Ellis, Lawrance Bring Chamber Advocacy Team to Full Strength

lawrence ellisThe many programs and benefits of Indiana Chamber membership include the state’s deepest and most effective group of issue experts. That team welcomes two talented additions.

Mark Lawrance returns to the Chamber in the new position of vice president of engagement and innovation policy. That includes advocacy work in the areas of technology, economic development and infrastructure.

Greg Ellis begins his work May 31 as vice president of energy and environmental policy. His variety of public and private sector experiences, including serving as an administrative law judge for the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission since 2010, will prove valuable in his work on behalf of Chamber members.

Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar leads an experienced lobbying team that also includes: Caryl Auslander, education, workforce development and federal relations; Mike Ripley, health care policy and employment law; and Bill Waltz, taxation, public finance and local government reform.

“The hard work that takes place in the summer and fall – Chamber policy meetings, interim legislative panels, individual meetings with lawmakers and more – leads to effective General Assembly sessions,” Brinegar says. “Chamber members will be well represented by these issue experts and the support team we have around them.”

Secretary of State Launches INBiz Portal to Help Hoosier Businesses

inbizGov. Mike Pence and Secretary of State Connie Lawson recently announced the launch of INBiz, a web portal for Indiana businesses. The following is a release from Sec. Lawson:

INBiz is aimed at streamlining the steps a business takes when registering with the state, including registration, filing, reporting, and making payments. This first phase of the project includes business services within the Secretary of State’s office, and will include services from the Department of Revenue and Department of Workforce Development later this year. As the portal continues to grow, INBiz will become the single point of contact for businesses as they do business with the state.

“From day one of this administration, we have been focused on cultivating a more business-friendly environment that encourages investment and opportunity for all Hoosiers,” says Gov. Pence. “We’ve cut taxes and red tape, invested in our classrooms, our workforce and the infrastructure that makes Indiana the Crossroads of America. In just the last three years our state has added 130,000 new jobs, and we set a record for private sector employment. With the launch of INBiz, we’ll be able to build on this momentum, increase efficiencies and make it easier for businesses to start up, operate and grow within the state of Indiana, saving owners time and money that can be reinvested into growing and operating their companies.”

INBiz furthers Indiana’s position as one of the nation’s most pro-business environments. The site modernizes the current business registration system and enables businesses to open their doors faster. INBiz also utilizes state-of-the-art security features so businesses can feel safe about inputting business information into the system. Ten years ago, Indiana became a leader in business services when it began offering an online filing system.

“INBiz will be the most comprehensive one-stop resource in the nation,” said Secretary Lawson. “It will streamline and expedite the registration and compliance process, reducing the cost of doing business with the state. Today’s launch is just the beginning, and we will continue to add as many services as business owners demand. I am very thankful for the Governor’s collaborative approach on this project. Partnerships like this benefit all Hoosier businesses. INBiz is another significant step in making Indiana a state that works.”

INBiz is available at INBiz.in.gov.

The $9.1 million in funding for the initiative was included in the most recent biennial budget. In March 2014, Governor Pence signed into law House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1198, which mandated executive agency participation in the Business One Stop (now INBiz) online portal.

M.J. Schuetz Insurance Services: Maximizing Chamber Investment Through Compliance Resources

Wolcott_Vickie“I trust them.”

That’s why Vickie Wolcott relies on a variety of Chamber resources to help keep M. J. Schuetz Insurance Services, an Indiana Chamber member since 1994, in compliance with state and federal laws.

She began working at the Indianapolis firm, which specializes primarily in commercial insurance, 37 years ago as a receptionist. Today, she’s one of the owners and serves as president.

Purchasing mandatory state and laminated poster sets has become a tradition.

“Whenever they come out, I make sure I order them immediately because I really trust them,” Wolcott declares.

The Chamber’s Indiana Employment Forms publication is another favorite.

