Lilly Gives Back in a Big Way

For the fourth year in a row, Eli Lilly and its employees are showing a true commitment to making their city a better place. The Indy Star reports on this year’s massive undertaking:

An army of 8,000 red-shirted volunteers will fan out across the city today, planting thousands of trees, painting at least seven large murals to brighten public spaces and generally dressing up the community.

This is the fourth annual Lilly Global Day of Service, when 24,000 employees of Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. volunteer for community service projects in 39 countries around the world.

Here in the company’s hometown, volunteers from at least 30 other companies, which are providing people and donated services, will reinforce the Lilly volunteers.

Event organizers estimate the value of the 35,000 hours of volunteer labor plus the materials and supplies at nearly $2 million for the day in Indianapolis.

Last year’s Day of Service included the creation of a six mile-long linear park along the sides of I-70 on the west side of Downtown.

While that caused some traffic problems for several hours while I-70 was closed, today’s projects will have minimal impact on most motorists. The ramps of the Emerson Avenue interchange of I-70 will be closed for various periods while the cloverleaf receives new trees and other landscaping.

“We are putting more emphasis on the Eastside this year, to help the neighborhoods, where so much is going on,” said David Forsell, president of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful.

The agency is a partner with Lilly in the Day of Service, and he was referring to developments on the Eastside of the city by the 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee to revitalize a neighborhood as a lasting legacy of the NFL game here in February.

Some of the work has been planned as a memorial, including development of a peace garden in a westside park, which will be created in memory of the victims of violence.

“This is a monumental day for civic service,” Forsell said. “In any community, it doesn’t come any bigger.”

The 8,000 volunteers will be focused at 46 worksites, which will be grouped in four primary zones of the city today.

It’s Simple: Quantify the Regulatory Costs

Clyde Wayne Crews isn’t the best public speaker in the world. I know that because we brought him in for an Indiana Chamber board meeting a few years ago. Oh, he knew his subject area — the world of federal regulations — but audience members weren’t thrilled by his presentation style.

The most important part of that opening paragraph was the phrase "he knew his subject area." Crews, a policy vice president with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, is right on target again with his latest writing as he takes Congress to task for the over-regulation that is threatening so many companies.

It might be easy to blame the agency regulators. But they’re only taking those steps because Congress is simply not doing its job. The partisan politics is preventing progress of any kind; then it becomes worse when our representatives abdicate their responsibility.

Crews writes:

“Ultimately, voters need the ability to hold Congress directly accountable for regulations by requiring congressional approval of new rules. Thus, legislation that will lead to costly agency rules regulating, say, lamp ballast energy efficiency may or may not make sense to a congressman who may have to vote directly to approve the accompanying costs.

“As Congress becomes more answerable for regulation, it will face greater incentives to ensure that benefits exceed costs as determined by independent analysis, rather than by agencies’ own estimates. Greater ongoing oversight might dampen the tendency to overregulate in the future, thus creating pressure for a ‘regulatory ceiling’ to parallel the fiscal debt ceiling. Regulation does not control itself, and agencies will not apply the brakes.We have to do it, through our elected representatives.”

Read more from Crews and access his full report.