Our Chairman of the Board, Andre Lacy, provides convincing commentary for Inside INdiana Business outlining how true bipartisanship is necessary for successful governing.
We recommend you take a look at the column in its entirety, but here are some highlights and examples he offers:
In 1999, Indiana moved to the forefront of K-12 education standards and accountability measures. A key driver was the General Assembly working in a bipartisan fashion to create Indiana’s Education Roundtable. This group of education and business community leaders was able to come together (leaving politics at the door) to monitor and refine standards that remain highly regarded by national experts. It took additional bipartisan legislative support to make these initiatives a reality.
In 2002, the governor teamed with legislative leaders of both parties to help craft comprehensive tax reform that provided property tax relief and made Indiana much more competitive as a business location through (among other substantial changes) the elimination of the inventory tax. That started a series of legislative sessions that featured cooperation across the aisles and passage of important economic development initiatives such as telecommunications and further tax reforms. The results have been substantial new investment and thousands of new jobs.
James Sherk of the Heritage Foundation offers his assertion that the proposed Employee Free Choice Act effectively ends worker privacy and hinders their ability to make personal choices regarding union membership. He argues that while EFCA could be a boon to union dues, it would help little else and deliver a crushing blow to worker freedom:
Organized labor’s highest legislative priority is the deceptively named Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). EFCA replaces secret ballot elections—the method by which most workers join unions—with publicly signed union cards. While eliminating secret ballots is extremely unpopular, many EFCA supporters argue that the legislation merely gives workers the choice between organizing using secret ballots or publicly signed cards. This argument is false; nothing in the legislation gives workers any control over union organizing tactics. Though EFCA still allows for secret ballot elections under unusual circumstances, standard union organizing tactics ensure that publicly signed union cards will dominate the recognition process. As a result, the misnamed Employee Free Choice Act effectively eliminates secret ballot elections.
Former Democratic Senator and presidential nominee George McGovern also penned this column for the Wall Street Journal earlier this month:
To my friends supporting EFCA I say this: We cannot be a party that strips working Americans of the right to a secret-ballot election … To fail to ensure the right to vote free of intimidation and coercion from all sides would be a betrayal of what we have always championed.
Are you so burned out on politics by this point that you’ve placed a V-chip block on MSNBC and Fox News, and are focused solely on your fantasy football draft or the home stretch of "Project Runway?"
I wouldn’t know about that last part, just that it’s a popular show right now … but isn’t Michael Kors always just so right on in his critiques? I definitely agree with him more than I do with Nina Garcia. What?
Anyway, according to a Stateline report, both the GOP and Democrats are using convention time this year to revamp their primary processes by 2012 in an effort to prevent such a long, drawn out effort.
Democrats plan to create a commission this week to draw up a new calendar and process for the 2012 presidential nominating schedule, while Republicans will likewise begin meeting this Wednesday (Aug. 27) to discuss a possible overhaul of the primary calendar in advance of their own convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul Sept. 1-4.
The Thicket blog recently took a look at how state legislators are dealing with email volume. The writer explains some of the responses were encouraging, while some likely won’t be received too well by constituents.
Some of the legislators who have their own staff had maladroit messages like, "I won’t be able to respond to your message myself, but one of my staff will get back to you" or, perhaps worse, the automated message came from a staff person, not the legislator, in the first place. Staff may in fact be the ones who respond, but there are more graceful ways to explain this to constituents. Announcing in advance that staff will respond seems gratuitous at best and patronizing at worst.
While some have been negotiating the world of email, folks like Congressman John Culberson of Texas have been pioneering constituent relations by using Twitter — the latest and greatest way to communicate using "micro-blogging." Check out Culberson’s Twitter feed here.
OK, maybe the headline is a little harsh. But the meaning cannot be downplayed.
The final installment in the Chamber’s Letters to Our Leaders campaign calls for bipartisanship. That’s a big, 14-letter word for a) work together; b) leave the politics at the door; and c) Hoosiers are tired of political games getting in the way of substantial progress.
Indiana ‘s economy is performing strongly compared to its Midwest neighbors and many others around the country. It’s almost as if that is taking place in spite of some of our government efforts. Too many potential education, workforce training and other policy improvements go by the wayside because one party doesn’t want the other taking credit.
The Chamber letter and video summary says Hoosiers have had enough. Once the election is over, put aside the party labels, do what you were "hired" to do by the voters and everyone will benefit.