“We have our agency policies and things like that in place, but it’s always nice to have them (forms) on hand as a backup and an extra resource,” Wolcott asserts. “I look at those to make sure we’re in compliance with everything. They make it very easy for me.”

She cites one more valuable tool: free, confidential helplines.

Wolcott reveals, “It’s always (provided) good feedback for me and been a trusted resource.”

Exploring a ‘Best’-Kept Secret

mobi

This is going to be good!

Like a kid in a candy store, my eyes widened as I gazed around the spacious surroundings at MOBI, an Indianapolis-based provider of software and services that helps businesses manage mobility.

Maybe it was the infectious energy enveloping employees as they chuckled, collaborated and consumed – in moderation – an adult beverage, courtesy of Frank the Tank (MOBI’s kegerator). Perhaps it was the colorful décor that so aptly captured the vibrant personality of its people. Something was special about MOBI.

Make yourself at home at MOBI with this BizVoice® magazine story about its honor as one of the 2016 Best Places to Work in Indiana.

Online Sales Tax Collection Inching Closer?

19145168It’s been nearly 25 years since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Quill case regarding online sales – that states could not require a company that has no physical presence in their state to collect the state’s sales tax when they sell their goods to a resident of that state through the mail or via the Internet.

The Court held that requiring the collection of sales tax, without congressional authorization, constitutes interference with interstate commerce in violation of the U.S. Constitution. So Congress needs to pass legislation allowing the states to require online sellers to collect the tax. But that has still not happened.

The Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) legislation would provide the needed authority, but hasn’t gotten enough support.

The opposition primarily comes from two groups: (1) some of the Internet-based companies which would have to collect the tax; and (2) people who view the legislation as a new tax.

Internet companies object to the administrative burden of collecting and remitting the tax, and they obviously want to maintain their current price advantage over the local brick-and-mortar retailers and other Internet companies that have a physical presence in many states, who must already collect and remit sales tax.

Those who consider it a new tax are, at least technically-speaking, simply wrong. When an in-state resident buys something online and doesn’t pay because the company isn’t obligated to collect the tax, those residents are legally responsible to pay the equivalent of the sales tax.

In these cases it is called a “use” tax (because they use the purchased product in their state) and everybody is supposed to report it on their state tax return. Unfortunately, the vast majority of taxpayers ignore this obligation. The simplest answer is to have the Internet seller collect the tax just as the local retail store does.

Online purchases now make up close to 10% of all retail sales and that percentage is steadily climbing.

This is a growing problem across the country, but especially for states like Indiana that are heavily dependent on sales tax – which accounts for 46% of Indiana’s total tax revenues. States are losing an estimated $11 billion in uncollected sales tax each year. Indiana’s losses are put at $200 million annually, and these numbers are growing by nearly 10% each year.

No question these numbers are driving up pressure for Congress to take action. The MFA passed the Senate in 2013, but it got bogged down in the House Judiciary Committee.

Many who are dedicated to the cause have worked to iron out a number of administrative wrinkles and to keep momentum going on this effort. The best speculation is that it will have to be made part of some larger legislative package in order to garner some compromises and the necessary level of support.

Of course, it is impossible to predict, but tax reforms and such tax packages could be on the table after this election year.

Take Part in the Innovation Showcase: Deadline to Enter is May 30

innovator picParticipate in the 8th Annual Innovation Showcase, where each entrepreneur will have the opportunity to pitch to an investor panel for a chance to win cash and tangible services. (Note: Applications are due May 30!)

Featuring three competitive tracks:

  • University
  • Start-Up
  • and Scale-Up

Exhibiting companies will also get exposure to more than 30 venture capital funds from around the country, and be selected by them for one-on-one meetings. See what representatives from the 2015 winner, Pi Labs Inc. (aka Edwin the Duck), are saying about the importance of the showcase in this video.

