Articles

Celluloid tax credits?: Incentives for movie makers getting bipartisan support

House Bill 1639 would put in place a hefty set of tax incentives for companies making movies, television shows, music videos, commercials and corporate videos on Hoosier soil. Though the bill has bipartisan support in the House, a similar measure was spiked last year because of concerns over lost tax revenue. Even the bill’s author thinks there could be a fight over the measure in the Senate. Those who think the idea of drawing movie producers to Indiana is far-fetched…

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EYE ON THE PIE Morton Marcus: Time for a tax strategy to boost retail

It is time to recognize the role of retail trade in economic development. Too often, we follow the notion that a community grows only because it exports. That which we mine, grow, harvest or manufacture is an acknowledged part of the economic base. It brings in dollars from outside. In some communities, we recognize tourism, medical and other specialized services as part of that export base. Just a few places see retail trade as a means of economic development. Yes,…

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Head of IT firm ensures company primed for growth: She started business to offer customized training but altered her strategy as circumstances changed Strategic decisions “She almost vibrates” Female support

Kathy Carrier’s dad was angry when she left a lucrative job at a Fortune 500 company to start her own firm. But four years later, when she won an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, he told his daughter: “Clearly your vision for yourself was greater than the one I had for you.” In less than seven years, Carrier, 46, has built her Fort Wayne-based information technology writing and training firm, Briljent LLC, into a business with annual…

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NASCAR fuels C&R growth: Maker of custom racing parts diversifies from open-wheel roots

Though he’s only 45, Chris Paulsen is a grizzled veteran in racing circles. The storied mechanic has already been invited to take part in old-timer events at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But industry sources say Paulsen’s future is as wide open and promising as that of a schoolboy with a fresh diploma. The innovations that made him a household name in open-wheel have earned a following among NASCAR’s elite, and the insightful entrepreneur even talks of starting his own race…

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Special Report: MURKY MISSION: Vague directive dilutes 21st Century Fund’s high-tech impact

When directors of Indiana’s 21st Century Research and Technology Fund convened in May 2003, they’d already doled out $70 million in state grants over three years to fund h i g h – t e c h innovation a n d w e r e preparing to u n l e a s h another $60 million. But you wouldn’t know it after reading minutes from that meeting. They show a rollicking debate broke out over the 21st Century’s Fund’s…

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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: GDP figures demonstrate Fed’s rate hikes hit mark

Here’s something to try the next time you find yourself mingling with your friends at a party. Strike up a conversation about GDP. You know, GDP. Gross Domestic Product? It’s the total output of everything we produce in the economy. Oh, well, never mind. But even if it’s generally true that talk of GDP’s ups and downs elicits blank stares, some of us devour the news. That’s because the speed-up and slowdown of overall economic growth can affect the policies…

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BULLS & BEARS: Despite decade’s bad start, market points to upswing

The four most dangerous words an investor can mutter are, “It’s different this time.” You heard the phrase a lot in the late 1990s and it was usually surrounded by words like “new economy” and “paradigm shift.” We should all know by now that it’s never really different. Boom and bust trajectories pretty much look the same whether they are tulip bulb prices, radio stocks, Internet stocks or Britney Spears’ record sales. Using the premise that same-old, sameold will rule,…

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Legal limelight:

Counsel from an Indianapolis law firm will argue before the U.S. Supreme Court in April that an annual truck fee charged by the state of Michigan should be struck down. If the high court agrees, trucking firms in Indiana and around the nation could see more than $70 million in fees paid since 1995 refunded. Trucking firms have a lot riding on Scopelitis Garvin Light & Hanson. A ruling upholding the Michigan fee could embolden other states to adopt similar…

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Employers target obesity through wellness programs: Overweight workers contribute to higher health costs

Companies enjoy seeing an increase in their bottom line as a reflection of positive growth. They don’t, however, like to see growth in employee “bottoms,” as evidenced by a national obesity epidemic that is becoming a public health crisis and is cutting into corporate profits through increased health care costs. A study by the not-for-profit, nonpartisan Trust for America’s Health reported that nearly 119 million American adults-65 percent-are overweight or obese. The group warns that obesity may soon overtake tobacco…

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VIEWPOINT: Lack of basic skills hurts competitiveness

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? There is a businesseducation slant to the age-old argument. The business community contends that the state’s colleges and universities are not producing enough graduates to meet their needs. Highereducation advocates, on the other hand, say the qualified graduates are in place, but a lack of jobs within Indiana sends them packing to other states. We’ll leave that argument for another day. There is another major workplacepreparedness issue, however, that is rightfully drawing…

