Bill requiring more IEDC transparency heads to passage
Friday, March 01, 2013 10:00 AM
Madison appears to be on track toward shining some light on the workings of the county's Economic Development Partners. Now, the Indiana House will consider a bill requiring the Indiana Economic Development Corp. to be more transparent about incentives it gives companies.
Senate Bill 162 was one of several bills sent to the Indiana House on Tuesday, which was the last day the Senate's bills could "cross over" to its sister chamber.
The transparency bill was authored by Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, and co-authored by Sen. Jim Banks, R-Columbia City.
The legislators stated the goal of the bill simply:
"...When public funds are involved there should be more transparency," Banks said.
The bill addresses transparency at the state level only. The bill does not address transparency requirements for local economic development groups that may receive public money to provide incentives.
The IEDC has been criticized for its lack of transparency over how many jobs were actually created from its incentives.
Banks said the issue was one of the most important taken up by the Senate and called the 49-1 vote a sign of "broad support for transparency." The bill picked up four Republicans and four Democrats as authors or co-authors and received support from Gov. Mike Pence and the IEDC's new leadership.
It requires that IEDC incentive agreements be made available after deals are executed and annual reports include updates on actual jobs created as reviewed by an independent auditor.
Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle, said the bill struck a balance between disclosure and keeping the state "competitive."
And, really, isn't that what we all want? If taxpayer dollars are involved, we have a right to know how that money is being spent. But none of us wants to go so far as to put our state and counties at a disadvantage when it comes to recruiting and maintaining businesses.