Commentary: How NOT to Make America Great Again

Dan Berglund, president of the State Science & Technology Institute, offers this analysis of the budget proposal offered by the Trump administration:

The Trump Administration’s skinny budget proposal calls itself, “A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again.” From the information contained in the document, it is clear the Administration does not view science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship and the economic development efforts built around those activities as the path forward to making “America great again.” The program eliminations and drastic cuts are not the way to move the country forward economically. So what is behind this proposal? Two things: 1) a fight over the proper role of the federal government in the economy, and 2) a negotiating tactic to attempt to lull advocates into thinking program survival or lesser cuts are a victory. A full community response is needed and all of us must get off the sidelines and on to the playing field.

The budget blueprint proposes drastic cuts for research at NIH, DOE’s Office of Science, NOAA and EPA and would eliminate a score of federal programs that serve as the cornerstone of federal activity in supporting an innovation economy, including the Economic Development Administration, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, ARPA- E, the Appalachian Regional Commission, SBA’s Regional Innovation Clusters program and CDFI Fund, among others. (The National Science Foundation is not mentioned in the proposal, so details on how much the Administration will propose it be cut will not be available until the full budget is released in April or May. Similarly, the Regional Innovation Strategies program is not mentioned specifically in the budget proposal.) All of these proposals are against the aims of SSTI’s policy platform for federal support of innovation economies.

Motivations behind the budget proposal
There appear to be two primary motivations behind the budget proposal: 1) a fight once again over the role of the federal government in the economy, and 2) a negotiating tactic to attempt to lull advocates into thinking program survival or lesser cuts are a victory.
Throughout the 62-page document there are recycled ideological talking points to justify program elimination. Many comments contained in the document indicate a fundamental lack of understanding of the programs they propose to eliminate or the belief that the federal government has no role in economic development, including:

  • EDA has “limited measurable impacts and duplicates other Federal programs”
  • MEP centers would “transition solely to non-Federal revenue sources, as was originally intended when the program was established”
  • Some SBA programs including Regional Innovation Clusters are targeted because “the private sector provides effective mechanisms to foster local business development and investment”
  • ARPA-E should be eliminated because “the private sector is better positioned to finance disruptive energy research and development and to commercialize innovative technologies”

Never mind that numerous reports have been done about EDA’s economic impact, that Congress reauthorized the MEP program just last year with a funding structure that includes federal funding and without federal funding the remaining centers would drop their focus on small and medium-sized manufacturers, and that the private sector alone does not provide effective mechanisms to encourage economic development or disruptive energy R&D.

Beyond a clear ideological view that the federal government has no role in promoting economic growth — a position rejected since at least the early 1800s when the federal government funded canals and other key infrastructure items, it is hard to view this proposal as anything more than a negotiating tactic. As anyone who has bought a house or bargained for an item at a flea market knows, you start with a low ball offer knowing that you’ll settle higher and that both you and the seller will ultimately be happy with the final price.

But this budget is not a real estate negotiation and settling for reduced cuts and declaring victory should not be an option for any of us.

A concluding thought
There is broad popular support for an economic growth agenda focused on innovation, science, technology, and entrepreneurship. We regret the Administration’s initial proposal would send this country in a different direction. We look forward to doing our part and working with others to make our case to Congress.

Indiana Climbs in Small Business Policy Index

Indiana ranks seventh in the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council’s 2017 Small Business Policy Index (up from 10th in last year’s ranking).

This is the SBE Council’s 21st annual look at how public policies in the 50 states affect entrepreneurship, small businesses and the economy. The report ranks the 50 states according to 55 different policy measures, including a tax, regulatory and government spending measurements.

According to the report, the most entrepreneur-friendly states under the “Small Business Policy Index 2017” are Nevada, Texas, South Dakota, Wyoming, Florida, Washington, Indiana, Arizona, Alabama, and Ohio. In contrast, the policy environments that rank at the bottom include Rhode Island, Oregon, Iowa, Connecticut, Maine, Hawaii, Vermont, Minnesota, New York, New Jersey, and California.

Top 100 Best Places to Work in Indiana Named for 2017

They come from throughout the state and across 25 industries. They are the 100 honorees on the 2017 Best Places to Work in Indiana list.

In today’s announcement, the Indiana Chamber said that nearly half (49) of the winners are from the small employer category and almost a third (32) are first-time honorees or returning after at least a year’s absence.

Offers Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar: “Best Places to Work in Indiana not only recognizes our state’s outstanding employers, but also sets a high standard for other Hoosier companies by encouraging them to realize the importance of evaluating their own workplaces.

“It is clear that a positive work environment makes employees more engaged in their job and in their company, which is a win for everyone.”

The 2017 honorees represent more than 20 cities throughout the state, with multiple winners hailing from Bloomington, Carmel, Evansville, Fishers, Fort Wayne, Michigan City, New Albany, Noblesville and West Lafayette, in addition to Indianapolis. A total of 200 companies applied to the program this year.

