gov. Mitch Daniels took office and launched the Indiana Economic Development Corp. in 2005. They never used to write much about Indiana. In June that year, an Illinois economic development official was quoted in Crain's saying, "It seems like every time I turn around on a project along Interstate 80, there's Indiana breathing down my neck." A year later, a guest...
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Goldberg contest counts on business: Companies find recruits, marketing opportunitiesRestricted Content

March 31, 2008
Scott Olson
In terms of advertising revenue, the Final Four it ain't. But the national Rube Goldberg Machine Contest at Purdue University is attracting more corporate sponsorships than ever before. Named for the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, the annual event scheduled for April 5 is a testament to his drawings that lampooned government policies by using complicated contraptions to complete trivial tasks. This year's assignment is to assemble a hamburger consisting of at least one patty, two vegetables and two condiments between buns....
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EYE ON THE PIE: Many Hoosier counties losing peopleRestricted Content

March 31, 2008
Morton Marcus
The phone rang. It was Bella Coase, outraged again. She said, "The Census Bureau's county population estimates were mistreated by most Hoosier newspapers. They emphasized their counties as if population change were a sporting event. "They didn't bother to examine the larger view," Bella went on. "Only 56 of Indiana's 92 counties grew in population between 2006 and 2007. Spencer County had no change and the remaining 35 lost population. Doesn't it trouble you that nearly 40 percent of Hoosier...
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Construction in the Fast Lane: Flush with Major Moves funding, INDOT streamlines its approachRestricted Content

March 31, 2008
Chris O\'malley
Northern Indiana motorists and Democratic opponents of Gov. Mitch Daniels were screaming bloody murder. Daniels in 2006 convinced the Legislature to lease the vital highway and plum of political patronage-the Indiana Toll Road-to an Australian-Spanish consortium for nearly $4 billion. Some managers at the Indiana Department of Transportation also were screaming-with panic. Despite winning the departmental lottery of all time-an annual budget for new roads would now quadruple from $213 million a year to $874 million by 2015-Daniels wanted 200...
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New utility consumer counselor is no stranger: Former Ameritech lawyer may have to reach out and touch consumer watchdogsRestricted Content

March 31, 2008
Chris O\'malley
Consumer groups didn't get a ponytailed zealot to head the Office of Utility Consumer Counselor. No surprise there. Gov. Mitch Daniels has been fond of appointing ex-industry insiders to lead agencies charged with monitoring those same industries. What the OUCC gets in former Ameritech attorney David Stippler is, at the very least, a man who already knows the utility industry in Indiana. The Evansville native has argued before its regulatory agencies for many years. "They don't have to forge a...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Final version of tax reform deserving of accoladesRestricted Content

March 24, 2008
Mike Hicks
The practice of economics certainly can compel a man to cynicism. Take, for example, tax reform. I've testified on tax reform before legislatures in three states and one foreign country. Each had much bigger tax problems than does Indiana. Today, in each of those places, several solid proposals languish under the assault of special interests, much to the chagrin of taxpayers. Here in Indiana, the story is different. The past few months have seen reasoned and informed debate on property...
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STATEHOUSE DISPATCH: Full impact of tax reform won't be known for yearsRestricted Content

March 24, 2008
Ed Feigenbaum
The 2008 legislative session is history, and makes history with a property tax reform package that goes a long way toward Gov. Mitch Daniels' goal of enacting one that is fair, final and farreaching. Give him the lion's share of the credit for establishing the philosophical and practical framework. Majority House Democrats didn't propose their own property tax plan, but they largely embraced the governor's plan and successfully played a few new strategic riffs that Republicans found didn't disrupt the...
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Mortgage blues haven't hit all: Some firms are holding their own despite housing, credit slumpRestricted Content

March 24, 2008
Scott Olson
The local office of Cleveland-based KeyBank has hired a banking veteran to lead a revamped mortgage department that will boast a larger sales force. And locally based mortgage firm Signature Group recently completed construction of its new headquarters and added three brokers. In this climate of ballooning foreclosures and rising interest rates, one might wonder whether executives of the aforementioned institutions are reading the wrong spreadsheets. To the contrary, despite the gloomy picture monthly housing statistics paint, they are among...
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Tax reform fallout worries biz interestsRestricted Content

March 24, 2008
Peter Schnitzler
Property tax reform is now Indiana law. Hoosier homeowners are thrilled. But many corporate leaders grumble the historic deal was brokered on the backs of business. Topping their concerns is the new 3-percent property tax cap for commercial and industrial properties, which they fear will slow business expansions and discourage companies from moving headquarters to the state.
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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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ICVA calls in headhunter to help fill top post: Experts say job should draw wide interestRestricted Content

March 17, 2008
Jennifer Whitson
A nationally renowned headhunter is tracking down candidates to fill the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association's top job in hopes of having a new president in place by June 1. Industry observers expect plenty of applicants given an upcoming hospitality building spree. "This is potentially the chance of a lifetime for someone to come in and make a huge difference," said Amanda Cecil, an assistant professor in IUPUI's Convention and Event Management Department. She called the Indianapolis market a "gold...
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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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