business

Noah Coffey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/noahwesley/

Indiana will begin registering businesses as “benefit corporations,” which gives companies the flexibility to be socially conscious while still making money. The new designation is meant to bridge the gap between for-profit and non-profit companies.

Secretary of State Connie Lawson says the benefit corporation designation protects companies against shareholder lawsuits when profits aren’t maximized at the expense of a social mission.  She notes it’s a popular concept with millennials, a group she says will make up 75 percent of the workforce in the next decade.

TheUglySweaterShop.com / https://www.flickr.com/photos/54115831@N07/

Back in Billy Brand’s early days in the restaurant business, he and his coworkers would take bets on how many Christmas sweaters they’d see in a given night. Now, he’s throwing his own ugly sweater parties. He says it’s a way for young people far from home to create a corny family tradition of their own.

"Friendship groups want to have a sense of family within themselves," he says, "So this become an odd, not quite mockery of that, but an acceptance and inclusion of it."

Holy Meatballs! IKEA Coming To Indiana

Nov 10, 2015
IKEA

Hoosiers should start fishing out their allen wrenches from the back of the junk drawer…because Indiana is getting its own IKEA.  Indiana residents have had to trek north to Chicago or east to Cincinnati to buy a bed with an difficult-to-pronounce name and enjoy the chain's signature Swedish meatballs, but in two years they’ll be able to visit the Scandinavian furniture behemoth’s new location in Fishers.

IKEA Spokesman Reed Lyons says they chose Fishers because they needed a large plot of land in an area that would draw customers statewide.

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

Significant tax relief for Hoosier employers could be on the horizon if the state’s revenues do well the next few months.

Indiana took out a more than $2 billion loan from the federal government at the height of the recession to pay unemployment benefits.  It’s been paying it back ever since. 

And as long as the state owes money on the loan, employers have to pay a penalty. 

This year, that penalty is $105 per employee; next year, it rises to $126. 

Indiana Economic Development Corporation

A group of nearly 20 lawyers and judges will convene this summer to establish parameters for a new type of court in Indiana. The state already has specialty courts that try drug cases or those involving veterans – but most of those are criminal cases.

The newest courts will hear complex civil cases brought between businesses. Commercial courts exist in almost two dozen other states and help to clear cases which would otherwise bog down a docket. They’re designed to be “business friendly” – but what that means for a state is a bit of a gray area.

U.S. Senate / http://www.coats.senate.gov/

Indiana Senator Dan Coats predicts the Senate will approve fast-track trade authority this week for a Pacific Rim trade deal, but says getting there may be a tough slog.  Several Democrats are defying President Obama to try to block fast-track, which would allow the administration to begin final negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and let the eventual deal come to the floor without amendments.

David Lofink / https://www.flickr.com/photos/lofink/4344960203

29-percent of Hoosiers live in places with local ordinances protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination. And that proportion could grow in the wake of last week‘s religious freedom controversy.

Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard blasted the now-revised religious objections law as "ridiculous." Carmel already has an executive order prohibiting discrimination against gays and lesbians in city hiring -- Brainard says he‘ll send the city council an ordinance to add sexual orientation to local civil rights laws.

Fishers Passes Anti-RFRA Resolution

Apr 1, 2015
Kristina Frazier-Henry / https://www.flickr.com/photos/kristinafh/2939619557

Fishers is the latest Indiana city to distance itself from the Indiana’s so-called "religious freedom" law.

Fishers‘ all-Republican city council has unanimously approved a resolution drafted by Mayor Scott Fadness affirming the city‘s commitment to diversity as the lifeblood of the entrepreneurial community it‘s seeking to promote.

Council president Pete Peterson says the war over the Religious Freedom Restoration Act threatens to hit cities in the pocketbook.

Marc Benioff / Twitter / https://twitter.com/Benioff/status/581108959337136129

As Governor Mike Pence signed the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law Thursday, he blamed the media for what he calls a misunderstanding of the law. 

RFRA establishes a judicial test that courts will use to decide when the government can infringe on a person’s religious beliefs and practices.  Many groups say they’re concerned it will be used to sanction discrimination, particularly against LGBT Hoosiers.  But Pence says if he thought the law, which exists at the federal level and in 30 other states, was discriminatory, he would have vetoed it.

Senate, House Sparring Over 'Double Direct' Tax

Mar 18, 2015
Dave Dugdale / https://www.flickr.com/photos/davedugdale/

Legislators are taking another stab at streamlining the so-called "double direct" tax exemption for business.

Farms and manufacturers don‘t owe sales tax on equipment if it‘s directly used in production. The difficulty in interpreting that test prompted Governor Pence to make it a key element of his tax simplification bill.

But the House deleted the simplifications after analysts reported they would cost the state a quarter-billion dollars a year.

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