Articles

Election of president, governor signals Hoosiers desire changes

Indiana’s blue vote for president-elect Barack Obama on Election Day was a sign that Hoosiers are ready for change. So was
the state’s red vote to keep incumbent Gov. Mitch Daniels in office. In this case, the status quo means more change. Daniels
has been making gutsy and sometimes unpopular moves since taking office four years ago. He ran on a promise to keep shaking
things up.

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Tax reform fallout worries biz interests

Property tax reform is now Indiana law. Hoosier homeowners are thrilled. But many corporate leaders grumble the historic deal was brokered on the backs of business. Topping their concerns is the new 3-percent property tax cap for commercial and industrial properties, which they fear will slow business expansions and discourage companies from moving headquarters to the state.

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Bills would require utilities to reduce reliance on coal

Two bills in the Indiana Legislature would require utilities that operate here to supply up to 25 percent of their electricity from renewable resources such as wind, landfill gas, and plant and animal waste. Backers say utilities need more incentive to diversify from coal-based power generation.

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Lawmakers call for advocate to support airline passenger ‘rights’

Northwest Airlines flight 1829–stranded on a Detroit taxiway for seven hours with lavatories overflowing and the 198 souls
aboard without food or water–has now landed at the Indiana General Assembly. Two Republican lawmakers have proposed creating
an “airline consumer advocate” to resolve disputes on behalf of passengers who’ve endured poor service.

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Property tax crisis deals Indiana a blow

Many called it “the perfect storm.” But in retrospect, the dark clouds of Indiana’s 2007 property tax crisis had been forming
for years. Legislators caught wind early that something was amiss and spent all spring preparing to weather the impact.

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Critics fear tax reform will favor suburbs

As legislators prepare to overhaul the state’s property-tax system, Marion County’s future hangs in the balance. Indianapolis
residents–particularly in the city’s older, urban core–already pay far higher taxes than their suburban counterparts. And
arguably get less bang for their buck. Changes on the table could make Marion County an even tougher sell.

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Racinos may push gambling’s limits

During their first half-decade in operation, the state's casino slots machines grew their total sales to $22 billion,
according to Indiana Gaming Commission records. But in the last five years, slot sales grew just 18 percent, reaching $25.9
billion in 2006. That's what business textbooks call a maturing market.

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Biz interests scored legislative wins

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. did OK in the just-completed legislative session. IEDC received $96 million it can
now dole
out as business grants. And lawmakers had authorized tax credits worth millions more for the commercialization of new…

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High-tech 21st Century funding in doubt

The first version of the $25.6 billion state budget, passed by the Democratic majority in the Indiana House of Representatives
Feb. 22, didn’t include any money for the Indiana 21st Century Research and Technology Fund, which provides financial assistance
to promising high-tech startups.

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Bill challenges WellPoint’s ‘favored’ status

A bill moving through the Indiana General Assembly could remove one of the major weapons Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield
has used to preserve its market dominion. Senate Bill 114 would forbid health care providers from granting Anthem–or any
other health insurer–so-called “most favored nation” clauses.

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Firearm advocates take aim at employers’ restrictions

Legislators in the upcoming session of the Indiana General Assembly are gearing up for a gunfight with high-caliber business
implications. On one side are employees who prefer to pack heat during their commute. On the other are executives who see
guns as a liability nightmare–even if they’re locked in cars parked outside.

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