Government

Gubernatorial candidates Daniels, Thompson see economic development differentlyRestricted Content

October 20, 2008
Peter Schnitzler
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jill Long Thompson promises to buoy Indiana's slumping rural counties with a three-tiered incentive plan. Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels has a different vision for stoking the state economy. He wants to build on Indiana's strengths--such as world-class research at universities--to innovate and create jobs.
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Lenders foreclose on at least 20 properties in mortgage schemeRestricted Content

October 20, 2008
Cory Schouten

Charter Homes recruited and paid buyers to take out inflated mortgages on dozens of central Indiana homes it built, promising to manage the properties as rentals and make payments for the owners, current and former Charter business partners say.


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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Starting from scratch best hope for health care systemRestricted Content

October 20, 2008
Leroy B.
A person's DNA may someday determine how doctors diagnose illness and prescribe affordable treatment. That same genetic makeup also might help doctors determine whether a person suffering from cancer might be predisposed to respond or not respond to chemotherapy or another type of innovative or experimental treatment. That future picture of health care delivery, however, is missing a key piece. It doesn't address what those advancements might mean for health insurance and other related questions about medical coverage. Our current...
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VIEWPOINT: Put progress over politics and enact reformRestricted Content

October 20, 2008
Jeff Smulyan
As we approach the final stretch in this year's election season, it's easy to get desensitized to the political rhetoric. Sometimes, though, there's an issue that transcends the partisan divide and deserves to cut through the clutter: Local government reform is such an issue. Indiana's Constitution created a multilayered system of county, township and municipal government in 1851. This might have been appropriate when most travel was by horseback, but today it's left Hoosiers to support more than 3,000 units...
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NOTIONS: The perils and pitfalls of pulling the party leverRestricted Content

October 13, 2008
Bruce Hetrick
My sister-in-law is a deputy county prosecutor in Michigan. By all accounts, she's good at her job. But that may not matter. You see, my sisterin-law's boss is up for re-election next month. And because his job is on the line, so is hers. So in addition to her day job, my sister-in-law has been working nights and weekends on the campaign. My sister-in-law is passionate about putting away bad guys. She'd like to keep doing it. But it's not...
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Commentary: Turmoil raises questions about toll roadRestricted Content

October 13, 2008
Brian Williams
On Aug. 28, the investment bank UBS downgraded its rating on the Australian investment bank, Macquarie Group. UBS noted that Macquarie faced the threat of a declining asset base, which it leverages to fund Macquarie's dividend payments. UBS also posited that Macquarie may be inadequately capitalized. Macquarie Group should be familiar to Hoosiers as one of the two entities that leased the Indiana Toll Road in April 2006 for 75 years. To lease the toll road, Macquarie invested $385 million...
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Key races will decide who controls Indiana House of RepresentativesRestricted Content

October 13, 2008
Peter Schnitzler

Most of Indiana's 100 House districts are strongly Democratic or strongly Republican. That means control of the House of Representatives will come down to a handful of battleground districts--probably fewer than a dozen, political experts say.


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Lawsuit raises questions about prison privatization: Complaint alleges abuse of mentally ill inmatesRestricted Content

October 13, 2008
Peter Schnitzler
A newly filed federal lawsuit alleging widespread abuse of Indiana inmates raises questions about the state's privatization of prison health care. The Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services Commission, a not-for-profit watchdog organization, sued the Indiana Department of Correction on Oct. 1, charging it regularly segregates mentally ill prisoners into isolation for 23 hours a day. According to the suit, the prisoners are punished by stripping away their clothes and being fed a diet consisting entirely of "nutraloaf," described as "a...
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VIEWPOINT: Contributions to the deflation of your voteRestricted Content

October 6, 2008
Tom Henderson
Lots of people believe that campaign contributions and the influence that surrounds them are actually bribery. While it's true that some contributions are made with no strings of any kind attached, still many voters find it difficult to believe that cam paign contributions don't influence government in favor of the contributor. Others believe it's part of free speech. I recognize that campaigns need money. How we contribute, however, can amount to bribery and undue influence. Democracy should be about ideas,...
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Turmoil thrashes regional banks: As economy weakens, big local players fight to keep capital, customers' confidenceRestricted Content

October 6, 2008
Cory Schouten
A rush of government-aided acquisitions has bestowed a too-big-to-fail halo over the likes of JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup. But what about the formidable regional banks that operate more than half the bank branches in the Indianapolis area? How stable are banks like National City, Huntington, Fifth Third, Key, M&I and Regions? Their shares have endured a rough ride on Wall Street, but there's little evidence the ups and downs reflect the true health of the institutions....
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EYE ON THE PIE: Crisis pits fairness against urgencyRestricted Content

October 6, 2008
Morton Marcus
As these words are written, we do not know what Congress will decide to do about the mortgage mess. But it is clear folks are angry about the inequity of rescuing borrowers, lenders or traders with funding from the pockets of the innocent. Among the "villains" are home buyers who took on mortgages they could not afford. Also marked for sanctions are over-eager lenders, highly paid executives, and those who dealt in "innovative" financial products linked to mortgages. Those who...
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Commentary: Welcome to Wall Street, the sequelRestricted Content

September 29, 2008
Chris Katterjohn
Author Tom Wolfe wrote a bestseller in 1987 called, "The Bonfire of the Vanities." The title of the book alluded to 15th century Italy, when religious fanatics staged public fires at which they burned items thought to encourage lives of sin, things like mirrors and cosmetics. Wolf's "Bonfire" popularized the term "masters of the universe" to refer to shallow, highly compensated Wall Street types who made big bucks and lived lavish lifestyles, often at the expense of others. The novel...
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SPORTS: Some stop paying, start playing when money's tightRestricted Content

September 29, 2008
Bill Benner
Goodness knows, I'm not an economist. One look at my checking account would confirm that. So as my wife and I gather in front of the evening news and try to digest the ups and downs of the stock market along with our dinner, we, like most Americans, can only hope and trust (?) that our wiser (?) government and financial leaders will find a way out of the morass. We're luckier than many. Our children are raised and college...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: How 9/11 attacks helped set stage for financial crisisRestricted Content

September 29, 2008
Mike Hicks
After just two tumultuous weeks of financial crisis, the blame casting already has begun in earnest. A little deeper analysis might be warranted before jumping to conclusions. I am going to indulge in the combination of my two careers-one military and one scholarly-to focus on one issue. The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks focused limited Al Qaeda resources on the U.S. economy and the command-and-control systems of our military. The latter attack failed miserably (due both to the robustness of our...
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VIEWPOINT: Think you can move fast? Look at ChinaRestricted Content

September 29, 2008
Jacqueline A.
This month, I am making my 50th trip to China. My first trip was in 1995 to identify a possible Chinese partner for a manufacturing joint venture in Nantong. When the potential partner honored me by serving a coiled snake as one of the main dishes, I thought, "What am I doing here?" But that's what change is all about-delving into the unfamiliar. Four years later, we had found a trusted partner, signed a joint venture agreement, located the proper...
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Planned giving: Here's what to consider: Many charitable techniques can help donors maximize their gifts, tax savingsRestricted Content

September 29, 2008
Rebecca Berfanger
If you have continuously donated money and time to specific organizations, or if you want to save some money on taxes, or maybe a little of both, planned giving might be a way to continue both of those aims. However, there are a few things to consider, such as how to set up the planned giving, what the money can or can't be used for, who can speak for your interests after you die, and obviously how much money will...
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EYE ON THE PIE: Economic turmoil hinges on ignoranceRestricted Content

September 29, 2008
Morton Marcus
What we don't know does hurt us. Many builders constructed houses assuming there was a continuing strong market of qualified home buyers. Some mortgage brokers and some bankers gleefully ignored or misrepresented the abilities of home buyers to sustain homeownership. Too many home buyers did not bother to learn what their obligations as homeowners would be. They didn't know about paying property taxes or how adjustable mortgage rates could escalate beyond their capabilities to meet their monthly payments. The companies...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Looking back in history to understand this messRestricted Content

