Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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March 29, 2012

Informed discussion today means better decisions tomorrow

Join the conversation on state’s challenges and opportunities

A key challenge for any leader is to strike the right balance between addressing immediate needs and those of the future. These days, that challenge is made more difficult by a political landscape that highlights partisan rhetoric and devalues long-term thinking and thoughtful debate.

Fortunately, some Indiana leaders are willing to buck this trend. For 18 months, more than 50 of those leaders — from the business, government, academic and nonprofit worlds, and from across the political spectrum — spent time studying issues integral to Indiana’s economic future. Working with the Indiana University Public Policy Institute (PPI), those leaders gathered research, discussed challenges and opportunities, and developed a list of some of the choices Indiana will face in the 21st century.

This month, those leaders and PPI unveiled the results of their work within three in-depth reports designed to spark conversation among elected officials and candidates for state office. As co-chairs of the PPI’s Board of Advisers, we hope the “Policy Choices for Indiana’s Future” reports will drive visionary planning.

Of course, such efforts could address a wide range of issues — from homeland security to arts and culture, and from pre-school education to eldercare. However, as we developed the Policy Choices initiative, we recognized a need to focus, so we turned our gaze to three areas we believe will have a strong impact on our state’s economy: education and workforce; energy and the environment; and tax policy.

As the commissions reviewing these areas began their work, they first considered our challenges. For example, battered by a difficult economy, in the first 10 years of the 21st century Hoosiers’ per capita income experienced its first decline in many decades, putting us behind Midwestern neighbors. In 2010, Indiana’s per capita personal income was only 85.2 percent of the national average, compared to 90.6 percent in 2000 and 92.7 percent in 1980.

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  • Hicks: Measuring the unmeasurable

    One aspect of economic research I think is especially powerful is the ability to measure or monetize the things that humans clearly value but for which a market price is not necessarily apparent. This is one of the aspects of economic analysis that gives it such dominance over other social sciences.

    April 17, 2014

  • Rob Burgess House of Burgess: Bush presents 'The Art of Leadership'

    On April 5, “The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy,” opened at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum on the campus of Southern Methodist University. The display, which runs through June 3, boasts “portraits of more than two dozen world leaders” painted by Bush, according to the official literature.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bohanon: ‘Economics is fun’ in Vegas or in Bible study

    I am writing this on an airplane to Las Vegas. I’ll be attending the annual conference of the Association of Private Enterprise Education along with two of my colleagues and six of my students.

    April 16, 2014

  • Hayden: Want better teacher ratings? Ask the kids

    The state may be back where it started, encumbered with a flawed teacher grading system, a year after implementing what were meant to be tough new standards.
    That was the general consensus of the State Board of Education days after teacher evaluation data were released last week.

    April 15, 2014

  • BRIAN HOWEY: Mike Pence for president in 2016? Stay tuned Mike Pence for president? The swirl of 2016 national ticket talk surrounding Gov. Pence intensified over the past few weeks. I sat down with the governor in his office on Tuesday to find out what he's really thinking. A few hours prior, the Weekly S

    April 14, 2014

  • DICK WOLFSIE: Such a thing as too much My wife and I went on a binge last week. If you think I'm talking about an eating binge, you've never seen how thin we both are. If you think I mean a shopping binge, you don't know how cheap we are. And if you think it was a cleaning binge, you've n

    April 14, 2014

  • ED VASICEK: Chewing over news in bite-size vignettes Today, I am going to share a few "opinionettes" about current news items. Ready? Let's go! City prosperity The unemployment rate in the United States is down to 6.7 percent. This is its lowest level since October 2008. When I remember government effo

    April 13, 2014

  • MICHAEL HICKS: Finding measure of value One aspect of economic research I think is especially powerful is the ability to measure or monetize the things humans clearly value but for which a market price is not necessarily apparent. This is one of the aspects of economic analysis that gives

    April 13, 2014

  • PUBLIC EYE: Right across the county line

    Grant County has wind problems, and as an editor recently and quite rightly noted, “Wind doesn’t care about county lines.”

    So Grant County’s issues over a proposed E.ON Climate & Renewables wind farm are becoming Howard County’s issues as well.

    April 13, 2014

  • RAY DAY: My wife and life, Ramona Today, I will tell you a story about my soul mate and wife, who has been with me for more than 57 years now. Time has gone by so quickly, it only seems like yesterday when we met. Her name is Ramona; I call her Moni for short. Her friends call her Ra

    April 12, 2014

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