Indiana to clean up job numbers
Bob Segall/13 Investigates
Indianapolis - The state of Indiana is going to clean up its job numbers. The announcement comes after 13 Investigates revealed state job statistics don't add up. Now, the state's former lieutenant governor is insisting on change.
The state of Indiana says it attracted 100,000 new jobs in the past five years, but that is on paper. When 13 Investigates went looking for those jobs, we found lots of deserted factories and empty corn fields where tens of thousands of jobs promoted by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation never showed up and skilled workers around the state say they cannot find a job.
For months, Eyewitness News has been asking IEDC where are all the jobs it's been bragging about? And now, the agency is asking that question, too.
John Mutz is a veteran politician and businessman. The former lieutenant governor now sits on the policy committee of the IEDC, and he wants to know Indiana's real job numbers.
"The transparency issue has to do with whether we clean up our data often enough," said Mutz. "I thought it was important to get it out on the table today and we talked about it."
The discussion took place this week, behind the scenes at an IEDC board meeting. It comes after 13 Investigates showed the agency has been inflating the state's job numbers by continuing to report jobs that never materialized.
"We're going to insist on an annual basis that this takes place; alter those totals every year," said Mutz.
Mutz says IEDC needs to be more accurate and transparent and its annual reports must reflect real jobs, not just a laundry list of promises and projections that may never come true.
"If you have a company that went out of business and they're not going to create the rest of the jobs they committed, so you take them off the list. You got a company that's down a little because of the recession, they don't create the jobs as fast they would, so you alter their estimates. It's those kind of refinements that have to take place," said Mutz.
Each year, IEDC gives away millions of dollars in tax breaks and incentives to help bring companies to Indiana and you're paying for it. This board members says that's why you deserve to get the truth - to see how many jobs you're getting for your money.
"I think it's important for the public to understand what this money has been used for to know if they grants have produced the results that the governor claims. That's a realistic thing to ask," said Mutz.
A few months ago, IEDC released revised job numbers but they still don't add up. That's because the agency does not acknowledge thousands of jobs that fell through at companies that decided to cut back. The former lieutenant governor says IEDC will now begin re-assessing all jobs previously reported by the agency, and that will hopefully result in much more accurate statistics.