Rep. Jake Teshka: Free markets drive tech economy, not intervention

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A bill that would have eased some regulations for startups failed this session.But should lawmakers still act to make it easier for new companies to launch?

Indiana’s economy has made great strides since the pandemic. Business is booming, and it’s being led by a new generation of entrepreneurs. Last year, we saw the creation of 5 million American businesses nationwide and $22 billion in investment here in Indiana. Throughout this, technology has emerged as our largest driver of growth.

Hoosiers have always excelled at developing new technologies, and that still holds true today. With the launch of initiatives like the Indiana Economic Development Corp.’s AMPD microelectronics task force, we’re quickly positioning ourselves as a leader in U.S. semiconductor manufacturing. As the United States continues to shift its high-tech manufacturing away from China and back home, our role here will only grow in importance, and with it, countless new paths to prosperity.

This growth has been made possible thanks to our commitment to free-market principles and the creation of the genuine value they facilitate. Market mechanisms encourage competition, support innovation and keep even the largest firms accountable to their customers. It’s because we have free markets that our technology sector is the most advanced in the world, despite growing competition from China. But it’s important to remember that the free market functions best when we give it room to breathe.

In the 2024 legislative session, I authored legislation that supports the Right to Start national framework by encouraging the facilitation of new-business creation throughout the state and building a culture of entrepreneurship. My bill, which was not moved out of committee to the House floor, would’ve required the state to encourage a certain percentage of the total number of state contracts to be awarded to businesses that have been in operation for fewer than five years. It would have also required the state to encourage a certain percentage of workforce development funding to be used to support organizations or programs for individuals starting new businesses. The legislation would have required the Department of Administration, the Department of Workforce Development and the IEDC to annually file reports with the General Assembly that tracked entrepreneurial data and encouraged new businesses to start.

Technology companies support our communities and small businesses through local investments and by creating thousands of jobs, helping wealth flow back to Hoosiers. These companies also maintain free digital tools many Indiana business owners have come to depend on and that have helped level the playing field for new businesses that don’t have the resources to otherwise compete with much larger firms.

Tech companies have moved here and invested in the Hoosier State because they recognize our potential for growth and state government’s appreciation for the value they create in our communities. To ensure that this growth continues and that we remain on the path to becoming a leader in tech, it is crucial that we foster an environment conducive to innovation. That starts by increasing support for tech education and training programs, fostering collaborative partnerships with tech companies and ensuring that there are plenty of tech jobs for Indiana’s students once they graduate. This will be exponentially more difficult if we keep adding more red tape.

We should let the market do what it does best: Create new wealth and prosperity. Indiana is primed for a huge step forward driven by embracing technology—we must not hold ourselves back.•

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Teshka represents District 7, which includes portions of LaPorte, Marshall and St. Joseph counites, in the Indiana House. Send comments to ibjedit@ibj.com.


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