The Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute has hired public affairs consultant Chris Watts as its new president, the group announced Thursday.
The 32-year-old think tank, which is privately funded and analyzes state and local tax and budgetary policies, has been without a president since October 2017, when John Ketzenberger stepped down from the role after eight years at its helm.
Watts previously worked for advertising and public relations agency Caldwell VanRiper, and also served as vice president of research and communications for the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership.
“Working in public policy, advocacy and economic development over the course of my career, I’ve valued the Fiscal Policy Institute as a respected, impartial authority on state tax and fiscal policy matters,” Watts said in a press release. “By using independent, objective research to inform policymakers and the public, IFPI can play a key role in addressing two-year budget issues and twenty-year fiscal challenges alike. I’m eager to get started.”
The Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute’s Board of Directors has been conducting a search for the new president since May 2018.
“After 32 years, the Institute’s mission is more relevant than ever; we look forward to working with Chris on a research agenda exploring issues of how Indiana collects and spends taxpayer money, and the impacts on Hoosiers,” said Katrina Hall, chair of IFPI’s board and director of public policy for Indiana Farm Bureau.
Watts told IBJ that after Ketzenberger’s resignation, there was a “desire to regroup as a board, build some financial reserves and launch the search from a solid foundation.”