Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Business

November 8, 2013

Online data elevates economic efforts

(Continued)

Employees of the state agency work to engage companies involved in a location analysis to determine where to grow their businesses; assist healthy, growing companies in need of additional space; help companies with excess capacity considering consolidation projects; and aid in attracting and expanding firms.

New this year is an online Transparency Portal “to manage taxpayer dollars with integrity” on the bottom right of the iedc.in.gov home page. Click on IEDC Transparency Portal, then Tax Credits, Grants & Loan Contracts, and a county and enter a company’s name. It shows Honda Manufacuring of Indiana, Greensburg, has been given $7.73 million of $23 million in the Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) tax credit program and has added 2,064 jobs by 2012 to comply with its contract. More recently, Uni-Ref, Brookville, inked an EDGE contract with IEDC May 30 for $500,000 to add 50 jobs. So far, 10 have been hired and no tax credits have been given.

The Purdue University graduate noted, “Eighty percent of our business comes from existing businesses already here.” Suppliers and customers want to be near large industries. After responding to 641 leads in 2011 and 723 in 2012, IEDC workers have answered just 217 inquiries so far in 2013. Lane admitted, “It’s down a lot this year. What we’re noticing is smaller deals,” such as companies with 60 employees.

In 2012 IEDC officials helped conduct 212 site searches. The director said, “We’re starting to see more Japanese companies interested in Indiana because of the tsunamis and floods (in Japan). They can’t afford for those parts not to get to Honda in Greensburg.” According to Lane, “Lot of leads” want 600,000-square-foot buildings. He advised, “We do not tell clients where to look… we give them all the scenarios .... We don’t pit communities against communities.”

ZoomProspector within the IEDC site must be updated by the local economic development director. Lane is dismayed when leaders at the city and county level fail to post possible commercial acreage and buildings. “If your sites aren’t on here …, people don’t know where you’re at.”

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