Government

STATEHOUSE DISPATCH: Tax turmoil isn't likely to uproot many legislatorsRestricted Content

March 3, 2008
Ed Feigenbaum
Remember the main reason behind the property-tax-reform drive when we started the session? If the anti-propertytax rallies across the state last summer and fall made lawmakers uneasy, the Indianapolis mayoral election result was a slap across the face. They were awakened to the reality that, but for a vote on tax reform, that, too, could be them. The political imperative was overwhelming, as lawmakers feared the worst come primary time. Even if they were to survive an intra-party election, they...
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Insurance insecurities: Data-breach policies touted as way to protect businesses from cyber-related lossesRestricted Content

March 3, 2008
Scott Olson
Several local entities, ranging from St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital to the state of Indiana to Indianapolis Public Schools, last year experienced wellpublicized electronic security breaches involving confidential data. While the victims of the lapses and those at fault emerged relatively unscathed, such incidents underscore the ease in which personal information can be lost or stolen in today's computerized world. With roughly 165 million people tapping into to the Internet nationally, the opportunities for security breaches are plentiful. Throw in the...
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Bill to help prosecution of environmental crimes dies: State continues to use fines as feds seek jail timeRestricted Content

March 3, 2008
Chris O\'malley
A bill that would have removed hurdles to state and local prosecution of environmental crimes has perished in committee, leaving the federal government virtually alone as the sole seeker of jail time for the worst offenders. With the demise of Senate Bill 199, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management will continue to resolve most pollution cases through civil penalties rather than bringing criminal charges. Last year, IDEM assessed $5.2 million in civil penalties, down from $7.75 million in 2006 but...
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STATEHOUSE DISPATCH: Nitty-gritty details yet to be resolved in tax-reform planRestricted Content

February 25, 2008
Ed Feigenbaum
We've come a long way since the beginning of this legislative session, and lawmakers are edging closer to assembling a property tax reform acceptable to both chambers, both major parties and the governor. Lawmakers faced competing pressures from constituents, the governor, business interests, schools and local governments, and citizen groups as they tackled the issue, but they resolved to labor with a minimum of partisanship. Of course, they frequently make the same pledge when dealing with major issues, but an...
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Office tower bounces back: Renovated National City Center recovering from loss of SimonRestricted Content

February 25, 2008
Scott Olson
Once reeling from the loss of its largest tenant, National City Center now has a rising occupancy rate amid a major renovation that is resuscitating the aging office building. Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group Inc. vacated 182,000 square feet in National City Center by moving to its new headquarters a block away in the fall of 2006. The departure left the 16-story tower at the southwest corner of Washington and Illinois streets 28-percent unoccupied after years of being nearly full. Owner...
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Bond market turmoil could raise costs for stadium, other projectsRestricted Content

February 25, 2008
Peter Schnitzler
The debt strategy Gov. Mitch Daniels' top financial officials developed to save the state money on major projects like Lucas Oil Stadium has turned sour.
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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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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Protestors shouldn't control community developmentRestricted Content

February 25, 2008
Brian Mann
N e i g h b o r h o o d activists in Pittsburgh are fighting a development that would bring a grocery store, job training center, youth programs and other social services to the area of the Pittsburgh Penguins' $290 million arena. The Pittsburgh group was planning a march in protest. Is retail and commercial development next to a sports arena a bad idea? A Cambridge, Mass., neighborhood group was opposed to the development of three townhomes, arguing...
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Trustee inches toward redeveloping property portfolioRestricted Content

February 11, 2008
Peter Schnitzler
Center Township Trustee Carl Drummer and his predecessors have stockpiled more than money over the years. The trustee's office also holds a portfolio of mostly undeveloped properties worth at least $10 million. Several key parcels have been on the trustee's books-and off the tax rolls-for decades. Drummer has made some progress in finding uses for the properties since an IBJ special report first questioned his holdings in November 2006. But it would have to be measured in inches. The most...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Green building should be the norm, not the anomalyRestricted Content

February 11, 2008
Sarah Hempstead
I cringed when I heard the news: Indiana is second to last when it comes to being green. We're supposed to be America's heartland. But instead of being known for the life sciences, economic initiatives or even our corn fields, we're getting recognized for our dirty air and water. Last year, Forbes conducted a study to find the greenest states in the country. Vermont, Oregon and Washington topped the list. At the bottom: Alabama, Indiana and West Virginia. While Indiana...
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Changes down road for transportation planning group?: Metropolitan Planning Organization weighs mergerRestricted Content

