Saturday, September 18th, 2021

Indiana CEO survey

Posted: Thursday, June 16, 2011

By Mitch Roob, CEO of Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC)

The 2011 Indiana CEO Survey provides valuable insight into the attitudes and perspectives of business leaders who make the decisions that drive Indiana’s economic prosperity.

Thank you to the participants and organizers of this survey who have provided Hoosiers from all sectors with a more comprehensive picture of Indiana’s business climate.

The results of this survey reinforce many things we already know: Indiana is a low-cost, business-friendly place for companies to conduct business and it’s getting better. In fact, Indiana’s economic recovery has been among the strongest in the country. Just last week, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released figures showing that Indiana’s Gross Domestic Product grew 4.6 percent in 2010, compared to the national rate of 2.6 percent. That’s the third highest growth rate in the country and is head and shoulders above our neighboring states.

Companies also have good news on the horizon. Following this year’s legislative session, Governor Mitch Daniels signed into law a reduction of Indiana’s corporate income tax rate from 8.5 percent to 6.5 percent, a nearly 25 percent decrease. This further distinguishes Indiana’s business climate from other Midwestern states and provides a welcoming landscape for companies large and small to grow and hire Hoosiers.

During the global recession, Indiana has remained fiscally sound and has many advantages of which Hoosiers can be proud. The CEO survey noted strengths that set us apart such as a low cost of living, culture of innovation, tremendous transportation infrastructure and a skilled workforce. All of these assets make us attractive for acquiring new investment and supporting the growth of companies who already call the Hoosier State home. Governor Daniels and the General Assembly have worked relentlessly to foster this welcoming business climate and their efforts have paid off as survey participants indicated that there will be more hiring and fewer layoffs this year.

The survey results also reveal that Indiana universities, colleges and vocational programs are preparing their graduates with the next generation skills companies demand. Our higher education programs are equipping students with the manufacturing, engineering and bio-tech knowledge needed to satisfy various industry needs. Furthermore, the survey shows that the state’s information technology professionals understand complex technology protocols and practices. This is welcoming news for our burgeoning sector of high-tech employers and promises more of them will make their homes in Indiana.

While this survey confirms that Indiana’s corporate climate is consistently strong in overall business opportunities, economic advantages and natural resources compared to neighboring states, a noticeable weakness that CEOs have consistently pointed out since 2007 is our disadvantage in terms of providing quality public education for Hoosier children.

This weakness echoes what Governor Daniels’ administration has been advocating for years. Since 2006, the Governor has pushed to enact revolutionary reforms to improve our education systems and thus our students’ life prospects. Yet, it is not just our students’ futures and tomorrow’s jobs that are at stake; the quality of our education systems matters right now. School systems are very important to the families of workers in all communities. Corporate executives look to locate in areas where their employees’ children will receive first-rate educational opportunities.

As Governor Mitch Daniels said in January, “When we are courting a new business, right behind taxes, the cost of energy, reasonable regulation, and transportation facilities comes schools. ‘What kind of school will my children and our workers’ children attend?’ is a question we’re always asked.” Dramatic education system improvements will give our state an improved edge in attracting top tier companies which means new investment and more opportunities for Hoosiers. As parents and members of the business community, we need to do our part in the critical task of educating children and ensuring their future prosperity.

Indiana continues to have a sound stat sheet and it’s easy to see why more and more corporate leaders are recognizing Indiana’s business-friendly culture. Under the leadership of Governor Daniels, Indiana is poised to continue to receive positive reviews from CEOs who understand the strength and value of the Hoosier business climate.