It's about the economy.and jobs
This week saw the long awaited "jobs" bills start passing through the House. House Bill 1007, authored by Rep. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper), gained unanimous approval in the House. These tax incentives provide counties and local communities more economic development tools such as exempting new investment personal property, an important tool the states around us already have. It gives municipalities enhanced tax abatement schedules, as well as the ability to use local option income taxes towards hiring incentives. These new tools are options if communities need and want to use them in their business attraction and expansion activities; they are not requirements.
My bill, House Bill 1251 the Young Entrepreneur Program, also passed the House unanimously. This program links our young graduating entrepreneurship majors and minors with local communities that may want to attract them. It creates the first ever mechanism utilizing the Indiana Economic Development Corporation to review the business plans of these entrepreneurs-to-be and then hosting a Preview Day for communities and economic development organizations to learn about these businesses. Communities will then have the opportunity to put together a "bid", similar to an auction, to attract the young entrepreneurs and their businesses to their community. The bid may include office space, infrastructure, funding or other assets the community or economic development organization might offer. My belief is that this program will allow our rural communities "a look" at some future businesses we can help nurture into successful enterprises while attracting young, talented professionals to our small towns. Both HB 1007 and HB 1251 now move off to the Senate for consideration.
Several other economic development bills passed out of committee including HB 1005, the Dinosaur Building Tax Credit. This tax credit existed, but was rarely being used because the building had to be too old, too big, and vacant too long. In Committee, we reduced the size of the building to 25,000 square feet, must be at least 15 years old, and 50% vacant for a year. By doing this, over 150 buildings across the State of Indiana would be eligible for this tax credit.
Rep. Suzanne Crouch (R-Evansville) also authored HB 1006, the Entrepreneurship and Small Business plan, which passed through committee. This bill creates a "one-stop on-line shop" for businesses gathering all state agency requirements into one portal for items such as licenses and permits, among other information. Several states have done this quite successfully and with very positive feedback and cost savings.
HB 1008, the Venture Capital Investment Tax Credit, was voted out of Ways and Means this week. This tax credit provides an incentive for private investors to invest in technology start-ups. This bill doubles the amount of investment a qualified Indiana business can claim for a total of $1 million per company. The maximum credits remains at the previous $12.5 million. It should be noted that jobs from these high tech firms average $61,700 per year, 60% more than the average private sector job. Both HB 1006 and HB 1008 will go to the House for second hearing and then on for a vote there before they can pass to the Senate.
We know there is still more to do on the economic development front. However, this was a great week to see the hard work of study groups, economic developers, universities and communities turn into high impact bills that will continue to make Indiana an even more attractive place for entrepreneurs, existing businesses and those industries which have not yet chosen to locate in our Hoosier state.
Keep the faith. Our economy is slowly, but surely improving. And, be assured my fellow legislators, the governor and I will do all we can to ensure Indiana's long term economic prosperity. Have a warm week and stay in touch!
Rep. Sue Ellspermann (R-Ferdinand)