Many Tech, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Priorities Remain in Budget Bill

The House Republicans’ budget priorities were recently announced, as HB 1001 goes from the Governor’s initial budget priorities to more in-depth House consideration. The Chamber was glad to see several technology and innovation priorities in the bill including:

  • Makes the Venture Capital Tax Credit transferrable to people who don’t have Indiana tax liability. It also removes the 2021 expiration date of the tax credit, which helps enhance certainty
  • Several parts of the $1 billion over 10 years for innovation and entrepreneurship plan:
    • It caps the amount of the Next Level Trust Fund that can be invested in Indiana businesses to 50% of that $500 million fund. It still appoints a board of trustees to oversee the investment policy of the fund
    • Has $20 million over the two years for the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute
    • Due to budget pressure, it reduced the 21st Century Research and Development Fund by $10 million per year to $20 million per year
    • It allocates $1 million for the biennium for the Launch Indiana program

We expect many changes in HB 1001 as it advances through the legislature. The Chamber will continue to educate legislators on these important economic development priorities currently in the bill and why they need to remain.

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

Road Funding Bill Now Travels to Senate

Chamber-supported HB 1002 was amended last week on the House Floor and then passed 61-36 largely along party lines and is now up for consideration by the Senate.

The floor amendment prohibits any new toll road within 75 miles of any other toll road, terminates the gas tax indexing after July 2024 and allows additional time for public comment before a significant road project begins. Earlier, changes were made to the bill to have all sales taxes collected on fuel costs to be designated for roads (currently it’s only a penny of the seven-cent tax) starting in 2018 versus a phase-in of the sales tax to roads over three years through 2021. This creates a potential general fund budget deficit of over $300 million a year that must be addressed, either through budget cuts or other identified revenue sources. Moreover, the Chamber will continue to advocate for a strong, user-fee based model to address Indiana’s $1.2 billion per year road funding gap.

Call to Action: Connect with your state senator via our grassroots page. Let them know today that long-term funding is important to you and your company!

Better Data for Indiana Bill Advances

The Indiana Chamber supports HB 1470 (on management of government data), authored by Rep. David Ober.

During the second hearing last week, language was added to reframe how the MPH will be built out. Included is how data can be accessed that could make state government and agencies more transparent, how legislative services could use information from MPH for data-driven policy and various operational aspects of the MPH for information input and output. The Chamber will continue to work with Rep. Ober and the administration to ensure the MPH is as useful as possible for the executive and legislative branches of government, as well as offers strong external uses for stakeholders outside of government.

Heard by the Government and Regulatory Reform Committee; amended and passed 8-0, and now headed to the full House.

Bill to Change Net Metering for Those Investing in Wind and Solar Energy

The Senate Utilities Committee heard a full day of testimony on SB 309 on February 9 from both sides. No vote was taken and the bill will be heard again on February 16.

Most of the committee testimony was focused on net metering. Senator Hershman offered an amendment on the floor and Sen. Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) indicated he will be offering additional amendments to be considered at the next hearing. The Indiana Chamber gave testimony in support of the bill, including stating: the expectations for energy needs are diverse; our concerns about net metering if we do not make a step forward; the potential for rising costs through continued litigation; and the concern of numerous parties intervening in cases which will further slow down the process and increase costs to both utilities and ratepayers.

Overall, we testified the current bill is a step in the right direction and can be used as a building block going forward.

This bill is truly a compromise of long-standing issues that industrial users and businesses, as well as residential ratepayers, have had with Indiana’s investor-owned utilities. It will not fix all of the concerns our members expressed, but is a first step in helping businesses control costs. It has elements of competitive procurement, net metering, distributive generation and transparency of utility rates. It will serve as a building block of the Chamber’s efforts to maintain Indiana’s historical competitive edge, given the increase in energy costs over the past decade. With that said, we will need to consider all of the amendments before ultimately taking a final position on the bill.

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.

Learn About Alliance for a Healthier Indiana; Reducing State’s Smoking Rate First Up

The Alliance for a Healthier Indiana formed last year; it includes health care professionals, advocates, and community and business leaders from across the state who are committed to improving the health of citizens.

The Indiana Chamber is among the four founding organizations; the others are the Indiana Hospital Association, Indiana State Medical Association and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Indiana. The group’s chairman is Bryan Mills, CEO of Community Health Network.

The group came together to jointly pursue public policy measures in several critical areas of need. Indiana ranks at the bottom in many important health metrics including tobacco use, obesity, infant mortality and opioid abuse – and these are just a few critical examples. Our progress toward improvement is impeded by Indiana’s low public health spending per capita.

This contributes to higher health care spending, challenges for employers who want to provide health insurance, premature deaths, poor work and school attendance, and perpetuation of poverty. Our terrible health measures create a negative image for Indiana, making it more difficult to recruit new businesses and professionals looking for a healthy place to live, work and raise a family.

The Alliance will ultimately tackle public health issues such as obesity, infant mortality and opioid abuse. But the first priority is to substantially reduce tobacco usage, which is the leading cause of preventable death in Indiana. The severity of the problem was reinforced just this week during a presentation to the Senate Health and Provider Services Committee by Dr. Jerome Adams, Indiana’s state health commissioner. He emphatically said: “The number one issue that the Legislature could address is smoking.“