September 29, 2008
Paul Coan
Where is the stock market headed next? It may help to look where it has been. My clients may have grown tired of hearing how the bull market of the 1990s mirrored the Roaring Twenties-maybe because they knew what came after the Roaring Twenties? You remember the history books and your parents talking about the Great Depression. The more articles you read concerning the recent market turmoil, the more this phrase appears: "Worst (fill in blank) since the Great Depression."...
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BEHIND THE NEWS: Veteran builder keeps faith, despite shortage of buyersRestricted Content

September 22, 2008
Greg Andrews
Paul Shoopman could have sat on the sidelines savoring the fact that he sold his homebuilding firm in 2004, just months before the market began a calamitous slide. But that's not Shoopman, who'd been building houses since 1971, the year he graduated from high school. His dad loaned him the money for his first lot, and co-signed for the construction loan. Shoopman built Dura Builders Inc. into Indianapolis' fifth-largest homebuilder before selling it to Los Angeles-based KB Home. A little...
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Orchestrating moves: Firm that specializes in relocating businesses conducting transition of its ownRestricted Content

September 22, 2008
Scott Olson
Moving coordinating company Relocation Strategies Inc. is used to dealing with companies in transition. Now the firm is undergoing one of its own-albeit of a different sort. Relocation Strategies founder David Bayse is relinquishing ownership to partner Melissa Lamb Brown in a purchase agreement set to be completed within the next four years. She already owns a majority of the business and will acquire the rest in stages. In the meantime, Bayse, 57, will continue to guide Brown, 39, who...
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EYE ON THE PIE: Does reliance on property taxes matter?Restricted Content

September 22, 2008
Morton Marcus
It seemed like a good, simple idea at the time to focus this column on how Indiana taxes compare with those of other states. But that turns out to be more of a job than you might think. For example, which year do we use? The most recent year available from the U.S. Bureau of the Census is 2005-06. But that year won't work because 12 percent of Indiana's revenue came from its state highways in 2005-06. Remember, we leased...
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EDITORIAL: Waiting for fallout of Wall Street rout: More regulation in our future?Restricted Content

September 22, 2008
Waiting for fallout of Wall Street rout More regulation in our future? At IBJ deadline, Wall Street was suffering through one of the most tumultuous weeks in its history, and there was no end in sight to the worry consuming investors. The $85 billion Federal Reserve bailout of American International Group Inc. on Sept. 16 did little to shore up markets that had plunged the day before, after Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy and Bank of America rescued Merrill Lynch. The...
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Planners to pare down commuter-rail options: Vote for light diesel trains would precede designRestricted Content

September 22, 2008
Chris O\'malley
Goodbye elevated guideway. Goodbye buses zooming down paved-over rail beds. For that matter, forget about commuter trains running down the median of Binford Boulevard and I-69. Or along Allisonville Road or Keystone Avenue. These northeast corridor rapid-transit options, cheered and jeered by residents in the debate over rapid transit, officially get thrown from the train on Sept. 26. That's if a regional government group votes to accept the recommendation of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization for running diesel light rail...
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INVESTING: Excessive use of leverage now walloping Wall StreetRestricted Content

September 22, 2008
Ken Skarbeck
Here's a well-worn saying about businesses that engage in risky behavior: "You only find out who has been swimming naked when the tide goes out." If so, we are nearing low tide and the biggest nude beach on the planet is on display in lower Manhattan. These recent events are historic. Lehman Brothers, a 158-year-old firm that survived the Depression and world wars, was forced into bankruptcy due to leveraged bets on subprime securities and risky loans made over the...
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Commentary: Rethinking my presidential pickRestricted Content

September 22, 2008
Mickey Maurer
Help me, John. I'm falling off the wagon. I like you. I read your autobiography, "Faith of My Fathers." You are a maverick, like they say, and a patriot. My old boss, Mitch Daniels, made you his early choice. I agree with most of your pronouncements on taxes and the economy, and applaud your willingness to face up to the energy crisis and our dependence on foreign oil. I tentatively decided to cast my vote for you in November. But...
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