The actual rankings for the companies will be unveiled at a May 2 awards dinner, presented in partnership with Hylant, at the Indiana Convention Center (Sagamore Ballroom) in downtown Indianapolis.

These top companies in the state were determined through employer reports and comprehensive employee surveys. The Best Companies Group, which handled the selection process, oversees similar programs in 29 other states.

Winners were selected from four categories: small companies of between 15 and 74 U.S. employees; medium companies of between 75 and 249 U.S. employees; large companies of between 250 and 999 U.S. employees; and major companies with 1,000 or more U.S. employees. Out-of-state parent companies were eligible to participate if at least 15 full-time employees are in Indiana.

The 2017 Best Place to Work in Indiana companies range in Hoosier employee count from 15 (SMARI, a consulting firm in Indianapolis) to more than 1,700 (Horseshoe Casino in Hammond).

Organizations on this year’s list that have displayed sustained excellence during the program’s 12-year history receive additional recognition.

Hall of Fame companies are those that have been named a Best Place to Work in Indiana at least two-thirds of the time in the program’s history; a total of 15 organizations on the 2017 list meet that criteria. Two companies – Edward Jones and Katz, Sapper & Miller – have made the Best Places to Work list all 12 years of the program.

In addition to the May 2 awards dinner, winners will be recognized via a special section of the Indiana Chamber’s bimonthly BizVoice® magazine and through Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick – both of which reach statewide audiences. Additional program partners are the Best Companies Group, Indiana State Council of SHRM and the Wellness Council of Indiana. The 2017 Best Places to Work in Indiana awards dinner is open to the public. Individual tickets and tables of 10 are available at www.indianachamber.com/specialevents.

All companies that participated in the 2017 Best Places to Work program receive an in-depth evaluation identifying strengths and weaknesses according to their employees. In turn, this report can be used in developing or enhancing employee retention and recruitment programs.

For more information on the Best Places to Work program, go to www.bestplacestoworkIN.com.

Additional Best Places to Work in Indiana sponsors are: Moser Consulting; Eaton Corporation; Hancock Regional Hospital; Human Capital Concepts; OurHealth; and Smithville.

Sponsorships are still available; email jwagner@indianachamber.com for more details.

The 2017 Best Places to Work in Indiana companies listed in alphabetical order, no ranking:

*Hall of Fame companies

Small Companies (15-74 U.S. employees) (49)
Company / Primary Indiana Location

Ambassador Enterprises / Fort Wayne
American Income Life Indiana / Indianapolis
Apex Benefits / Indianapolis
BLASTmedia / Fishers
Bloomerang / Indianapolis
CENTURY 21 Scheetz / Multiple Cities
CleanSlate Technology Group / Carmel
Community First Bank of Indiana / Kokomo
Conner Insurance / Indianapolis
Cripe / Indianapolis
Delivra, Inc. / Indianapolis
Design Collaborative / Fort Wayne
DK Pierce / Zionsville
E-gineering / Indianapolis
Eimagine / Indianapolis
Emarsys North America / Indianapolis
FirstPerson / Indianapolis
General Insurance Services / Michigan City
Goelzer Investment Management, Inc. / Indianapolis
Grote Automotive Inc. / Fort Wayne
Hanapin Marketing / Bloomington
* Indesign, LLC / Indianapolis
Indiana CPA Society / Indianapolis
Inovateus Solar LLC / South Bend
JA Benefits, LLC / Bedford
Jackson Systems / Indianapolis
Lakeside Wealth Management / Chesterton
Leaf Software Solutions / Carmel
Lessonly / Indianapolis
LHD Benefit Advisors / Indianapolis
Luther Consulting, LLC / Carmel
mAccounting, LLC / Indianapolis
Magnum Logistics, Inc. / Plainfield
netlogx LLC / Indianapolis
Network Solutions, Inc. / Granger
Oak Street Funding LLC / Indianapolis
OfficeWorks / Fishers
Peepers by PeeperSpecs / Michigan City
Pondurance / Indianapolis
* Schmidt Associates / Indianapolis
Sharpen / Indianapolis
SMARI / Indianapolis
T&W Corporation / Indianapolis
The Skillman Corporation / Indianapolis
University High School of Indiana / Carmel
Visit Indy / Indianapolis
VOSS Automotive / Fort Wayne
Weddle Bros. Construction Co., Inc. / Bloomington
Williams Creek / Indianapolis

