Another view of Indiana manufacturing

September 29, 2009
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Indiana isn’t the only state writhing with angst over the future of manufacturing. California is, too, and one of its top think tanks, the Milken Institute, cranked out a study recently documenting the decline of the industry there.

The study also frames a competitor state, Indiana, in a somewhat positive light.

California, heavily concentrated in high-tech manufacturing, risks chasing away jobs through regulatory hassles and burdensome taxes, the study warns. California still excels in dreaming up new things to make, most recently in biotechnology, but other states increasingly reap the benefits.

To some extent, California and Indiana are so different that direct comparisons are difficult to make. Indiana’s core strength is making metal and turning it into things. Our top exports are gearboxes and engines.

However, the study found Indiana picking up more drug and medical equipment manufacturing. Indiana also shows serious economic development vigor through a diverse, strategic set of incentives to attract manufacturers. And Indiana’s economic development Web site is the best among the eight states studied.

A yellow flag for Indiana was a slowing in capital investment. These figures came from 2000-2007, but it’s never a good sign when companies allocate resources elsewhere.

As much as Indiana continues to diversify, manufacturing still sustains a lot of towns—not to mention professional firms in Indianapolis office buildings. Take away manufacturing and more than one accounting and law firm would fold.

What are your thoughts about the findings?

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  1. By Mr. Lee's own admission, he basically ran pro-bono ads on the billboard. Paying advertisers didn't want ads on a controversial, ugly billboard that turned off customers. At least one of Mr. Lee's free advertisers dropped out early because they found that Mr. Lee's advertising was having negative impact. So Mr. Lee is disingenous to say the city now owes him for lost revenue. Mr. Lee quickly realized his monstrosity had a dim future and is trying to get the city to bail him out. And that's why the billboard came down so quickly.

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  3. Yes it does have an ethics commission which enforce the law which prohibits 12 specific items. google it

  4. Thanks for reading and replying. If you want to see the differentiation for research, speaking and consulting, check out the spreadsheet I linked to at the bottom of the post; it is broken out exactly that way. I can only include so much detail in a blog post before it becomes something other than a blog post.

  5. 1. There is no allegation of corruption, Marty, to imply otherwise if false. 2. Is the "State Rule" a law? I suspect not. 3. Is Mr. Woodruff obligated via an employment agreement (contractual obligation) to not work with the engineering firm? 4. In many states a right to earn a living will trump non-competes and other contractual obligations, does Mr. Woodruff's personal right to earn a living trump any contractual obligations that might or might not be out there. 5. Lawyers in state government routinely go work for law firms they were formally working with in their regulatory actions. You can see a steady stream to firms like B&D from state government. It would be interesting for IBJ to do a review of current lawyers and find out how their past decisions affected the law firms clients. Since there is a buffer between regulated company and the regulator working for a law firm technically is not in violation of ethics but you have to wonder if decisions were made in favor of certain firms and quid pro quo jobs resulted. Start with the DOI in this review. Very interesting.

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