Business, Economy and Consumer Affairs

Indiana has agreed to buy Ohio River-front land in Lawrenceburg that could house the state’s fourth port.

The state has been considering using the 725 acres in southeast Indiana as its next port facility for nearly a year.

Now, it’s inked an agreement to purchase the site, pending further study. Gov. Eric Holcomb’s office says the agreement will let port officials “begin studies to examine the economic and environmental viability of the parcel.”

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill announced Friday he will launch an investigation into the recent data breach at credit reporting agency Equifax.

The personal information of nearly 4 million Hoosiers was potentially exposed by the Equifax breach.

Steelworkers from around the country were in D.C. this week to ask Congress to strengthen its support for the domestic steel industry.

Among them was Billy McCall, who’s worked at U.S. Steel’s huge Gary Works mill for more than 20 years.

He and other United Steelworkers union members talked with federal representatives this week about an ongoing trade investigation into the effect of excess Chinese steel imports on national security.

McCall says that’s about not just defense, but infrastructure and people.

Indiana’s business community is waiting to see how federal tax reform plans, set for release next week, might impact their companies and workers.

At a roundtable in Indianapolis on Thursday, business leaders said they want to communicate to their workers and the public that lowering America’s corporate tax rate will be good for more than just executive paychecks.

Indiana manufacturers hope the 2018 legislative session will hone in on workforce and education reforms to help fill jobs.

The state’s top business sector wants lawmakers to realign $1 billion in existing workforce spending and create incentives to attract new workers.

Federal officials have closed a one-time extension for companies that needed more temporary visa workers – landscapers and other non-farm laborers.

Indiana brings in hundreds of these workers a year and makes up about one percent of the program nationwide.

Typically, nearly half of the nation’s H-2B workers are landscapers, and that proportion is even higher in Indiana.

For fiscal year 2017, more than 70 percent of the state’s 1,550 H-2B visa workers were brought on in landscaping jobs.

Indiana-based American Senior Communities is suing its former executives over claims they embezzled millions from the nursing home company in a years-long kickback scheme.

The civil suit follows a major federal money laundering and fraud indictment last fall.

Former American Senior Communities CEO James Burkhart and his COO Daniel Benson were indicted in October 2016 on charges of money laundering and fraud.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jstephenconn/3051019997
J. Stephen Conn

Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton has returned from the state’s economic development trip to Japan, where he visited with executives of two long-time Montgomery County employers.

Barton says city officials have begun trying to get other prospective Japanese investors with whom the mayor had contact to travel to Indiana.

Lake County and East Chicago could have new affordable housing by 2020 as part of a state tax credit program called Moving Forward.

It’s how officials plan to fulfill their promise to help East Chicago residents displaced by lead contamination.

Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority executive director Jake Sipe says Moving Forward tries to rethink affordable housing as about more than just a number of units.

Indiana’s unemployment rate last month took its largest single-month jump in more than eight years.

Four months ago, Indiana’s unemployment rate had its biggest one-month improvement in more than 20 years. That trend is now going the other direction in August, as the state suffered its largest single-month increase in the unemployment rate since March of 2009.

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