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Area deals reach new pinnacle: Anthem’s $22.7 billion purchase of Wellpoint heads busy year for acquisitions

In 2004, Indianapolis had plenty of both, crushing all previous local merger-andacquisition records. IBJ tracks business deals larger than $5 million involving area companies in which financial terms are available. Last year, there were 56 of them, worth a grand total of $31 billion. Anthem Inc.’s massive $22.7 billion acquisition of Wellpoint Health Networks Inc. led the pack. Before 2004, $17 billion was the most M&A activity Indianapolis had ever seen in a single year. All by itself, Anthem’s deal…

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Terminal move might spur land rush: Midfield project to free choice real estate

Overshadowed by the $974 million midfield terminal project is a potential economic development bonanza: the reuse of the existing terminal and surrounding land at Indianapolis International Airport. More than 120 acres along Interstate 465 that today hold parked cars might someday house hotels, shipping operations or even a light-rail station after the midfield terminal opens in about three years. Another 54 acres representing the terminal and its immediate surroundings will be available for aviation uses from air freight to corporate…

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Indiana IPOs break out of recent slump: Kite Realty, Republic Airways, Adesa among 5 state firms to test public waters

Hoosier-based companies registered five initial public offerings last year, a robust number considering not a single Indiana business went public in 2003. The uptick could signal the state’s economy, as well as the nation’s, is on the mend. Nationally, 233 companies raised $43 billion collectively to go public on the major U.S. stock exchanges in 2004, a 195-percent increase in the number of IPOs over 2003. And the performance could be even stronger this year, said Richard Peterson, a market…

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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Understanding factors in public-sector job growth

There is nothing like a war and a recession to increase the size of government payrolls. Yet the hiring behavior of the public sector in the last four years has been unusual, when compared with previous recessions. The data tell us much of the growth in recent years has come from state and local governments. But they do not tell us why. There has been much stronger job growth in the public sector than in the private sector in the…

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NOTIONS:

The other night, former presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton appeared on my TV. They said the tsunami had been devastating. They said people need help. They asked me to send money. “No one can change what happened,” Bush said. “But we can all Slow tsunami wreaks havoc in Indiana change what happens next,” Clinton said. I went to lunch with my editor. After the waiter announced the specials, he pointed to a tent card on the table. It…

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TOM HARTON Commentary: City’s improvement doesn’t sink in

Dr. Pierre Tran, a former neuroscience researcher at Eli Lilly and Co., was lured from Indianapolis to a suburb of San Francisco recently by a small biotech firm and its ability to develop new drugs more quickly than pharmaceutical giants like Lilly. The region’s diversity and “food culture” also played a role, Tran told the San Francisco Business Times in a story about where the Bay Area finds all the brainpower it needs to fuel its tech culture. Tran went…

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VIEWPOINT: We’re trying to save the wrong brains

I always wonder what people are talking about when they lament Indiana’s “brain drain.” Statistics usually follow, detailing the college graduates taking jobs in other states. It is perhaps a contrarian’s viewpoint, but we should, in fact, encourage these young people to go seek their fortunes. The fact that they are leaving is a symptom, not the problem. Our problem is there are not enough Hoosiers who can create the jobs that could employ our young graduates. We do have…

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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Slow, steady job growth certainly beats alternative

It’s good to have job growth in the U.S. economy once again, even if the monthly gains in employment reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics occasionally fall short of some analysts’ expectations. After a long spell of minuscule job growth in the wake of a painful recession, we’ve grown used to disappointing announcements from the federal statistical agency responsible for tracking the labor market. But the recent report on the employment situation in December caps a year-long streak of…

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EYE ON THE PIE: State’s economy holds surprises

Last week in this space, legislators were challenged to learn something about our state. This week, we will provide some data so our busy representatives do not have to do the work themselves. All our data are derived from the excellent States-in-Profile section of STATS Indiana, maintained by the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, a service supported by the Indiana Department of Commerce. The Indiana economy is the 15th-largest in the nation. Our gross…

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BEHIND THE NEWS: Conseco now seeks assets from Hilbert’s Haverstick

Attorneys for Conseco Inc. have a new target in their legal assault a g a i n s t f o r m e r C E O S t e p h e n Hilbert. It’s Haverstick Consulting Inc., the Carmelbased company Hilbert now leads. In court papers filed last week in Hamilton County, Conseco attorneys charge that Hilbert and his wife, Tomisue, transferred millions of dollars into Haverstick in recent years but did not receive stock of equal…

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