INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The chairman of the State Budget Committee says the state’s revenue forecast for the next two years is “moderately positive” despite predictions that Indiana will have $129 million less to work with in 2015.
Republican Sen. Luke Kenley says he is cautiously optimistic after receiving a report Thursday that projected revenue growth of 2.4 percent in fiscal 2016 and 3.2 percent the following year.
The forecast calls for sales tax revenues to increase by $13.8 million for the current year, or 4.8 percent, then grow 4.1 percent and 4.7 percent the next two years. The forecast also projects gaming revenue will drop below 2003 levels.
Gov. Mike Pence says the numbers are encouraging but that his administration will use caution as it finalizes its budget recommendations.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Indiana officials say a heavy equipment parts maker in Plymouth plans to create 475 jobs by 2017 and 15 other companies have pledged to create nearly 1,700 other jobs over the next decade in return for more than $19 million in tax credits and other incentives.
The Indiana Economic Development Corp. said Thursday that AMI Industries Inc. plans to create 250 jobs next year and 225 more by 2017 while investing $8.5 million to equip and improve production equipment for farm and automotive components. The state will provide up to $2.3 million in tax credits and $300,000 in training grants.
Indiana House Minority Leader Scott Pelath (PEE’-lath) expressed skepticism that all of the jobs will materialize. He says Indiana’s average household income fell 12 percent from 2002 to 2013.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Indiana’s state health agency has won a $1.4 million federal grant to help it conduct an in-depth analysis of the factors behind homicides and suicides in the state.
The five-year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will allow the State Department of Health to gather critical data on Indiana’s violent deaths using the National Violent Death Reporting System.
That online system helps state and local officials understand when and how violent deaths occur by linking data from law enforcement, coroners and medical examiners, vital statistics and crime laboratories.
Indiana had 1,456 violent deaths in 2012, of which nearly 64 percent were suicides and 23 percent were homicides.
State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams says that “to stop violent deaths, we must first understand all the facts.”
PETERSBURG, Ind. (AP)- The city of Petersburg has yet another new mayor.
Over the weekend, a Republican caucus selected R.C. Klipsch as the next mayor. He becomes the 3rd mayor of Petersburg since the beginning of last year.
On Jan. 1, he will take over for Frank Coleman Jr. Coleman, a retired Indiana State Police trooper, announced he was stepping down as mayor earlier this month.
The man who won his third term in the 2011 election, Jon Craig, resigned early in 2013 to become the deputy director of Indiana’s Office of Community and Rural Affairs. Coleman was tabbed as Craig’s replacement in February of that year.
Klipsch has worked in the mayor’s office under both Craig and Coleman as the city code inspector.
VINCENNES, Ind. (AP) – Five southern Indiana counties have formed a coalition to try to secure money to clean up abandoned and oftentimes contaminated commercial and industrial sites.
The Vincennes Sun-Commercial reports (http://bit.ly/1x7uT8i ) Knox, Daviess, Greene, Lawrence and Martin counties are working with the Southern Indiana Development Commission in Loogootee in applying for a $600,000 brownfield grant from the Environmental Protection Agency.
The money would be used to identify brownfield sites, abandoned properties that could pose an environmental threat because of previous manufacturing or storage practices, and work to develop plans to get them cleaned up.
If the grant is awarded, the commission would establish a committee aimed at compiling a list of potential sites and prioritizing them for assessment.
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture is encouraging farmers in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan to see if they can get financial and technical help for reducing fertilizer runoff from their fields.
The department says farmer in Indiana and Michigan will have until next Friday to sign up. The deadline in Ohio is Jan. 16.
Cutting down fertilizer runoff has become a big priority since algae on Lake Erie fouled the water supply in the Toledo area this past August.
Nutrients from the runoff are one of the contributors to the algae problem on the lake.
The money from the department’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program can help farmers add buffer strips and cover crops or improve their drainage and improve water quality.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP)- A beetle that kills ash trees has been found for the first time in six southern Indiana counties as the pest continues its march across the state.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources said Friday the emerald ash borer has been detected in Jennings, Pike, Scott, Spencer, Sullivan and Warrick counties.
That means the pest has now been detected in 79 of Indiana’s 92 counties.
The agency says the new ash borer detections raise questions about the effectiveness of quarantines on wood from ash trees. The DNR says a decision will be announced next year on whether those quarantines will continue.
The beetle that’s native to Asia has killed about 50 million ash trees in the Upper Midwest since arriving in the U.S. more than a decade ago.