Other key dates:

  • First round pitch and selection: June 24
  • Final pitch competition and winners announced: July 14

Top 100 Best Places to Work in Indiana Ranked!

chamber peepsHoosier organizations with a strong workplace environment were recognized Thursday at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis. Before a crowd of 1,200, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce unveiled rankings for the 100 companies that made the 2016 Best Places to Work in Indiana list (released in February).

Winners were selected in four categories. Taking top honors:

  • Small companies’ category (between 15 and 74 U.S. employees): Luther Consulting, LLC, a Carmel-based public health software company
  • Medium companies’ category (between 75 and 249 U.S. employees): Mainstreet, a national group specializing in real estate development, value investments and health care; located in Carmel
  • Large companies’ category (between 250 and 999 U.S. employees): CPA firm Katz, Sapper & Miller, LLP, headquartered in Indianapolis
  • Major companies’ category (1,000 or more U.S. employees): technology giant Microsoft Corporation, which has a local office in Indianapolis

It marks the first time that Luther Consulting, Mainstreet and Katz, Sapper & Miller head their respective groups. It’s also a return for Microsoft to the top spot, where they have been a record five times.

“A big congratulations to the No. 1 organizations. Their leaders and each company on this list understand how important it is for the success of a business to have a culture that respects and values employees,” states Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar.

“These businesses demonstrated that in a variety of ways – from fostering open communication and teamwork to providing training opportunities and more unique job benefits. We are pleased to acknowledge the efforts of all 100 honorees.”

At the dinner, presented in partnership with Hylant, representatives from all designated companies received Best Places to Work awards of excellence.

Organizations on the 2016 list that have displayed sustained excellence during the program’s 11-year history received additional recognition with Best Places to Work in Indiana Hall of Fame and Pinnacle designations.

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 2016 list meet that criteria. Two companies – Edward Jones and Katz, Sapper & Miller – have made the Best Places to Work list all 11 years of the program.

The Pinnacle designation is reserved for those that have finished first in their category three or more times in a five-year period. The four Pinnacle companies are Edward Jones (tops in the large employer category from 2006-2008); Hollingsworth & Zivitz, P.C. (first in the small employer category from 2011-2014); Microsoft (tops in the major employer category in 2013-2014 and in the large employer category in 2011-2012); and Sikich LLP (first in the large employer category from 2013-15).

More information about the Best Places to Work companies is available via a special section of the May/June issue of the Indiana Chamber’s BizVoice® magazine, a statewide publication released tonight and accessible online at www.bizvoicemagazine.com.

Other program partners are Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick, the Best Companies Group, Indiana Economic Development Corporation, Indiana State Council of SHRM and the Wellness Council of Indiana.

In addition to Hylant, Best Places to Work in Indiana is sponsored by: Moser Consulting, Inc.; University of Indianapolis; Comcast Business; Conner Insurance; Eaton; Formstack; Human Capital Concepts; Kings Island; OurHealth; Smithville Fiber; and Trilogy Health Services.

The Best Places organizations were determined through employer reports and comprehensive employee surveys. The Best Companies Group, which handled the selection process, oversees similar programs in 27 other states.

All companies that participated in the 2016 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 Indiana Chamber’s Best Places to Work program, go to www.bestplacestoworkIN.com.

The full list of the 2016 Best Places to Work in Indiana companies by ranking:

*Hall of Fame companies

Small Companies (15-74 U.S. employees) (48)
Company / Primary Indiana Location

1. Luther Consulting, LLC / Carmel
2. E-gineering, LLC / Indianapolis
3. Indiana CPA Society / Indianapolis
4. American Income Life Indiana / Indianapolis
5. JA Benefits, LLC / Bedford
6. Delivra, Inc. / Indianapolis
7. Hanapin Marketing / Bloomington
8. Diverse Tech Services / Indianapolis
9. Inovateus Solar LLC / South Bend
10. Lakeside Wealth Management / Chesterton
11. Visit Indy / Indianapolis
12. Conner Insurance, Inc. / Indianapolis
13. Magnum Logistics, Inc. / Plainfield
14. VOSS Automotive / Fort Wayne
15. Formstack LLC / Indianapolis
16. PolicyStat / Carmel
17. Apex Benefits / Indianapolis
18. Oak Street Funding LLC / Carmel
19. eImagine Technology Group / Indianapolis
20. MVO USA, Inc. / Indianapolis
21. Wessler Engineering / Indianapolis
22. IDSolutions / Noblesville
23. The Skillman Corporation / Indianapolis
24. Schmidt Associates* / Indianapolis
25. SmartFile / Indianapolis
26. netlogx, LLC / Indianapolis
27. Guidon Design Inc. / Indianapolis
28. Found Search Marketing / Indianapolis
29. Community First Bank of Indiana / Kokomo
30. CloudOne / Fishers
31. Diverse Staffing / Indianapolis
32. Design Collaborative, Inc. / Fort Wayne
33. Cripe / Indianapolis
34. United Leasing, Inc. / Evansville
35. BLASTmedia / Fishers
36. Bohlsen Group / Indianapolis
37. Leaf Software Solutions / Carmel
38. Bloomerang / Indianapolis
39. OrthoPediatrics / Warsaw
40. Network Solutions, Inc. / Granger
41. Pathfinders Advertising & Marketing Group, Inc. / Mishawaka
42. Goelzer Investment Management, Inc. / Indianapolis
43. BlueSky Technology Partners / Noblesville
44. Weddle Bros. Construction Company, Inc. / Bloomington
45. Indesign, LLC* / Indianapolis
46. LHD Benefit Advisors / Indianapolis
47. Accutech Systems / Muncie
48. FirstPerson / Indianapolis

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

1. Mainstreet / Carmel
2. Performance Services / Indianapolis
3. Software Engineering Professionals (SEP)* / Carmel
4. J.C. Hart Company, Inc. / Carmel
5. Moser Consulting / Indianapolis
6. Purdue Federal Credit Union / West Lafayette
7. Project Lead The Way, Inc. / Indianapolis
8. WestPoint Financial Group / Indianapolis
9. Allegient, LLC / Indianapolis
10. Sheridan Community Schools / Sheridan
11. First Internet Bank / Indianapolis
12. HWC Engineering / Indianapolis
13. Gibson / South Bend
14. Indiana Oxygen Company / Indianapolis
15. Blue Horseshoe / Carmel
16. Heritage Petroleum, LLC / Evansville
17. Butler, Fairman & Seufert, Inc. / multiple locations
18. OurHealth / Indianapolis
19. Merchants Bank of Indiana and PR Mortgage & Investments / Carmel
20. Bierman ABA Autism Center / Indianapolis
21. Peoples Bank SB / Munster

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

1. Katz, Sapper & Miller, LLP* / Indianapolis
2. Traylor Bros., Inc. / Evansville
3. FORUM Credit Union / Fishers
4. Sikich LLP / Indianapolis
5. Kemper CPA Group LLP / multiple locations
6. IPMG / West Lafayette
7. Duke Realty Corporation* / Indianapolis
8. Hylant / multiple locations
9. Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company* / Fort Wayne
10. The Kendall Group / Fort Wayne
11. Monarch Beverage / Indianapolis
12. Appirio / Indianapolis
13. Ontario Systems / Muncie
14. Magna Powertrain / Muncie
15. SmartIT / Indianapolis
16. Blue & Co., LLC* / Carmel
17. Mike’s Carwash / Fort Wayne
18. Centier Bank* / Merrillville
19. MOBI / Indianapolis

Major Companies (1,000+ U.S. employees) (12)
Company / Primary Indiana Location

1. Microsoft Corporation* / Indianapolis
2. Horseshoe Casino Hammond / Hammond
3. Edward Jones* / statewide
4. Colliers International / Indianapolis
5. Eaton / South Bend
6. Salesforce* / Indianapolis
7. Aerotek / multiple locations
8. RCI* / Carmel
9. Hilliard Lyons* / multiple locations
10. Cushman & Wakefield* / Indianapolis
11. Total Quality Logistics / Indianapolis
12. Capital Group* / Carmel

2016 Legislative Returns on Indiana Chamber Investment

in chamberThe 2016 General Assembly saw the Chamber advocate for and achieve numerous public policy victories that will have a lasting positive impact on the state’s economy and the prosperity of its residents. Additionally, the Chamber defeated several measures that would have cost businesses over $200 million.