February 11, 2008
Chris O\'malley
The prospect of urban sprawl might swallow up even those agencies tasked with planning for sprawl's consequences. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization is exploring a merger with Anderson's MPO, according to the Indianapolis agency's 2008 Unified Planning Work Program report. "The rapid growth of the Northeast Corridor has blurred the boundaries between the Anderson and Indianapolis MPOs; a joint committee is currently exploring whether consolidation is warranted," states the report. MPOs are virtually invisible agencies to the public even though...
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SPECIAL REPORT: Center Township trustee taps taxpayers for millions

February 11, 2008
Peter Schnitzler
At an aging building at 863 Massachusetts Ave., they pass through a metal detector and wait in line to show a clerk their identification and copies of overdue bills. Center Township Trustee Carl Drummer sometimes helps. The Trustee's Office received an average of $6.9 million each of the last seven years, mostly from taxes, to provide poor relief-now known as township assistance. But only about $2 million reached the penniless each year, with much of the difference covering administrative overhead....
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STATEHOUSE DISPATCH: Legislators want tough reforms, but not too toughRestricted Content

February 11, 2008
Ed Feigenbaum
The next two weeks should be interesting ones in the General Assembly, but not for the reason you might expect. Now that bills have cleared their chambers of origin and moved across the Rotunda for consideration, there is a natural lull of sorts as lobbyists breathe a collective sigh of relief and gird themselves to battle with a different set of lawmakers. You saw this in recent days, as committee action again took center stage, and action on the floor...
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Law firms making green push: Environmental teams provide marketing boostRestricted Content

February 11, 2008
Scott Olson
The next generation of environmental law is coming to a firm near you. Many law firms have existing practices that counsel clients on the complexities of complying with air and water permits or cleaning up contaminated properties. But now that the corporate sector is embracing "green" initiatives quicker than Al Gore accumulates carbon credits, environmental law is becoming as sexy as, say, intellectual property. Two of the city's largest firms-Ice Miller LLP and Baker & Daniels LLP-recently unveiled so-called "green"...
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Ex-member: Township board 'bored by the budget'Restricted Content

February 11, 2008
Peter Schnitzler
Although he collects an average $6.9 million each year for poor relief, mostly from taxes, Center Township Trustee Carl Drummer is rarely asked to explain his finances. Drummer's budget is filed-unread-each year in the Indianapolis City Controller's office. The 66-employee Indiana Department of Local Government Finance reviews it, along with budgets from every other taxing entity in the state. Year-end reports go to the State Board of Accounts, a 282-worker agency that conducts 2,700 to 3,000 audits of Indiana counties,...
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INVESTING: How Wall Street firms wounded themselvesRestricted Content

February 11, 2008
Ken Skarbeck
There will be plenty of future litigation over the subprime mortgage mess. The city of Cleveland has sued 21 of the nation's biggest mortgage firms, claiming their s u b p r i m e - l e n d i n g practices created a public nuisance that hurt property values and city tax collections. And the FBI, in conjunction with the Securities and Exchange Commission, is looking into the various players to see if fraud was committed. While...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Why Hoosiers should shed distrust of referendumsRestricted Content

February 11, 2008
Mike Hicks
Should Indiana's taxpayers vote on school construction? This seemingly simple question is a vexing issue for the Legislature. The debate surrounding the issue is surprisingly misguided and emotional. A few ill-informed editorials have not added value to the debate. Let me add a bit of data to the discussion to enlarge our understanding. Under Indiana's current system of government, no elected official reviews the complete budgetary process for local government spending. This, perhaps more than anything else, has caused our...
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VIEWPOINT: Cookie-cutter schools: a fatally flawed ideaRestricted Content

February 4, 2008
Jason Shelley
What would happen if Congress passed a law requiring every U.S. statehouse to use the exact same building design? And that every city hall, every fire station and library must be built from a canned design? Imagine being told that, from now on, every house in the state would have the exact same design, so homeowners could spend less on design costs. It sounds crazy to think one design fits all, but that's exactly what lawmakers are considering for educational...
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STATEHOUSE DISPATCH: Tax reform nudges state toward a la carte governmentRestricted Content

February 4, 2008
Ed Feigenbaum
Most observers have viewed the 2008 legislative session as one almost singlemindedly devoted to property tax reform. While, of course, that is true, if you step back, a broader truism begins to emerge. This is not only a session destined to produce property tax reform, but one that begins the process of changing the role of government and how it intrudes into the lives of Hoosiers-or how it helps them, depending upon your perspective. Beyond property tax reform, this session...
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Demand for adult day care rises with aging population: Joy's House, other local facilities expecting growthRestricted Content

