INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A new study declares Indiana's business-recruitment
agency is effective even though the researcher noted he didn't review how
many jobs were actually created by companies receiving state assistance.
The study looked at various services the Indiana Economic Development
Corp. offers to companies, including reviews of how much state money was
spent on services, such as workforce preparation and tourism, and the
geographic distribution of economic projects, Michael Hicks, director of
Ball State's Center for Business and Economic Research, told The
Hicks said the $85,000 study wasn't intended as a job-creation audit and
pointed out companies can only collect state tax credits based on hiring
"I don't know that 90 percent of those, or 105 percent of those, or 65
percent of those actually show up," Hicks said. "I'm not sure what that
says. And the reason is, the incentive structure in Indiana doesn't really
provide the incentive to lie, to mislead about that."
The quasi-governmental development agency has been criticized for not
requiring companies that receive tax incentives to disclose how many jobs
they've created. The Republican-controlled General Assembly this year
turned aside a proposal that would have required each company receiving
state incentives to submit annual public reports on hiring and
Development agency spokeswoman Katelyn Hancock called the Ball State study
"a managerial review of the organization overall" and not an analysis on
the effectiveness of its tax incentives.
Some critics questioned the value of the study.
"I don't think that a study that is based on press releases tells the
story," said Morton Marcus, retired director of Indiana University's
Indiana Business Research Council. "If you don't have a decent audit of
the IEDC, you can't tell what they're doing."
The development agency uses an independent auditing firm to produce a
"jobs realization" report, which says Indiana saw 78,403 new jobs in 2012,
or almost 92 percent of the total new jobs anticipated through IEDC
But the agency has declined to detail how many people have been hired at
each company that receives tax incentives, compared to how many jobs were
The Ball State report also praises the IEDC for being "one of only two
states with clear mission statements" and for fully implementing a
public-private partnership structure. The Indiana agency has about 65
employees, compared to several hundred in the economic-development
agencies in Ohio, Michigan and other states, Hicks said.