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[r29] Column: Indiana continues to lead the nation
Start Date: 5/15/2013Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 5/15/2013End Time: 11:59 PM
Entry Description
Indiana continues to lead the nation

Indiana continues to be seen as a state for business opportunities and economic growth. Adding to a list of accolades over the past few years, Indiana recently received further recognition as the best place to do business in the Midwest and the fifth best nationwide in a survey of more than 500 chief executives by Chief Executive magazine. The "Best & Worst States" survey has been conducted for almost a decade evaluating states based on business tax policies, regulation, workforce quality and livability factors with Indiana’s ranking moving up eleven places since 2010. 
 
Indiana has been at the forefront of the nation’s recovery efforts since the recession because of its robust business environment and taxpayer-friendly tax climate. Many states approached the recession with tax increases to maintain collection levels, but this only hindered economic growth and restricted the hiring capabilities of small businesses. Look no further than Illinois to realize the Hoosier way of fiscal conservatism and cutting bureaucratic red tape is a winning strategy as our neighbors are consistently ranked near the bottom for business and taxpayer friendliness and have to deal with a $100 billion unfunded pension system. To put that in perspective, the Indiana Legislature just passed a two-year state budget, covering all state functions, totaling $30 billion, not even a third of Illinois’ pension black hole.
 
In the House this year, we wanted to keep the state’s private sector job growth ahead of the national average by providing additional tax relief for Hoosiers. The enacted tax cut package will provide the most state relief in Hoosier history with four taxes being reduced or eliminated, saving taxpayers more than $650 million a year once fully implemented. But, taxes aren’t the only reason why various business publications have ranked Indiana tops in the nation. 
 
Businesses look at the strength of K-12 and higher education when considering a long term investment because these will be the people they look to pull from for future employment. The state of our infrastructure is critical to commerce and has always been a point of pride and priority given our nickname as the Crossroads of America. Both of these areas will see more funding in the coming years. 
 
The status and future stability of the state’s workforce depends on a strong education system to fill the void being left by Baby Boomers. Indiana has an aging workforce in key economic engines like manufacturing, engineering and technology. These industries provide a high quality of life for Hoosiers, and a renewed focus on vocational education and skills training will help fill the “skills gap” facing our state. Two initiatives this session, the Indiana Career Council and regional Indiana Works Councils, will more closely align workforce needs with educational training, so Hoosiers have the know-how and ability to succeed in growing fields.
 
In addition, $12 million was allocated in the budget for the new Ivy Tech campus in Noblesville, which will bring a new level of opportunity to not only our community’s students, but adults looking to sharpen their skills. These dollars, along with more funding from Hamilton County, the City of Noblesville and Noblesville schools due to the referendum passing last Tuesday, will together help manage the growth in our community and provide more educational and employment options. 
 
Ensuring Indiana is competitive in the marketplace, domestically and abroad, is important for continued growth and prosperity. Indiana’s attractiveness might not be ocean views and mountaintops, but companies want to locate here because our state provides the tools to be successful. It starts with promoting the entrepreneurial spirit. But, there is a needed balance, and the General Assembly has worked hard to make sure vital services have the necessary resources and funding, while maintaining a relatively low tax burden. We will look to continue in that endeavor.

-30-
Contact Information:
Name: Nicholas Goodwin
Phone: 3172329831
Email: ngoodwin@iga.in.gov
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