In total, the Chamber’s work yielded savings of $1.435 billion for Hoosier businesses OR $546 per employee. Specific savings are listed below by bill and subject matter, in total and per employee. Also noted is the indeterminable value of a vital policy area: education and workforce development; the majority of which cannot be quantified.

Business Savings:
$1.435 billion or $546 per employee

Civil Justice
– Reasonable and controlled increased medical malpractice limits (SEA 28):
$50 million; $19.02/employee
– Restrictions on legal practice known as “lawsuit lending”
(HEA 1127): $40 million; $15.21/employee

Economic Development and Infrastructure
– Supplemental distribution of local income tax for local infrastructure (SEA 67): $400 million; $152.13/employee
– Short-term road funding and allowance for additional Regional Cities initiative (HEA 1001): $300 million; $114.10/employee
– Defeated – Unreasonably high data breach fines (HB 1357): $10 million; $3.80/employee

Employment and Labor
– Prohibition against ordinances restricting employee scheduling (SEA 20): $75 million; $28.52/employee
– Defeated – Option for prevailing wage (SB 319 and SB 346): $50 million; $19.02/employee
– Defeated – Mandated paid leave policies (HB 1139 and HB 1328): $30 million; $11.41/employee
– Defeated – Mandated increases in minimum wage (HB 1265): $25 million; $9.51/employee
– Defeated – Loss of business license for employing unauthorized aliens (SB 285): $25 million; $9.51/employee
– Changes to unemployment insurance procedures (HEA 1334): $20 million; $7.61/employee

Energy and Environment
Long-term water infrastructure maintenance funding (SEA 257 and SEA 383)
$100 million; $38.03/employee
More efficient solid waste handling (SEA 256 and SEA 366) $20 million; $7.61/employee
Underground tank remediation fund (SEA 255) $10 million; $3.80/employee
Planning future water usage needs (SEA 347) $10 million; $3.80/employee

Health Care and Insurance
– Prescribing authority for telemedicine (HEA 1263): $80 million; $30.43/employee
– Codification of Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 (SEA 165) $70 million; $26.62/employee
– Defeated – Mandated health insurance coverages (SB 370) $25 million; $9.51/employee
– Defeated – Provisions for prescription drug requirements (HB 1390) $25 million; $9.51/employee

Taxation
– Repeal and replacement of commercial assessment mandates (HEA 1290)
$40 million; $15.21/employee
– Defeated – Egregious income tax reporting provisions (SB 323) $30 million; $11.41/employee

Total Savings for Indiana Business: $1.435 Billion
Total Savings Per Employee: $546

Your Return on Investment
10 employees = savings of $5,460
25 employees = savings of $13,650
50 employees = savings of $27,300
100 employees = savings of $54,600
200 employees = savings of $109,200
500 employees = savings of $273,000

Plus the Value of Education and Workforce Development Initiatives:
The Indiana Chamber also played a leading role in the development and passage of important education and workforce development legislation. While difficult to quantify the specific fiscal impact of these changes, we know from economic research, economic development professionals, site selection consultants and our own membership the importance of these matters to the cost of doing business. Thus, we note the important accomplishments in education and workforce development as a significant – albeit unquantifiable – return on investment.

IMPORTANT NOTES: Business impact calculations are based on fiscal impact estimates of the Legislative Services Agency, independent studies, other available data and research materials, and Indiana Chamber analysis. Business impact per employee is calculated by using the estimated number of employed workers statewide in March 2016 (2,629,300).