Spotlight on Economic Development
State needs policies to foster job creation
Indianapolis Start, October 17, 2002
When times are hard, as they are now, state government must do everything it can
to help Hoosiers find and hold good jobs with solid benefits.
In the special session earlier this year, the General Assembly passed House
Bill 1001, which will help create jobs in Indiana. It phased out the
inventory tax and dumped the corporate gross income tax -- key business taxes
that discouraged companies from staying or moving here.
My opponent voted against the bill.
Removing barriers to job creation is critical. But it is just
as essential to adopt policies that will foster job creation.
We need strategies that will make Indiana a favorite home for corporate
headquarters. Three important measures can promote the expansion of
- Greater support for high-tech research and
development. We already enjoy a strong foundation
for attracting companies in the medical sciences.
Indiana University School of Medicine and Purdue University
provide cutting-edge academic research; Eli Lilly, Guidant
and other corporations pioneer product development.
To take the next steps, our state government must increase
its support for business investment. Our 21st Century
Research and Development Fund has
received less than $100 million in appropriations.
Michigan and Illinois are operating their similar funds
at a level of $1 to 2 billion. With greater investment,
we can stimulate the kind of economic growth that will
maintain prosperity and keep our college graduates from
leaving for jobs in other states.
- Investment of venture capital by state pension funds
at home. Start-up companies typically locate near
their sources of venture capital, but our venture capital
industry continues to be dwarfed by its counterparts in
California, Massachusetts and other states. When
promising entrepreneurs want to launch their companies,
they often have to move elsewhere for financing.
With more nurturing from state government, we can
develop a sizable venture capital industry.
Specifically, when our state pension funds invest part
of their money as venture capital, they should reserve a
large portion for investment in Indiana.
- Employment of Indiana companies for publicly funded
construction projects. We have first-rate architectural
and engineering companies, but they haven't reached the
size of the prominent national companies. This hampers
their ability to compete for major construction projects
here and elsewhere in the United States. Other states
grow their local companies by looking at home when spending
state funds on roads, airports and other capital projects.
Ohio, for example, tries to reserve 80 percent of its public construction
funds for Ohio companies. We should also support the growth of our
construction industry. When our government builds a hospital or
a highway, it should do all that it can to retain Indiana companies for
the design and completion of the project.
These measures would be just a start, but they represent an important
start. We need to take aggressive steps to provide prosperity for
our children and grandchildren. With greater creativity and commitment,
we can make Indiana's economy the best it's ever been.
Orentlicher, a doctor and Indiana University professor, is Democratic
candidate for state representative, 86th District, Indianapolis.
Committee to Elect David Orentlicher
c/o David Gabovitch, Treasurer
6100 West 96th Street, Suite 250
Indianapolis, Indiana 46278