[r31] Mahan Messenger: Fostering job growth is equally as important (4/29/2011)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Start Date: 4/29/2011 All Day
End Date: 4/29/2011
I am going to steer away from my normal education reform discussion this week to talk about something of equal importance-economic development. With the majority of education reform bills passed, economic development was under the spotlight during the last week of session.

We have several pieces of legislation still being considered-meaning, the House and Senate authors are working in conference committees to discuss each chamber's changes to these bills.

One of those bills is House Bill 1005. It would enhance the Dinosaur Building Tax Credit to allow more companies to invest in existing industrial facilities that require significant rehabilitation or remodeling. Vacant buildings can be eyesores in Hoosier communities. This can cause the value of surrounding property to decrease, which further inhibits economic development.

Therefore, this is a win-win piece of legislation because it puts a renewed focus on incentivizing the use of existing facilities to help revitalize hard hit communities and it will allow employers to bring in jobs.

Another bill, House Bill 1006, will establish the framework for a one-stop-shop for Hoosiers to start a business, register with state agencies and obtain necessary licenses and permits in one user-friendly location. It also requires Indiana Economic Development Corporation to collaborate with several organizations to create an entrepreneurship curriculum for state schools.

History has shown that Indiana cannot rely solely on the manufacturing industry to provide job opportunities for those who enter the workforce immediately after high school. Highly educated workers will be a key factor in attracting high-paying jobs.

Finally, House Bill 1008 is another example of economic development legislation. It will enhance the Venture Capital Investment tax credit to improve the access to capital for fast growing Indiana businesses, by providing individual and corporate investors an additional incentive in early-stage firms.

As session comes to a close, these pieces of legislation, along with many others will be debated and decided upon before the April 29 deadline.

It was my goal t keep Indiana on the right track with continuing to find ways to foster economic development in communities all across our state. We will continue working-even until the early hours of the morning-in order to keep that promise.

Stay tuned for next week's column where I will be doing a legislative wrap-up, discussing some of the major legislation that passed this week-including the state budget.