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BusINess » Government

Archives for the ‘Government’ Category

Economic recovery slow to emerge

(Photograph by Tony V. Martin/The Times.)

(Photograph by Tony V. Martin/The Times.)

“We didn’t get into this economic crisis overnight. We won’t get out of it overnight.”

David Bochnowski pulls no punches when discussions turn to the local, state and national economic situations.

“Community banks, traditional bankers in communities across the country, did not engage in the practices that caused the meltdown of our financial system,” says the chairman and CEO of Northwest Indiana Bancorp and Peoples Bank. “That was caused by the practices of unregulated mortgage originators and mortgage brokers.”

The consequence of this upheaval is the deepest, longest-lasting recession in American history, he says.

“This is taking much longer, and we haven’t seen the rapid recovery of other recessions of the past, particularly those of the 1980s, when we emerged stronger,” Bochnowski says, adding that changes will come slowly if current circumstances are any indication.

During his recently-completed tenure as chairman of the government relations committee of the American Bankers Association, Bochnowski had a unique perspective on the recession and how the federal government is handling it.
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Congressman-Elect Rokita elected to House Republican Steering Committee

(Photograph by Robert Wray.)

(Photograph by Robert Wray.)

From the BusINess inbox—The BusINess editors are committed to keeping you informed about the latest news in NWI. Here’s today’s submission from Hoosiers for Rokita:

Earlier this week, Member-elect Todd Rokita was elected by his fellow classmates to represent them on the Republican House Steering Committee. Rokita was selected on the first ballot, which required a candidate to receive over 50% of the votes. Out of a class of approximately 90 Republican Members-elect, Rokita was one of eight who sought the three slots allocated for newly elected members on the Steering Committee.

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Labor Department: Unemployment benefits boost economic activity

Economic activity increases by $2 for every dollar spent on unemployment insurance, according to a study the U.S. Department of Labor released Tuesday.

The federal agency said the multiyear study used economic models to analyze the impact of the unemployment insurance program. The Department of Labor said the benefits at the macroeconomic level and individual families outweigh the payroll costs to employers.

In a summary of the report, benefits to unemployed workers were called an “economic stabilizer” and the payments helped boost gross domestic product by $315 billion from the start of the recession through the second quarter of this year.
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Businesses hope election season’s end will boost fortunes

Michael Griffin, center, clerk-treasurer for the town of Highland, speaks October 20 during the quarterly Times Board of Economists luncheon at Innsbrook Country Club in Merrillville. (Photograph by The Times.)

Michael Griffin, center, clerk-treasurer for the town of Highland, speaks October 20 during the quarterly Times Board of Economists luncheon at Innsbrook Country Club in Merrillville. (Photograph by The Times.)

Northwest Indiana business leaders say the most powerful economic stimulus yet may be just around the corner: the end of the 2010 midterm elections.

“No matter what happens with these elections, at least they will be over with and people will settle down and we’ll have more consumer confidence,” said Bill McCabe, broker/owner at Century 21 Executive Realty in Schererville.

McCabe was one of 16 business leaders at the Times Board of Economists quarterly meeting at Innsbrook Country Club on October 20, all of whom cast a vote for getting the elections over with and getting on with the business of America.
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A strain on public higher education

State funding cuts at a time of increasing enrollments have put a strain on Indiana public higher education, says Teresa Lubbers, Indiana commissioner for higher education.

At the same time, nearly two-thirds of all new jobs today require education and training beyond high school—and Indiana will need to produce at least 10,000 more college degrees each year through 2025 to meet work force needs, she said.

That will require greater efficiencies from the public institutions as well as expanded, flexible options, including more online learning.
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Governor: Region must improve business ’sandbox’ to thrive

Gov. Mitch Daniels fields questions from students Thursday during his visit to the Valparaiso University School of Law. (Photograph by The Times.)

Gov. Mitch Daniels fields questions from students Thursday during his visit to the Valparaiso University School of Law. (Photograph by The Times.)

Gov. Mitch Daniels’ plan for Indiana’s economy has always been to make the state the best “sandbox” for business to play in while increasing the income of everyday Hoosiers.

In the last six years, Daniels has signed into law simplified business sales taxes, easy to understand unemployment and worker compensation insurance programs, and incentives to lure the advanced manufacturing of the future to Indiana today.

It’s beginning to really pay off, Daniels said recently, pointing to more than 25,000 new or retained jobs in Indiana in the past 18 months, even as job growth elsewhere in the United States has stalled.
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‘Humbling’ first day on the job for Copeland

Newly-appointed East Chicago mayor Anthony Copeland opens the door to the administration building on Monday as he makes his way to his office for a meeting. (Photograph by The Times.)

Newly-appointed East Chicago mayor Anthony Copeland opens the door to the administration building on Monday as he makes his way to his office for a meeting. (Photograph by The Times.)

New East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland did not fire any city employees during his first working day on the job Monday, choosing instead to alleviate workers’ fears as his transition team began evaluating the existing municipal apparatus.

“Some folks I visited were already packing. They just knew they were gone,” Copeland said Monday afternoon. “I said to them, ‘Go do your job.’”

Copeland, 54, was sworn in Saturday after a decisive first-round selection by city Democratic precinct committee members to fill out the remaining 14 months in the term of former Mayor George Pabey, convicted last month on federal corruption charges.
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Lake budget balanced with pink slips

Lake County officials plan to eliminate 116 jobs from their payrolls December 3 to balance the 2011 budget.

“This is for real,” Dante Rondelli, the County Council’s finance director, said Wednesday of the austerity moves. He spoke at the final workshop meeting of the seven-member fiscal body that will reassemble today to cast a final vote on next year’s spending goals.

The County Council demanded the cuts to eliminate a looming $9 million deficit created by a state-mandated freeze on increases in the county property tax levy and caps on the highest amount the county can tax individual property owners.
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Group says Indiana government finances in big trouble

A new report says Indiana lawmakers will likely have to consider a tax increase next year to shore up state government’s finances.

The Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute research group said Thursday the state could face a $1.3 billion deficit in the next budget year if the economy doesn’t drastically improve or deeper spending cuts aren’t made.

The institute says that budget hole is likely to play out if revenue grows at a historical 10-year annual average and spending is essentially kept at current levels.

Gov. Mitch Daniels already has cut state spending by hundreds of millions of dollars and there has been little talk among lawmakers of raising taxes.


Hoosiers better off because of fiscal prudence, Daniels says

Gov. Mitch Daniels talks about the financial state of Indiana during a speech Wednesday at the Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce luncheon at VU. (Photograph by The Times.)

Gov. Mitch Daniels talks about the financial state of Indiana during a speech Wednesday at the Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce luncheon at VU. (Photograph by The Times.)

Boosting Hoosiers’ disposable income while creating an environment attractive to business investment has been the aim of the Daniels administration—and it has succeeded at that.

That was Gov. Mitch Daniels’ assessment in an address sponsored by the Greater Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday at Valparaiso University.

The state government has operated lean the past five and a half years so Hoosiers can keep more of their money, he said.

As a result, the state has been able to weather the current recession better than most other states, he said.
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