Morris: Jobs plan will foster economic growth, income for families

Jack Morris for State Senate campaign sign.

Press release from the Jack Morris for State Senate campaign:

Jobs plan will foster economic growth, income for families
Proposal focuses on entrepreneurial ventures, small business employment

(October 11, 2010) – Indiana Senate Democrat District 15 Jack Morris announced his support today for a package of legislative proposals targeted at growth in Indiana’s new economy through small businesses and entrepreneurial ventures. Morris says he endorses the packages released today by Senate Democrats because it emphasizes job creation that will increase Indiana workers’ income, benefiting families and communities.

A recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis indicated that Indiana continues to lag behind other states in personal income growth. In fact, Hoosiers have experienced a negative average quarterly growth rate over the past two years when he adjusted for inflation, with earnings falling 3.5 percent.

The proposals require no new state funding or new taxes, factors that Morris says are critical given the state’s limited resources. Instead, the plan calls for a redirection of resources from ineffective programs to those that better serve Indiana’s employers and workers.

Included in the “Real Ideas, Real Jobs: proposal announced by Senate Democrats:

Fast Track for Small Business: A “Small Business Concierge Team” to provide one-stop services for Indiana start-up businesses looking to expand. The team of specialists from various state agencies would be dedicated to assisting small businesses by fast tracking applications for state licensing and regulatory approval, as well as helping to identify capital and other growth resources. Critical to this service is that the state helps entrepreneurs become “capital-ready” by connecting them with regional networks, universities, Certified Technological Parks, and small business incubators that offer management training and low cost facilities.

Improve Access to Capital: Indiana scores poorly in small businesses’ ability to access capital, a critical factor for a state’s economic performance. Recent reports on Indiana’s ability to provide an attractive business environment indicate not only that the state ranks in the bottom half of states on access to capital, but that the state has lost ground over the last decade. The plan calls for a revision of the defunct Capital Access Fund to provide low-interest loans to Indiana’s businesses. Funded through dollars redirected from failing economic incentives, the program would operate as a revolving loan fund for start-up and expansion costs. Management of the program would be moved from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), where it has languished unused, to the Indiana Finance Authority, which manages other state revolving funds.

New Hire Tax Credit: Providing Indiana’s small businesses the same benefit now available to corporations, this plan would increase access to a new hiring incentive created earlier this year. The program approved under Senate Enrolled Act 23 provides a tax credit for 10 percent of the wages paid to qualified new hires during a two-year period, lowering an employers labor costs for those new employees. Our plan removes an existing requirement that a business hire at least 10 employees to qualify for a tax credit.

Review and Reinvest State Dollars-Beginning with Job Creation Incentives: Senate Democrats want to re-establish the Sunset Evaluation Committee to annually review state programs and suggest potential cuts for ineffective programs, beginning with a focus on halting IEDC job incentives that fail, and reinvesting in those that work. This committee would ensure that our limited state dollars are directed at the most effective programs benefiting job creation and income generation.

Preference in State Contracts to Companies that use Indiana Labor and Indiana Materials: Taxpayer money spent on state contracts should help put Hoosiers to work, not provide profit to out-of state companies. By requiring state contracts to contain a guarantee that at least 80 percent of the people working on those contracts will be Indiana residents, we can make the most of state projects by reinvesting in Indiana business and workers. The requirement would also be applied to professional services contracts that are not competitively bid, such as consultants hired by state agencies. Additionally, the proposal would mandate that any state contract bid selection process give preference to a company when the principle office is located within the state. Current administrative practice allows the director of a project to take into account the distance to the principle office fro the job site, but does not require that the office be located in Indiana. This means an office may only be 15 miles away from the project site, but over the state line.

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