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Dave Dugdale / https://www.flickr.com/photos/davedugdale/

The business personal property tax exemption, which lawmakers spent most of the 2014 session debating, recently became available for local governments. But counties so far aren’t taking advantage of the new tool. 

The tax allows counties to collect fees on the property businesses use in their production, everything from computers to boilers.

Governor Mike Pence called it an impediment to job creation and asked the General Assembly to phase it out.

Jim Grey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/mobilene/14738709658

The Indiana State Fair this year is shining a spotlight on the Hoosiers who help put food on the table as part of its “Year of the Farmer.” 

The State Fair’s theme is typically a product or animal – that includes the Year of Corn, of Pigs, Dairy Cows, and Tomatoes.  But State Fair spokesperson Lesley Gordon says this year, the focus will be on what ties all those things together – the farmer.

M Glasgow / https://www.flickr.com/photos/glasgows/

With Indiana's Supreme Court bringing an end to a 10-year legal battle over high-fence hunting preserves, the deer farming industry is stepping in to try to set standards for itself.

Deer and elk farmers have formed the Indiana Deer Advisory Council, to recommend standards for deer treatment and how they are hunted.

Advisory council chairman Gary Jacobson says he believes getting the group’s seal of approval will be valuable enough to preserve owners that they’ll follow whatever rules IDAC sets.

Matthew Hurst / https://www.flickr.com/photos/skewgee/2463077387

Executives with Indianapolis-based Anthem have given their first interviews about the deal that will make the health insurance company the largest in America, following a $54 billion deal to merge with rival company Cigna.

The companies announced the agreement Friday morning, after a year of sometimes-contentious negotiations. The purchase price represents about $34 a share above Connecticut-based Cigna's current value.

Anthem says the merger will allow the combined company to save $2 billion in operating costs while reining in the costs of care.

Flazingo Photos / https://www.flickr.com/photos/124247024@N07/

The Hoosier State’s unemployment rate decreased to 4.9-percent last month, the first time it’s been below 5-percent since February of 2008. 

June marks the fifth consecutive month the rate has declined, and since January of 2013, only one other state – Rhode Island – has decreased its unemployment rate more than Indiana. 

Yet for the first time in four months, the state’s private sector lost jobs, shedding 3,800 people last month. The biggest loss – 3,600 jobs – was in the trade, transportation and utilities sectors. 

Amazon Planning To Add 2,100 More Indiana Jobs

Jul 15, 2015
Scott Lewis / https://www.flickr.com/photos/99781513@N04/16278498935/

The online retailer Amazon is looking to hire more than 2,000 Hoosiers for full-time jobs in its warehouses. Amazon spokeswoman Nina Lindsey says the company will host job fairs across the state to find candidates.

"We’re looking for candidates that are 18 year of age or older, have a high school degree or equivalent, and for many of these job fairs that we’re hosting throughout the area, they just need to bring a proof of education and a form of identification," Lindsey says.

Theo Wright / https://www.flickr.com/photos/theowright/1240357277

More than a year after Indiana lawmakers legalized a so-called cash crop, the coffers are still empty. Legislation that was signed into law in 2014 approved the commercial growth and research of the versatile industrial hemp plant, which is a non-intoxicating form of cannabis. But, lack of federal approval has stalled the state from moving forward.

Jamie Petty, the founder of the Indiana Hemp Industries Association (INHIA), says the plant could be a boon for Indiana agriculture and manufacturing.

City of West Lafayette

Three groups of companies have signified their interest in working on the redesign of West Lafayette’s State Street.

Two groups include companies with a presence in Greater Lafayette. The Plenary Roads State Street team includes Rieth-Riley Construction and the Walsh Gateway Partners team includes Milestone Contractors.

Appeals Court Rules Indy Smoking Ban Unconstitutional

Jun 25, 2015
Brandon Van Keuren / https://www.flickr.com/photos/in-7hi5-7wi1igh7/

The state Court of Appeals says part of Indianapolis‘s smoking ban is unconstitutional. A unanimous three-judge panel ruled the city could not ban smoking at bars and restaurants and at the same time exempt the Winner‘s Circle off-track betting facility, which has a bar and restaurant.

The reasoning was virtually the same as last year‘s ruling from the state Supreme Court that struck down Evansville’s smoking ban, since its only exemption was for the city‘s riverboat casino.

Central Indiana Leads Country In Gas Price Declines

Jun 23, 2015
Brian Herzog / https://www.flickr.com/photos/herzogbr/

Central Indiana may have been the best place in the country to find gas savings last week.

Gas prices rocketed to almost $3.00 a gallon in the beginning of the week, but dropped as much as 27 cents in parts of the state.

Kokomo had the largest price drop in gas in the nation, and Indianapolis had the eight-largest decrease, according to Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.com

Prices initially rose because of offline refineries in the Midwest but DeHaan says those refineries are now up-and-running again.

Indiana Farm Bureau

After 14 years of service, Don Villwock will retire from his position as president of the Indiana Farm Bureau later this year.

"We have good potential successors that are going to run for my slot," Villwock says. "And we’ll have an election at our annual meeting on the seventeenth of November, so those folks will be out campaigning with our members."

Villwock says the Farm Bureau faces different issues now than it has before, and that makes this a good time to look for new ideas and leadership.

courtesy Purdue University

The Purdue Research Foundation currently makes around $7 million per year from licenses on patents owned by Purdue staff and students.

For 2014, the school placed sixteenth on a list of all universities worldwide in terms of number of patents filed – a list PRF leaders didn’t even know existed until they were told Purdue was on it.

But as officials expand their patent protections, they say they’re not looking for the next Google on which the school can strike it rich.

Andrew Bossi / https://www.flickr.com/photos/thisisbossi/

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are taking a hard look at federal lending. Specifically, lawmakers are reviewing whether to change and update current accounting rules.

Joint Economic Committee Chairman and Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN) says loans made or guaranteed by the federal government totaled $2.9 trillion through September of last year. That figure includes $1.1 trillion in student loans. Non-mortgage consumer debt totaled $3.3 trillion.

New Label For Hoosier Foods Next Month

Jun 12, 2015
Indiana Grown

Indiana‘s branding effort for homegrown foods is gearing up for a rollout next month. Products made entirely with Indiana ingredients will incorporate a "100-percent Indiana Grown" logo into their labels, or on separately affixed stickers.

Indiana Economic Development Corporation

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation took out a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal today Wednesday criticizing Connecticut’s $1.5 billion dollar corporate tax increase and touting Indiana’s business-friendly policies.

The ad that was placed in the Connecticut, New Jersey and New York versions of the Wall Street journal bears this message: “Friends don’t let friends pay higher taxes.”

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