Indiana House speaker also asks "Where are the jobs?"
Bob Segall/13 Investigates
Indianapolis - There are a growing number of questions about Indiana's mysterious job numbers. The state is facing more pressure to release secret statistics as one of the state's most powerful lawmakers responds to an Eyewitness News investigation by taking action.
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation says detailed information about state job creation must be kept secret.
House Speaker Pat Bauer (D-South Bend) doesn't buy it.
"I think it's equivalent to fraud," Bauer told 13 Investigates.
After watching WTHR's "Where are the jobs" investigation, Bauer has sent a formal request to IEDC for copies of non-compliance reports that show which companies did not fulfill their job promises to the state.
"It was pretty obvious that these [job] numbers were bogus and your investigation proved that," Bauer said. "Now we want answers. It's a problem and we have to be able to get the truth."
Bauer sent his letter to IEDC chairman Mitch Roob last week after a series of WTHR investigations showed many of the "economic successes" claimed by IEDC were actually abandoned factories and empty cornfields – not bustling workplaces employing thousands of people as IEDC promoted.
Bauer's letter asks IEDC to be more transparent about Indiana job numbers.
"I would urge the IEDC to exercise its discretion in favor of sharing vital information with Hoosier taxpayers about Indiana's true level of job creation success," Bauer wrote.
The speaker also took issue with conflicting job realization numbers recently reported to WTHR by the governor and IEDC.
Governor Mitch Daniels told Eyewitness News 92% of jobs committed to the state had been fulfilled, while IEDC director Mitch Roob said the number was 87%. Research by 13 Investigates shows about 60% of the jobs committed to Indiana from 2006-2008 have actually come or are on track to be created, while approximately 40% have never materialized.
"We want to know the real information. It should be public," Bauer said.
IEDC says job realization information should remain secret to help protect Indiana businesses -- even for businesses that receive state tax breaks and publically-funded financial incentives in exchange for the promise of jobs. Other states require such job information to be released publically, but Indiana is not one of them.
IEDC says it will review Bauer's request for information and will provide an update on the status of the request by June 25.