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.

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

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.

Real Journey Begins for Transportation Funding Bill

During a six-hour hearing before the House Roads and Transportation Committee, there were some technical changes made in the bill and the annual increase for the fuel tax was capped to no more than one cent per year. Chamber President Kevin Brinegar provided testimony that this bill was about “revenue recovery” on the lost buying power of the gas tax since it was last raised. (Read the Chamber’s full testimony.) That lost revenue, plus better fuel economy means less money for roads. The Chamber is grateful to board members Drew Coolidge with SIRVA (moving company) in Fort Wayne and John Thompson (owner of several Indiana-based businesses) who testified how better roads impact their business, their communities and Indiana. House Bill 1002 will be considered in the coming weeks by the Ways and Means Committee before the desired House floor vote.

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

State Accepting Nominations for Governor’s Century, Half Century Business Awards

The following is a release from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation

The state of Indiana is currently accepting nominations for the Governor’s Century and Half Century Business Awards, which honor Hoosier businesses that have remained in operation for at least 100 or 50 years, respectively, and have a demonstrated a commitment to serving the community.

Award winners will receive a commemorative certificate and be recognized in the spring. Applications are due by February 10.

Qualifying criteria is as follows:

  • The business must have had continuous operations in Indiana for more than 50 or 100 years by Dec. 31, 2016
  • The business must have participated in the same line of work for the duration of its operations. If different, an explanation of the evolution into the current business must be provided on the nomination form
  • The business must have had its base in the state of Indiana since it was founded
  • Not-for-profit corporations and hospitals are not eligible
  • The business must recognize, acknowledge and agree that it is in full compliance with the Indiana Secretary of State, Department of Revenue and the Department of Workforce Development by signing the application
  • The business must not have previously received a Century or Half Century award from the state of Indiana. Previous Half Century Award recipients may qualify for a Century Award

Eligible companies are encouraged to complete the online application. Please visit the IEDC website for additional programmatic details.

Bane-Welker Equipment Celebrates 50 Years

The following is a release from Bane-Welker Equipment:

Bane-Welker Equipment, LLC is turning a half a century old this August. To mark the impressive occasion, the company is planning many events, sales and offers, as well as introducing a special 50th anniversary commemorative logo which customers will see beginning later this month.

“It is hard to believe we are turning 50 years old,” stated Phil Bane, CEO of Bane-Welker Equipment. “I can’t believe it was 50 years ago that my dad, Kenneth Bane, signed a contract that started this journey.”

Kenneth Bane started Bane Equipment in 1967 when he answered the local newspaper ad from a representative for the JI Case Co., which was looking for a dealer in Montgomery County. By August of 1967, Kenneth and wife Patricia Bane, had signed the Case contract and the family business was born along with a commitment to superior products and service.

“At that time, no one could have imagined that 50 years later, three generations of our family would still be going strong and growing the business like never before,” stated Bane. “Dad left us a legacy none of us could’ve imagined.”

Kenneth Bane passed away in 1999, but today, his widow Patricia, sons Phil and Jeff, and grandson Jason Bane continue the family business.

Bane Equipment became Bane-Welker Equipment in 2013 when Norm Welker brought his expertise to the table. He owned North Central Agri-power and merged with Bane to form Bane-Welker Equipment, LLC.

“I knew we would be able to offer our customers the very best if our two companies became one,” stated Welker. “It was a no-brainer and our customers have benefitted since.”

Through the years, the company has seen many changes, including great advances in technology. BWE has committed to being on the cutting edge of that new information to ensure the success of their customers. Bane-Welker Equipment also remains committed to superior products and service.

“We have been through the ups and downs of the economy with our customers; we have felt both happiness and pain with them, and have stayed true to a commitment to be here when they need us,” Bane said. “Our customers are like family to us. And if they don’t succeed, neither do we. We take great pride in the fact that we have been here so long and we look forward to another 50 years!”

Follow Bane-Welker on Facebook or Twitter to stay up to date with everything related to the 50th anniversary.

Bane-Welker Equipment is an agriculture equipment company representing Case IH and other complimentary brands. Bane-Welker offers new and used equipment, parts, sales, service, precision farming, online parts sales and customer support. The 50-year-old company operates 10 stores in Indiana including Crawfordsville, La Crosse, Lebanon, Remington, Terre Haute, Pendleton, Plymouth, Winamac, and Wingate, and three stores in Ohio, including Eaton, Wilmington and Georgetown.

Get Your Motor Running for Transportation Funding

The long-awaited road funding bill (HB 1002, authored by Rep. Ed Soliday) arrived during the first week of session. It addresses the structural deficit of $1.2 billion per year for Indiana roads. The bill includes many good things that the Chamber supports; it is user-fee based and data-driven. While the bill will have changes during the next four months, we will work to support its basic concepts. The state’s situation: Over the years, technology (that led to better gas mileage) and inflation have combined to erode Indiana’s road maintenance dollars. Also, the last time the gas tax saw an increase was 2003. There will be a major hearing on this bill by the Roads and Transportation Committee on January 25 and the Chamber will be there to formally advocate its full support.

HB 1002 provides for a one-time fuel tax rate increase of 10 cents per gallon on gasoline  currently $0.18), special fuel tax (currently $0.16) and motor carrier surcharge tax (currently $0.11.) It also does the following:

  • Provides for an annual rate increase in fuel tax rates based on an annual index factor
  • Increases alternative fuel decal fees by 50%
  • Establishes a $15 transportation infrastructure improvement fee that applies to all motor vehicle registrations
  • Requires a person who registers an electric vehicle to pay a supplemental registration fee of $150 with an increase every five years based on an index factor
  • Provides that the gasoline use tax is distributed to highway funds over a phase-in period
  • Repeals restrictions on when a tolling project can be undertaken
  • Requires the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) to seek a Federal Highway Administration waiver to toll interstate highways
  • Permits INDOT to approve certain railroad crossing projects and authorizes the Indiana Finance Authority to finance an approved project subject to a maximum annual debt service limit of $10 million
  • Makes various changes to the transportation funding exchange program between the state and counties and municipalities