Medium Companies (75-249 U.S. employees) (21)
Company / Primary Indiana Location

Allegient, LLC / Indianapolis
American College of Education / Indianapolis
Blue Horseshoe / Carmel
Elements Financial Federal Credit Union / Indianapolis
First Internet Bank / Fishers
Gregory & Appel Insurance / Indianapolis
HWC Engineering, Inc. / Indianapolis
IDSolutions / Noblesville
Indiana Oxygen Company / Indianapolis
J.C. Hart Company, Inc. / Carmel
Merchants Bank of Indiana and PR Mortgage & Investments / Carmel
Moser Consulting, Incorporated / Indianapolis
National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) / Indianapolis
PAN Performance Assessment Network / Carmel
Peoples Bank SB / Munster
Purdue Federal Credit Union / West Lafayette
Sheridan Community Schools / Sheridan
SkillStorm / Indianapolis
* Software Engineering Professionals (SEP) / Carmel
Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice of the Wabash Valley / Terre Haute
* WestPoint Financial Group / Indianapolis

Large Companies (250-999 U.S. employees) (19)
Company / Primary Indiana Location

American Structurepoint, Inc. / Indianapolis
AssuredPartners NL / New Albany
* Blue & Co., LLC / Carmel
Blue 449 / Indianapolis
* Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company / Fort Wayne
* Centier Bank / Merrillville
* Duke Realty Corporation / Indianapolis
FORUM Credit Union / Fishers
Hosparus, Inc. / New Albany
Hylant / Multiple locations
Impact Networking / Indianapolis
IPMG / West Lafayette
* Katz, Sapper & Miller, LLP / Indianapolis
Kemper CPA Group LLP / Evansville
Monarch Beverage / Indianapolis
Ontario Systems / Muncie
Sikich LLP / Indianapolis
SmartIT / Indianapolis
Traylor Bros., Inc. / Evansville

Major Companies (1,000+ U.S. employees) (11)
Company / Primary Indiana Location

Aerotek / Multiple locations
Blackboard, Inc. / Indianapolis
* Capital Group / Carmel
Colliers International / Indianapolis
* Cushman & Wakefield / Indianapolis
* Edward Jones / Statewide
Horseshoe Casino / Hammond
* Microsoft Corporation / Indianapolis
* RCI / Carmel
* Salesforce / Indianapolis
Turner Construction Company / Indianapolis

Indiana Hoops Star Keynotes Indiana INTERNnet IMPACT Awards

Indiana INTERNnet held its annual IMPACT Awards last Wednesday, which featured a record number of award nominees. The nearly 400 attendees were also privy to a rousing speech from recently retired Indiana Fever star Tamika Catchings.

Inside INdiana Business has the list of winners and nominees.

Photos:

A Welcome Move: State’s Telecom Agreement With Agile Networks Denied

The state’s controversial proposed lease of its cell phone towers, fiber and public rights of way to Ohio-based Agile Networks officially won’t happen.

Governor Eric Holcomb put an end to it in an announcement Thursday. The Indiana Chamber applauds his decision and had been advocating for such a resolution.

Funds from the proposed $50 million lease were earmarked for bicentennial construction projects, with the Agile agreement promoted as a way to bring greater connectivity to rural areas.

Beginning last September, after learning in more detail about the agreement, the Chamber voiced significant concerns and objections on behalf of the state’s telecommunications industry.

Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar had numerous discussions with the Indiana Finance Authority and State Budget Committee members – the groups needing to approve the deal. The Chamber made a clear request that the agreement not proceed.

Therefore, we are very pleased that Gov. Eric Holcomb shared our belief that this deal was bad for Indiana.

In his statement, the Governor said: “I have asked the Office of Management and Budget to assess how best to move forward and to develop alternatives we might pursue. Enhancing broadband availability in rural parts of our state will be an important part of my consideration.”

The Chamber believes that’s the correct approach.

Our board-approved position supports free market competition in the delivery of advanced telecommunications services. Yet this deal went too far and essentially suppressed this important principle. Not to mention, good Hoosier companies inexplicably were not even given equal opportunity to bid for the project.

Additionally, all industry players and competing technologies should be on a level playing field. However, this proposed deal would have only served to pit the state against private providers.

Getting better broadband access to rural areas of the state should be a priority. That was unlikely to happen with the now-defunct deal, which would have done nothing to drive Agile Networks to serve our rural areas. The company’s publicized plans were to build in the state’s largest cities – Evansville, Fort Wayne and Indianapolis – where cable and broadband services and competitive choices already exist.

Looking ahead, the Chamber pledges to work with state government in any way it can to advance the effort to truly bring connectivity to rural parts of the state. These areas must be brought up to date technologically to help reverse their downward population and economic trends.

Hobart High School, St. Mary Medical Center Earn School Counseling-Business Partnership of Year Honors

Janice Ryba, CEO of St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart; Tamika Catchings, former WNBA all-star and luncheon keynote speaker; Rachael Gayton, Hobart High School senior and scholarship recipient; Dr. Peggy Buffington, Hobart School Superintendent; Shelley Huffman, director of college and career readiness, Indiana Chamber of Commerce; and Christy Huston, executive director of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

The inaugural School Counseling-Business Partnership of the Year award was presented to Hobart High School and St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart at a luncheon ceremony yesterday in downtown Indianapolis. The recognition, developed by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce Foundation to highlight innovative approaches to college and career readiness, comes during National School Counseling Week.

