Survey: Where Will the Workers Come From?

Several straightforward conclusions can be drawn from the ninth annual workforce survey conducted by the Indiana Chamber and its foundation.

The good news is that respondents are optimistic about growing their businesses over the next one to two years. The challenge, however, is that they don’t know where they are going to find the workers to allow that growth to take place.

For the third consecutive year, the number of jobs left unfilled due to underqualified applicants increased. So did the number of employers who identified filling the workforce as their biggest challenge.

“There is a reason that Outstanding Talent is the top driver in our Indiana Vision 2025 plan,” says Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar. “The survey once again reinforces the work that must be done at so many levels to increase the skills of our current and future workers.”

View the press release and additional survey charts.

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Starting a Movement: Healthy Businesses Fuel Healthy Communities

Healthy Businesses Fuel Healthy Communities logo

Building on the successful Health Means Business event earlier this year is an upcoming program supported by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the Wellness Council of Indiana.

Healthy Businesses Fuel Healthy Communities is the focus on July 13 (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) as the Indiana business and philanthropic sectors come together to explore how corporate engagement in community service can improve health for employees and all Hoosiers.

Take this opportunity to connect, learn from and collaborate with like-minded organizations and discuss ways you can work together to address health needs in your community.

Additional objectives include the following:

  • Learn about Indiana’s critical health needs and the social and economic factors contributing to them
  • Understand how corporate community service and wellness programs benefit both companies and communities
  • Understand how to leverage your internal resources to support wellness inside and outside your organization

Who should attend?

  • Business owners and leaders
  • Executives and program officers at corporate foundation
  • Individuals involved with corporate giving, cause marketing and corporate social responsibility programs (program managers, execs, marketing, sales or HR)
  • Individuals involved with corporate wellness initiatives (program managers, executives, marketing, sales or HR)

Learn more and register online. Contact Marie Beason at the Indiana Philanthropy Alliance at mbeason(at)inphilanthropy(dot)org or (317) 630-5200, ext. 115 with questions.

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.