Business agenda might get friendly reception

With Republicans firmly in control of the Indiana General Assembly, businesses have a better chance of achieving some of their legislative objectives than they have for years.

But it’s unlikely they’ll get everything they want.

Things to watch for in the 2011 session:

• Job-creation incentives: Republicans want to increase the maximum for venture capital tax credits to $1 million, suspend the application fee, and simplify application. They also want to make the dinosaur building tax credit apply to smaller buildings that are vacant for less time than now required to claim the credit.

• Government reform: The Legislature will consider altering or abolishing township government and undertaking other streamlining measures.

• Unemployment compensation: Lawmakers are unlikely to postpone the tax increase due to go into effect Jan. 1 because Indiana’s fund is broke; the state will have borrowed $2 billion from the federal government by year’s end. However, Gov. Mitch Daniels wants the Legislature to review the premiums businesses pay and the benefits unemployed individuals receive.

What’s less likely to happen:

• The General Assembly is unlikely to establish a so-called right-to-work law, which would ban closed union shops in Indiana. Kevin Brinegar, president of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, said Indiana is “competing with one hand tied behind our back” when businesses look for a new location. But House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said the Legislature will consider a right-to-work law only “when a governor grabs it by the horns and says, ‘This is the No. 1 economic tool that we need.’”•

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