Many factors led to the Hobart-St. Mary alliance being selected. Among them: the hospital’s sponsorship of Hobart’s Promise Indiana 529 college savings program; the establishment of a health care clinic in the schools to meet the needs of both students and their families, plus St. Mary’s providing a wide range of work-based learning experiences and credential opportunities for high school students.

Indiana Chamber Foundation Executive Director Christy Huston pinpoints specific instances. “The medical center provides over 50 students each year with the screening tests required to take part in the Emergency Medical Services program. It also hosts approximately 30 students a year in a variety of internship and other learning opportunities.

“We also found that through the dedication and leadership of CEO Janice Ryba they go the extra mile. To accommodate one student’s interest in health care administration, a St. Mary’s Medical Center team member changed his hours of work to ensure that student was able to participate in meetings and experiences.”

Additionally, the award provides a $1,000 scholarship to a Hobart senior. Rachael Gayton, who will be attending Ball State University in the fall of 2017, was selected by the school to receive the scholarship. Gayton is in her fourth year of the school’s biomedical sciences program and interning at St. Mary’s in the pediatric unit. She says that her interaction with nurses and their willingness to share their experiences have solidified her plans to become a nurse practitioner.

“This alliance is a shining example of a career mentorship program. We congratulate St. Mary’s, Hobart and Rachel for their excellent work,” Huston states.

Nominations from throughout Indiana were submitted for the award. Danielle Adams, Hobart High School director of guidance, nominated the winning partnership.

The Indiana Chamber Foundation has conducted extensive research into effective school counseling practices, and has been designated by Lilly Endowment as one of the technical assistance providers to all eligible Indiana schools. Currently, the Indiana Chamber Foundation is a resource for 15 districts (78 schools) that all received planning grants as part of an up to $30 million Lilly Endowment Comprehensive School Counseling initiative.

The School Counseling-Business Partnership of the Year honor was presented at the Indiana INTERNnet’s IMPACT Awards luncheon, which celebrates excellence in internships. Appropriately supporting the luncheon’s theme of “Shooting for Success,” former Indiana Fever WNBA All-Star and four-time Olympic gold medalist Tamika Catchings delivered the keynote address, “Scoring Big with Your Career.” Catchings is also the founder of the Catch the Stars Foundation, which assists Indianapolis youth with goal-setting to promote fitness, literacy and youth development.

Poster Fines Increased in 2017

Fines for outdated workplace posters have increased recently in accordance with the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015. (The law requires federal agencies to adjust penalties for inflation each January.)

Here are the current maximum civil penalties for not posting:

  • Employee Polygraph Protection Act poster – $20,111 (up from $19,787)
  • Job Safety and Health: It’s the Law (OSHA) poster – $12,675 (up from $12,471)
  • EEOC poster – $534 (up from $525)
  • Family and Medical Leave Act poster – $166 (up from $163)

UPDATES
Required updates were made to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA) workplace posters in 2016:

FLSA: Effective August 1, 2016, a new FLSA poster is required. The update includes new information about the overtime rule, independent contractors and nursing mothers. Outdated fine information was also removed.

EPPA: Also effective August 1, the EPPA poster was updated. Outdated fine information was also removed from this poster and contact information was updated.

FMLA: The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) posting was updated in April 2016 to be more reader-friendly. This update is included in our latest sets.

You can purchase posters online now!

Or, are you tired of trying to keep up with poster changes? We’re happy to take the pressure off at no added cost. Just subscribe to our convenient, free subscription service online or by calling (800) 824-6885. You’ll get new posters whenever there’s a required update without even having to order! You’ll join hundreds of other Indiana businesses already benefiting from this service.

CSR Planning Events Help You Take Care of Employees

The March/April 2016 BizVoice highlighted Bohlsen Group’s intensive efforts to promote corporate social responsibility (CSR) to benefit its clients, employees and the communities it serves.

Now the Bohlsen team is partnering with the Indiana Philanthropy Alliance (IPA) to offer the “CSR Planning for Results” networking luncheon series in March at five locations throughout Indiana.

The IPA writes:

In addition to learning about the principles and evolution of the CSR movement, this skills-building session discusses the market forces behind this growing business trend. The program will also provide hands-on steps to integrating CSR in your marketplace by aligning and leveraging what your company is already doing. Lastly, you will learn from other local businesses about how these programs have been developed in their workplace as well as the impact they have had in their companies.

Read more and find registration information online. Furthermore, IPA also plans a webinar series on corporate giving beginning later this month.