IU Public Policy Institute unveils "Policy Choices for Indiana's Future"

February 17, 2012

Research and practical choices for enhancing the state’s economy

INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 17, 2012) — The Indiana University Public Policy Institute – a part of IU’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs – is releasing today the results of an 18 month research initiative called Policy Choices for Indiana’s Future (http://www.policyinstitute.iu.edu/PolicyChoices/).

Chaired by Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randall Shepard and co-chaired by Central Indiana Corporate Partnership CEO Mark Miles, Policy Choices aims to start conversations among candidates for state office and other Indiana leaders about issues that will affect Indiana’s economy over the long haul.

The objective, nonpartisan policy options were researched, analyzed and prepared by over 50 volunteer leaders and experts from throughout the state, and covered three broad areas: education and workforce; energy and the environment; and tax policy.

Among the policy options for state leaders to consider:

• Expand accelerated degree and credentialing programs to ensure more workers are prepared for good paying, high-demand jobs.
• Consider how to reduce the state sales tax rate by broadening the sales tax base on a revenue-neutral basis to include more services.
• Make traditional and specialized economic development incentives available to firms locating new advanced biofuels facilities in Indiana.
• Continue to advocate local government reform and consolidation as a means of improving delivery of government services with maximum efficiency, transparency and accountability.
• Integrate the final year of high school with the initial year of postsecondary education for students who demonstrate career and college readiness, and provide appropriate remediation for those who do not.
• Support research to develop new technologies associated with manufacturing electric vehicles and batteries in Indiana.
• Create a statewide skills bank to connect employers with the skilled workers they require.
• Develop a state plan for water, energy, information and transit infrastructure.
• Make Indiana’s Clean Energy Portfolio Standard mandatory.
• Develop a regulatory framework for carbon dioxide pipelines.

The collective aim of the policy options, said Shepard, is economic improvement – for individuals as well as organizations.

“Everything we do or hope to do depends on the future of our state’s economy,” said Shepard. “All the recommendations in the Policy Choices report are designed to make our economy stronger and make our state’s residents happier, healthier and wealthier.”

Miles said the next step is to share the recommendations with policymakers.

“When you’re in office, or running for office, it’s sometimes difficult to focus on the long term,” Miles said. “It also can be difficult to find objective, nonpartisan research to inform your decisions. The investments of time and brainpower made by these experts and the IU Public Policy Institute equip officeholders and candidates to make our state an even better place to live and work.”

The IU Public Policy Institute is a collaborative, multidisciplinary research institute within the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs. The Institute serves as an umbrella organization for research centers affiliated with SPEA, including the Center for Urban Policy and the Environment and the Center for Criminal Justice Research. The Institute also supports the Indiana Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations.