Government

Companies prepare for tougher breach law: Writer of security bill wanted more protectionsRestricted Content

May 12, 2008
Kristin Mcfarland
Imagine a busy local bank that signs several new accounts weekly. With each new customer, the bank receives that person's Social Security number, home and business addresses, and entire financial history. But what if a computer containing all that personal information-so useful for identity theft-is stolen from the building? Should the company notify its customers of the possible danger or hope the information itself is safe and keep quiet to avoid scandal? To answer those questions, the Indiana General Assembly...
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VIEWPOINT: Is Indiana prepared for recession?Restricted Content

May 5, 2008
Myron Kanning
Each day, the headlines are filled with r e c e s s i o n - r e l a t e d news. Some predict a pending recession, while others outline pre-emptive actions of the Federal Reserve, Congress and the president. During the 2000-2002 recession, Indiana did not perform well. Indiana lost more jobs than the national average, and its recovery lagged behind the nation's. In fact, Indiana's jobs still have not recovered to the pre-recession level. If...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Making green make sense in a competitive marketRestricted Content

April 28, 2008
Robert Stefanski
Day after day, the news seems filled with stories of disruptive credit markets, an economy teetering on recession, and increasing energy costs. As business professionals grapple with such issues daily, why would commercial real estate professionals consider the time and effort to "go green"? Historically, green initiatives suffered in part from stereotypical "tree-hugger" false perceptions. Such perceptions may lead people to believe that green investments simply aren't worth it. The truth? The real focus has always been the efficient use...
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IU-Bloomington, IUPUI ditch private-sector lenders: Student loan turmoil spurs schools to tap federal fundsRestricted Content

April 28, 2008
Tracy Donhardt
With turmoil in student lending markets escalating, some universities are making major changes to ensure students have access to loans for the upcoming academic year. The answer for the Bloomington campus of Indiana University and for IUPUI is to return to getting loans straight from the federal government under the Direct Loan Program. The change will go into effect at the start of the next academic year. The two universities here are following other schools across the country making the...
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Soaring cost of gas makes ethanol blend more competitiveRestricted Content

April 28, 2008
Chris O'Malley
Prices of an alternative fuel that's had patriotic and environmental appeal--but not an economic one for motorists--have been flirting this month with gasoline on an energy-equivalent cost basis. The sudden but often fleeting price appeal of fuel "E85," a blend of ethanol with a dash of gasoline, is due largely to gas prices soaring to nearly $4 a gallon.
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Intermodal is key to Indiana's future crossroads identityRestricted Content

April 28, 2008
Brian Zurawski
Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal ran a front-page story about rail's resurgence as a means for moving goods across the country. The story described the federal dollars being spent to fuel this railroad recovery, as well as the private sector investments being made and the economic benefits waiting for cities that get involved. The story included a map with thick, colored lines representing the key rail systems connecting the Midwest to the coasts. It took only a quick...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: As business property taxes rise, who really pays the bill?Restricted Content

April 28, 2008
Brian Mann
All Indiana counties revised property tax bills as a result of an outcry by thousands of homeowners who fought back when they saw their 2007 tax reassessments and bills. Assessors had to go back to work and try again. So, they did. The new bills are out, and while it may be good news for homeowners, you can bet commercial property owners aren't turning cartwheels in the parking lot. The average assessment for commercial properties (where you shop, work and...
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INVESTING: Complexity of investments is a big part of problemRestricted Content

April 21, 2008
Ken Skarbeck
I recently visited the town of Concord, Mass., known not only as the site of the "shot heard 'round the world," but also as home to many influential authors during the 1800s. Just outside town is Thoreau's Walden Pond, and in Concord you can visit the homes of other writers of the era, including Emerson, Alcott and Hawthorne. If any of these literary transcendentalists were around today, it is doubtful they would care much, if anything, about the evolution of...
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VIEWPOINT: Lest we forget, 'solid and stable' is goodRestricted Content

April 21, 2008
Tim Kern
"I moved to Indiana on purpose," I've been telling people since the move from Florida last August. The Indianapolis area attracted me and my business for a number of reasons-reasons which, I'm more convinced each day, Hoosiers take for granted. Someone might want to consider the good that's right in front of our collective noses: Unlike Florida, whence I emigrated, people here know who can get things done, where businesses are, and whose reputation is good. A state full of...
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Former ATA workers receiving free, fast help: Ivy Tech, WorkOne team up to help those displacedRestricted Content

April 21, 2008
Tracy Donhardt
Less than a week after ATA Airlines Inc. filed for bankruptcy and shut down April 3, Barbara Greene, a 24-year employee, was feeling good about finding a new job. The 52-year-old former government affairs worker coordinated the issuance of permits planes needed for landing in or flying over other countries. Her years with the airline included work with international agencies and travel to foreign locales. She credits her positive outlook to the help she's receiving from a WorkOne training center...
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Making Hoosiers more educated is a tricky task ECONOMIC ANALYSIS:Restricted Content

April 21, 2008
Mike Hicks
One thing that virtually every bit of serious research on education has revealed is that parents play the biggest role in educational outcomes. My own work in this area found that more than 90 percent of the differences in regional educational attainment can be attributed solely to the educational history of parents. Families play a far bigger role in educational success than any differences that occur across schools. So, what then does this mean for public policy? In my last...
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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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