Annie Ropeik

IPBS Economy Reporter

Annie Ropeik is the economy and business reporter for the Indiana Public Broadcasting network, based at WBAA. She’s covered farming, fisheries and other industries at public radio stations from Massachusetts and Delaware to Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, and earned accolades from the Alaska and Delaware Press Clubs for her reporting on rural business issues. Originally from Silver Spring, Md., Annie has a Hoosier mother and a degree in classics from Boston University. She also performs a mean car concert, boasts a worryingly encyclopedic knowledge of One Direction lyrics and is a Hufflepuff.

An Indiana consumer advocacy group is suing over access to public records that could shed light on how the Carrier company reached a deal with the state and President Donald Trump late last year.

About 45 tax and fee increases take effect in Indiana July 1, the start of the new fiscal year.

Most of the tax and fee hikes the legislature passed this year are pretty routine, says John Ketzenberger, president of the Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute. The exceptions are tied to road funding – chiefly, a 10 cent-per-gallon gas tax hike.

“Gosh,” says Ketzenberger, “It’d been almost 20 years since we raised the fuel taxes, so it is unusual, and we talked about it for a couple of years before we did it.”

Gov. Eric Holcomb says a range of state agencies will no longer ask job applicants if they have been arrested or convicted of a crime.

The executive order, issued Thursday, aims to give Hoosiers with criminal records more chances to become state employees.

Right now, applicants for state job openings have to self-report any criminal history.

Holcomb’s order says this can make it hard for people with records to “have productive lives because of the stigma of their past.”

Uneven, wet weather is complicating the growing season for Indiana farmers.

There’s much more cash cropland this week that has too much moisture in its soil than at this time last year, according to the USDA’s latest crop progress report.

And the federal agency says the current condition of Indiana’s corn and soybeans isn’t as good as it was a year ago.

Indianapolis-based Anthem will look to settle a class-action suit over a massive 2015 data breach at the giant health insurance company.

It would be the largest-ever settlement in a data breach case if approved. That’s according to attorneys for the victims in the case.

Federal housing officials will hold a public hearing Monday night on plans to tear down a lead-contaminated public housing complex in East Chicago. The demolition plan got federal environmental approval last month, but residents want a chance to raise concerns.

Residents from the West Calumet Housing Complex area wrote to the Department of Housing and Urban Development this month. They asked for a public hearing and more time to comment on the demolition plan.

Indiana’s ports system hopes a new contractor will help bring more bulk cargo than ever into Burns Harbor on Lake Michigan.

Metro Ports is a stevedoring company. It helps manage how cargo gets off- and on-loaded and distributed at 27 ports in 10 states, including huge facilities at Long Beach, California and Seattle-Tacoma, Washington.

Burns Harbor will be the company’s first Great Lakes operation when it takes over the bulk cargo terminal next month.

Rolls-Royce and the state are chipping in to expand Purdue University’s work on making small gas-powered turbine engines more efficient.

The company already opened one big facility at Purdue this year. Now, it’s investing another $10 million into two new wind tunnels at Purdue’s turbine research lab.

Mechanical engineering professor Guillermo Paniagua leads the research there. He explains what gas turbine engines do.

Indiana corn growers hope a deal on sugar trade between the U.S. and Mexico will protect their stake in the high-fructose corn syrup industry.

Mexico could slap new tariffs on imports of the syrup if the deal isn’t finalized, and the effects of that tariff could trickle down to farmers.

About a third of all high-fructose corn syrup produced in the U.S. goes to Mexico, and it includes a lot of Hoosier corn. As much as 5-10 percent of Indiana’s corn crop goes to factories that produce the syrup, such as Tate & Lyle in Lafayette.

The $130 billion merger between Dow and DuPont received conditional federal approval Thursday.

The companies still have to address areas where the Department of Justice says they’ll have too big a market share, but those aren’t the areas that have Indiana farmers worried.

In approving the merger, the DOJ says Dow and DuPont have to relinquish control of a few assets – a chemical plant in Texas for Dow, and two of DuPont’s insecticide and herbicide brands.

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