(INDIANAPOLIS) — The Indiana Chamber today released its second public policy letter to the state’s major party candidates for governor. This installment cautions to not get complacent regarding Indiana’s business climate, which is generally recognized as the best in the Midwest, and fail to improve on obvious shortcomings.

This is part of the organization’s six-week Beyond the Bicentennial campaign (going beyond the state’s first 200 years) that continues through October 11 and focuses on the “most potentially impactful public policies” for gubernatorial candidates and lawmakers.

The Indiana Chamber’s Indiana Vision 2025 plan, first introduced in 2012, and its four economic drivers serve as the campaign blueprint. The Attractive Business Climate driver is the latest letter topic

“Only patting ourselves on the back and recognizing successes and comparative advantages over other states would be a horrible disservice,” asserts Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar.

“Indiana is one of the most unhealthy states in the nation, ranking 41st in overall health by the United Health Foundation. Trends like this and the increased health care costs associated with them have the attention of employers.”

And it’s also costing the state mightily, stresses Brinegar. “Indiana spends more on smokers with health issues who are on Medicaid than it is taking in via cigarette tax revenues. For every pack sold and taxed at 99.5 cents, the state spends $15.90 in related health care costs.” 

The Indiana Chamber is proposing a “comprehensive approach” to attack the state’s long-standing smoking challenge that includes raising the legal age to purchase cigarettes from 18 to 21 and increasing the tax per pack to make it more in line with the national average and those of surrounding states.

“Nearly a quarter of Hoosiers now are smokers. They account for $3.17 billion in productivity losses and nearly $3 billion in annual health care costs,” Brinegar says.

Separately, in the letter, the Indiana Chamber notes that business personal property remains the major negative mark in Indiana’s otherwise good tax environment and needs to be properly addressed. 

The first policy letter, released September 1, emphasized the Outstanding Talent driver of the Indiana Vision 2025 plan. Additional Beyond the Bicentennial letters and accompanying videos will be made available on September 27 (Superior Infrastructure) and October 11 (Dynamic & Creative Culture). All releases are online at www.indianachamber.com/letters

About Indiana Vision 2025
In 2012, the Indiana Chamber published Indiana Vision 2025, a comprehensive, multi-year initiative to provide leadership and a long-range economic development action plan for Indiana. The mission statement: “Indiana will be a global leader in innovation and economic opportunity where enterprises and citizens prosper.”

A 24-person statewide task force of business and organization leaders developed the original plan. Many from that group, with some additions, worked for four months earlier this year to review progress, update goals and metrics, and identify potential new research to enhance future Report Cards (progress on each of the now 36 goals under the four drivers is assessed every other year).

The Indiana Chamber thanks Duke Energy, NIPSCO, Old National Bank, Vectren and all the investors in Indiana Vision 2025.

Learn more about Indiana Vision 2025 at www.indianachamber.com/2025.

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The Indiana Chamber partners with 24,000 members and investors – representing over four million Hoosiers – to achieve the mission of “cultivating a world-class environment which provides economic opportunity and prosperity.”

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