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Setting job creation standards hits snag

Bill calls for data to back up promises

– An attempt to require more accurate reports on job creation in the state was diluted before it was passed out of a Senate committee Tuesday.

Former Gov. Mitch Daniels and the Indiana Economic Development Corp. have touted huge numbers of jobs created in the state the past eight years. But several media outlets have delved deeper into those numbers and determined that many of those jobs haven’t come to fruition despite initial long-range promises from companies.

Specifically, only 48,000 – or 28 percent of the jobs promised – have materialized so far. An additional 15,000 have not panned out.

The rest – more than 100,000 projected jobs – are promised in the next few years.

And the IEDC has balked at detailing how specific companies are doing on meeting their job creation and capital investment promises.

Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, filed Senate Bill 162 to increase transparency at the agency. The most significant part of the bill would require companies that receive tax incentives to file an annual form updating the state on investment and jobs created.

“If companies are seeking a tax break, they have a responsibility to show us our return on investment,” he said. “Trust but verify.”

Eric Doden, new president of the IEDC, told the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee that Gov. Mike Pence is committed to increasing transparency in the agency. But Doden said that when he ran a business, the number of people a company employed was considered a trade secret.

“We don’t want to do anything that we believe will put at risk our ability to attract, grow and have jobs in Indiana,” Doden said.

He also said the IEDC does not give out incentives until after jobs are created.

Several senators expressed concern that the bill would provide a competitive advantage for other states or that it would be a burden for companies to comply with.

The committee amended the bill to focus on the IEDC’s reporting of aggregate data involving jobs and investment. It passed unanimously and now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

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