Newt Gingrich is best known for his days in Congress, particularly as Speaker of the House following the 1994 election. Gingrich is also a recognized expert on world history, military issues and international topics, with 10 fiction and non-fiction bestsellers among the 16 books he has authored.
Speaking recently during the Council of State Governments’ (CSG) spring conference as part of its 75th anniversary celebration, Gingrich opened by asking the audience to think back to 1933. Not only was CSG first coming into existence, but radio was on the way to becoming a leading source of information.
"Ronald Reagan used to tell the story how newspapers got a law passed in Congress that radio couldn’t carry any news," he relates. "Reagan was working at WHO in Des Moines, Iowa in 1933 when there was a major earthquake in Los Angeles."
Prevented from directly relaying the news of the day to his listeners, Reagan "would turn down the music and ‘accidentally’ talk to his producer about the quake when new updates came in." A clever way around the ill-conceived law.
Gingrich kept the CSG audience on alert with a variety of stories and opinions. We’ll share more of them here and look forward to his appearance at the 19th Annual Awards Dinner hosted by the Indiana Chamber on November 6.
Company president and CEO Mike Schrage says it’s a circlet. Some call it a crown. All can agree that the 27-foot-high, 54,000-pound "beacon to the world" above the new, five-story Centier Bank corporate headquarters in Merrillville tops off an amazing structure.
For those traveling north on Interstate 65, you won’t miss it — during the day or at night. But the circlet definitely lights up the sky in the evening hours. The new Centier home was officially dedicated with a reception Thursday evening, topped off by a fireworks display.
As impressive as the building is on the outside, it’s what’s taking place inside the nearly 1,400 glass panels that is the true story. The 113-year-old, family-owned bank features more than 40 locations in four counties. It is a community and business partner throughout northern and Northwest Indiana.
Employees got a first look on Wednesday at the expansive learning/training facilities, fitness center, cafe and more that was constructed with their needs in mind. Centier has been a top 10 finisher the last two years in the Best Places to Work in Indiana program (I was happy to talk briefly about the company’s honors; see a BizVoice story from 2007). It’s easy to see why.
Congratulations to everyone at Centier — a shining example of a continuing Indiana business success story.
Nationally-read Workforce Management has just posted an article explaining the trials America faces regarding workforce education. As the Indiana Chamber is a leader in this area, the writer interviewed our senior vice president, Mark Lawrance, about our workforce studies and Ready Indiana programs.
While Washington drags its feet, states are trying to tackle workforce challenges on their own. In Indiana, 931,000 working adults have an educational deficiency that limits their employability, according to a study by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. They lack some kind of required credential—a high school, associate’s or bachelor’s degree—for jobs in demand.
The article also claims that 88 million of the 150 million people in the American workforce have at least one educational or language barrier that limits their job prospects (18 million lack a high school education). Additionally, National Commission on Adult Literacy chair David Perdue says the U.S. is simply getting "left behind" in relation to other nations like India.
I admit to some mixed reactions in reading a Midwest Business.com column. It referenced a Forbes article on 10 dying cities in America. Four — Canton, Cleveland, Dayton and Youngstown — in Ohio were joined by Detroit and Flint, Michigan.
I was happy to see no Indiana cities on the list, but disappointed as the Midwest took a beating. If we’re to believe that regional economic impact that everyone keeps talking about, dying cities to our east and north can’t be a good thing.
The mixed thoughts went away as the writer went on to contrast Fort Wayne with the "dying 10." He noted that the city experienced similar challenges in job losses and corporate moves, but that "the political leaders saw what was coming and they got out of a traditional mode of approaching economic development." He detailed some of the expansion and efficiency measures and also cited the fiber-to-the-premises investment by Verizon as critical.
NEWS ALERT: Apparently, Michael Phelps is a big deal.
While his accomplishments in the pool have rendered him an archetype in his sport with legendary status, it’s the personal revenue machine he’s generated that might be equally appealing to capitalists everywhere. This article on ESPN.com is quite telling, and explains how Phelps could end up taking in over $100 million from the global business community.
Eight gold medals in one Olympiad are cool, I guess. I’ll only take mild offense that similar financial accolades were never tossed my way when my Lil’ Steelers bested the previously undefeated Lions in the 1986 Boone County Pee Wee Youth Football Championship. Pretty impressive milestone, but whatever.