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Star biz columnist leaving to lead Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute

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Indianapolis Star business columnist John Ketzenberger is leaving the newspaper to become president of the Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute, the organization said today.

Founded in 1987, the Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute is a not-for-profit organization that provides non-partisan research on Indiana’s major public-policy questions, particularly matters related to tax policy and the state budget.

Ketzenberger will begin his new role Sept. 14.

“I am excited to join the institute and look forward to continuing the organization’s mission of being the leading, credible source for research and analysis,” Ketzenberger said in a prepared statement. “I truly want the institute to have a statewide presence, and am ready to grow our membership. After speaking with elected officials and business leaders, it is clear to me that the institute’s work is vital to Indiana’s future.”

The Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute has been largely dormant since former CEO Steve Johnson resigned in August 2007. Johnson had led the institute since 2003. At the time of his departure, Johnson complained that he’d been forced to devote most of his time to raising funds, not policy analysis. Since then, it has intermittently released policy papers written by volunteers.

Ketzenberger has been one of the Star’s most visible columnists in recent years, appearing frequently in promotions for the newspaper. He also is regular commentator on Indiana Week in Review, which airs statewide on public television stations. He spent seven years as managing editor of the Indianapolis Business Journal before joining the Star as lead business columnist four years ago.

Over its history, Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute has analyzed subjects as diverse as property-tax assessment, public pension management, Hoosier school funding, technology progress, daylight-saving time policy, the college brain drain, welfare and Medicaid reform and the Hoosier Lottery.

“We are thrilled to have John lead our organization,” Steve Rahn, chairman of the institute’s board of directors, said in a written statement. “His vast experience and knowledge of both the political and budget processes will not only serve the institute well, but also the taxpayers of Indiana.”

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