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Strengthening Indiana Plan – Part 2: Promoting Hoosier Job Creation

When I started my post yesterday on the State House Republicans “Strengthening Indiana Plan”, I honestly thought I could cram everything into one post.  But there is so much going on in their plan that I really need to devote an entire post to each plank of the plan.  Today’s plank is one that most Hoosiers would probably feel is the most important and that’s “Promoting Hoosier Job Creation”.

With yesterday’s announcement that Indiana’s August unemployment numbers reached reached 10.2%, it’s imperative that legislation is drawn up that empowers businesses to hire and attract the best of the best to their doors.  The House Republican plan seeks to do just that by revitalizing hard hit communities, increasing access to start-up capital and focusing on entrepreneurship and small businesses.

One of the things that I learned while finding out more about the House GOP plan was that Indiana ranks first in the Midwest and 12th nationally in the Tax Foundation’s 2010 Business Tax Climate Index (pdf. warning).  Despite the most recent unemployment numbers, Indiana is ties with Utah as the top states for private sector job growth for 2010.  And in a June 2010 article in the Wall Street Journal:

Indiana has seen the largest percentage increase in jobs through the year, rising 1.9% on a surge in manufacturing jobs. Illinois, Pennsylvania and Minnesota—all big in manufacturing—were among the top 20 states in terms of job gains, each with job increases of 1.2% or greater.

But despite positive reports, more does need to be done as our state and national economy are still taking a beating.

The plan to revitalize hard hit communities that have empty factories and warehouses sitting idle is to seek to enhance the Industrial Recovery Site (Dinosaur building) Tax Credit.  House Republican Leader Brian Bosma said:

By focusing the Industrial Recovery Site tax incentive on the empty structure, we will help employers defer upfront capital costs that often prevent new businesses from starting so that the business can repurpose the factory and hire hoosiers.

Clearly, this move would be ideal for start up companies or those that are looking to relocate or grow. This makes me think of some of the hardest hit areas of Indiana by the recession like Kokomo, Elkhart and the Region.

The second part of this the increase to Start-Up Capital for budding businesses. This will be done by changing the parameters of the Venture Capital tax credit for “Qualified Indiana Business”.

Then there is the focus on entrepreneurship and small business. In an effort to spur entrepreneurship, the Republican plan would require the Commission for Higher Ed. (CHE) to survey and develop entrepreneurial education programs for all Indiana universities.  Here’s the reason I like this.  A few weeks ago I was talking with a colleague of mine who had recently began his own start up.  The one thing he lamented is that the college business programs teach you how to be an employee, but don’t teach you the process of starting your own business.  This leads to me to think that if colleges offered the kind of education that better prepared people to start their own businesses, would start up companies have a better chance of success?  Possibly.

The Republican plan wouldn’t just focus on regular colleges, but also Ivy Tech, the rapidly growing state run community college by developing up to date computer programming courses while expanding entrepreneurial course offerings  at high schools by partnering with the CHE and the business community.  It’s one thing to have a professor teach you the book learning of starting a business.  It’s another to have a successful small businessman be a part of that learning process.  And in addition to all of this, they would continue to the existing small business person and new entrepreneurs by streamlining the one-stop shot portal within the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC).

All in all, this part of the plan is designed to empower the individual small business owner and the person just starting out. These a great moves to help promote business growth in Indiana.

Part three will focus on expanding education opportunities.

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