Government

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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EYE ON THE PIE: Hoosier excess contrary to our natureRestricted Content

January 21, 2008
Morton Marcus
People think of Indiana as a place of moderation. We're not known for extremes. We are followers, not leaders. Certainly, we are not risk-takers. How then can we explain some inexplicable behaviors? Indiana's secretary of state and others were in Washington, D.C., before the U.S. Supreme Court recently to defend the nation's most extreme voter ID law. No one was prepared to say we suffered from an avalanche of voter fraud. There was not even evidence of a snowflake of...
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City emerging as drug distribution hub: Medco Health Solutions deal latest boon to growing subsector in Indiana's life sciences development effortsRestricted Content

January 21, 2008
Peter Schnitzler
Thanks to a series of major economic development wins, Indianapolis is enjoying a pharmaceutical distribution business hot streak. Life sciences industry leaders hope to keep the sizzle burning in 2008 and beyond. "It's not something we're hoping we can do someday. It's something we're already doing now," said BioCrossroads CEO David Johnson. "We're simply trying to expand the footprint of what we're doing." Pharmaceutical logistics has become a big business. According to the Arlington, Va.-based Healthcare Distribution Management Association, U.S....
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The Corydon Group LLC: Reputations help lobbyists build business Shared passion for government led golf buddies to partnershipRestricted Content

January 21, 2008
Jo Ellen
When Chris Gibson and Mike Leppert headed for the golf course in the late 1990s, it was strictly business. Walking from tee to tee, the men talked about lobbying, the law and regulatory agencies. After 18 months of playing 18 holes, they decided to form The Corydon Group, a government relations firm founded in 2000 in Indianapolis. The firm monitors bills and amendments proposed in the Indiana General Assembly, prepares reports on key legislation, attends meetings and hearings, and lobbies...
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  1. Why should I a home owner pay for this"car sharing" ????

  2. By the way, the right to work law is intended to prevent forced union membership, not as a way to keep workers in bondage as you make it sound, Italiano. If union leadership would spend all of their funding on the workers, who they are supposed to be representing, instead of trying to buy political favor and living lavish lifestyles as a result of the forced membership, this law would never had been necessary.

  3. Unions once served a noble purpose before greed and apathy took over. Now most unions are just as bad or even worse than the ills they sought to correct. I don't believe I have seen a positive comment posted by you. If you don't like the way things are done here, why do you live here? It would seem a more liberal environment like New York or California would suit you better?

  4. just to clear it up... Straight No Chaser is an a capella group that formed at IU. They've toured nationally typically doing a capella arangements of everything from Old Songbook Standards to current hits on the radio.

  5. This surprises you? Mayor Marine pulled the same crap whenhe levered the assets of the water co up by half a billion $$$ then he created his GRAFTER PROGRAM called REBUILDINDY. That program did not do anything for the Ratepayors Water Infrastructure Assets except encumber them and FORCE invitable higher water and sewer rates on Ratepayors to cover debt coverage on the dough he stole FROM THE PUBLIC TRUST. The guy is morally bankrupt to the average taxpayer and Ratepayor.

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