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Project to identify crucial policy choices for Indiana's future leaders

As Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and the 2011 General Assembly address the issues of today, the Indiana University Public Policy Institute (PPI) is leading a nonpartisan initiative to analyze the issues that will face the state's next legislature and governor beginning in 2013.

Called Policy Choices for Indiana's Future , the project enlists leaders from throughout the state to analyze, prioritize, and develop policy options for candidates and officeholders, their staffs and opinion leaders statewide. The goal is to inform public policy that will benefit the economic health of Indiana citizens and businesses.

Policy Choices will focus on three key areas:

  • Education and workforce
  • Energy and the environment
  • State and local tax policy
Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard

Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard

Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard and Central Indiana Corporate Partnership CEO Mark D. Miles are co-chairing Policy Choices. Shepard and Miles also co-chair the IU Public Policy Institute's advisory board, all members of which are actively engaged in the project. The project is staffed by IU Public Policy Institute researchers, some of whom also serve as faculty for IU's School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

The Public Policy Institute will disseminate its findings early in 2012 via written reports, policy forums, blogs, media briefings, candidate briefings and presentations to interested policy organizations. Some task force research reports may also be produced throughout the project.

Here's an overview of the three Policy Choices commissions.

Education and Workforce

For Indiana to succeed, Hoosiers must succeed economically. Education will play a key role. What policy choices must Indiana make to ensure that Hoosiers obtain high-quality degrees and are able to attract high-paying jobs? How can Indiana best capitalize on emerging market trends to create and retain wealth in the state? How can we narrow the gap between employee skills and employer needs? The Education and Workforce Commission is considering these types of questions.

Co-chairs are Jamie Merisotis, president & CEO, Lumina Foundation; and Susan Brooks, senior vice president for workforce and economic development and general counsel, Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana. Commissioners include Brad Bishop, OrthoWorx; Caterina Blitzer, International School of Indiana; Dan Clark, Indiana's Education Roundtable; Carol D'Amico, Conexus; Craig Hartzer, IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs Executive Education Program; William Plater, IUPUI International Community Development and IU Center on Philanthropy; Ann Royalty, professor of economics; IUPUI; Patrick Shoulders, vice chair, IU Board of Trustees; Tracy Souza, President, The Cummins Foundation; and Michael Twyman, Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust.

Mark Miles

Mark Miles

Energy and the Environment

Energy production and use are critical to Indiana's future. There is growing federal and state discussion about energy independence and reducing dependence on oil. In this context, what natural resources, human resources, and economic assets can Indiana draw upon to address these challenges in a manner that also will benefit the Indiana economy? The Energy and Environment Commission has chosen to focus on four areas: carbon capture and sequestration, second-generation biofuels, energy storage/batteries, and energy efficiency.

Co-chairs are Mark Maassel, president & CEO, Northwest Indiana Forum; and Wallace E. Tyner, James and Lois Ackerman Professor of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University. Commissioners include Jane Ade, Indiana Soybean Alliance and Indiana Corn Marketing Council; Greg Lindsey, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota; Maureen McCann, Purdue University Energy Center; Paul Mitchell, Energy Systems Network; Bowden Quinn, Sierra Club; Darlene Radcliffe, Duke Energy; J.C. Randolph, professor of environmental science and director, IU Center for Research in Energy and the Environment; Ken Richards, associate professor and executive committee member, IU Richard G. Lugar Center for Renewable Energy; Michael Roeder, Vectren Corp.; John Rupp, research scientist, Indiana Geological Survey; Paul Sokol, professor and director, Indiana University Energy Institute; and Kent Yeager, Indiana Farm Bureau Inc.

State and Local Tax Policy

The overall goal of Policy Choices is to increase real wealth for Indiana. The State and Local Tax Policy Commission is addressing policy options that can most effectively attract businesses, increase per-capita income, and provide sustainable means of revenue in volatile economic conditions. The commission has reviewed revenue and spending data, begun a debate about how to maintain service levels in an efficient and effective manner, and will examine how a system of taxes and services can best promote job growth and infrastructure development in Indiana.

Co-chairs are David P. Lewis, vice president, global taxes, Eli Lilly and Company; and Kathy Davis, owner, Davis Design Group, and former Indiana lieutenant governor. Commissioners include Jean Blackwell, Cummins Foundation; David Bennett, Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne; Gretchen Gutman, associate vice president, governmantal relations, Ball State University; Matt Hall, BioCrossroads; Craig Johnson, associate professor, IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs; Michael Norris, Zimmer Holding; Chuck Schalliol, Baker and Daniels; James Steele, Indianapolis-Marion County City-County Council; Bill Waltz, Indiana Chamber of Commerce; and Kurt Zorn, IU professor and associate vice provost for undergraduate education.