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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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  1. Apologies for the wall of text. I promise I had this nicely formatted in paragraphs in Notepad before pasting here.

  2. I believe that is incorrect Sir, the people's tax-dollars are NOT paying for the companies investment. Without the tax-break the company would be paying an ADDITIONAL $11.1 million in taxes ON TOP of their $22.5 Million investment (Building + IT), for a total of $33.6M or a 50% tax rate. Also, the article does not specify what the total taxes were BEFORE the break. Usually such a corporate tax-break is a 'discount' not a 100% wavier of tax obligations. For sake of example lets say the original taxes added up to $30M over 10 years. $12.5M, New Building $10.0M, IT infrastructure $30.0M, Total Taxes (Example Number) == $52.5M ININ's Cost - $1.8M /10 years, Tax Break (Building) - $0.75M /10 years, Tax Break (IT Infrastructure) - $8.6M /2 years, Tax Breaks (against Hiring Commitment: 430 new jobs /2 years) == 11.5M Possible tax breaks. ININ TOTAL COST: $41M Even if you assume a 100% break, change the '30.0M' to '11.5M' and you can see the Company will be paying a minimum of $22.5, out-of-pocket for their capital-investment - NOT the tax-payers. Also note, much of this money is being spent locally in Indiana and it is creating 430 jobs in your city. I admit I'm a little unclear which tax-breaks are allocated to exactly which expenses. Clearly this is all oversimplified but I think we have both made our points! :) Sorry for the long post.

  3. Clearly, there is a lack of a basic understanding of economics. It is not up to the company to decide what to pay its workers. If companies were able to decide how much to pay their workers then why wouldn't they pay everyone minimum wage? Why choose to pay $10 or $14 when they could pay $7? The answer is that companies DO NOT decide how much to pay workers. It is the market that dictates what a worker is worth and how much they should get paid. If Lowe's chooses to pay a call center worker $7 an hour it will not be able to hire anyone for the job, because all those people will work for someone else paying the market rate of $10-$14 an hour. This forces Lowes to pay its workers that much. Not because it wants to pay them that much out of the goodness of their heart, but because it has to pay them that much in order to stay competitive and attract good workers.

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