February 4, 2008
Scott Olson
Joy's House on Broad Ripple Avenue provides day care services for 23 people. Often at or near capacity, the not-for-profit is raising funds to build a $1.6 million addition that will quadruple its current size. The cramped quarters, where activities include shooting balls in pint-size basketball hoops, underscores the need for extra space. And the participants are not children; they're adults-the parents of baby boomers who've been thrust into the role of care giver. Adult day care centers steadily are...
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STATEHOUSE DISPATCH: Legislators avoiding games as they tackle tax reformRestricted Content

January 28, 2008
Ed Feigenbaum
People outside the legislative process finally are understanding that there is no perfect solution to the property tax reform dilemma, that it is not a zero-sum game, that there will be winners and losers, and that this is not a Democrat vs. Republican issue. What they still do not realize is how hard legislators are working to accommodate the legitimate concerns of homeowners, governmental units and schools, businesses, and agricultural interests, and how difficult it is to assemble a package...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Why subprime 'crisis' is not as severe as it seemsRestricted Content

January 28, 2008
Mike Hicks
Over the next few years, quite a few doctoral dissertations are going to be written about the subprime loan market, and its effects on the overall U.S. economy. And whatever the effects turn out to be, it is certain that this financial mess has all the twists and turns of a spy novel. Here is part of the plot: Over the past decade and half, home prices skyrocketed. The causes included rapid growth in the U.S. economy, aging baby-boomer purchases...
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EDITORIAL: State negligent on smoking ban: Lawmakers sidestep serious issueRestricted Content

January 28, 2008
State negligent on smoking ban Lawmakers sidestep serious issue We'd like to think the demise of Rep. Charlie Brown's bill that would have banned workplace smoking statewide was just another casualty of the property tax reform wave. More likely, the bill died because our legislators don't have the will to tackle the sad state of Hoosier health. Brown's bill died in a House committee Jan. 23 after a brief hearing in which testimony on the bill's behalf was cut off...
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Public offerings rise in '07: Three Indiana companies hit turbulence after IPOsRestricted Content

January 28, 2008
Scott Olson
The market for initial public offerings in Indiana was on the upswing last year, as the number of companies to go public tripled, from one in 2006 to three in 2007. Locally based HHGregg Inc., Kokomobased Haynes International Inc. and LaPorte-based LaPorte Bancorp. Inc. became publicly traded. The fact that three more companies in Indiana became public doesn't represent a trend. But four others that have filed IPO registration statements with the Securities and Exchange Commission bolster the belief that...
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Lawmaker wants car owners to be aware of data recordersRestricted Content

January 28, 2008
Chris O'Malley
The "event data recorder," a so-called black box car makers have installed in their cars over the last decade and a half as part of air-bag systems, can be a double-edged sword for motorists. Yet they likely don't even know it's spying from under their seat or dashboard.
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  1. With Pence running the ship good luck with a new government building on the site. He does everything on the cheap except unnecessary roads line a new beltway( like we need that). Things like state of the art office buildings and light rail will never be seen as an asset to these types. They don't get that these are the things that help a city prosper.

  2. Does the $100,000,000,000 include salaries for members of Congress?

  3. "But that doesn't change how the piece plays to most of the people who will see it." If it stands out so little during the day as you seem to suggest maybe most of the people who actually see it will be those present when it is dark enough to experience its full effects.

  4. That's the mentality of most retail marketers. In this case Leo was asked to build the brand. HHG then had a bad sales quarter and rather than stay the course, now want to go back to the schlock that Zimmerman provides (at a considerable cut in price.) And while HHG salesmen are, by far, the pushiest salesmen I have ever experienced, I believe they are NOT paid on commission. But that doesn't mean they aren't trained to be aggressive.

  5. The reason HHG's sales team hits you from the moment you walk through the door is the same reason car salesmen do the same thing: Commission. HHG's folks are paid by commission they and need to hit sales targets or get cut, while BB does not. The sales figures are aggressive, so turnover rate is high. Electronics are the largest commission earners along with non-needed warranties, service plans etc, known in the industry as 'cheese'. The wholesale base price is listed on the cryptic price tag in the string of numbers near the bar code. Know how to decipher it and you get things at cost, with little to no commission to the sales persons. Whether or not this is fair, is more of a moral question than a financial one.

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