Where are the jobs? Indiana senate approves IEDC transparency bill

WTHR found this empty factory in Columbus where IEDC said it helped create 125 new jobs.
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State senators want more information about the number of jobs actually created in Indiana.

Tuesday morning, the Indiana Senate passed a bill that would require the Indiana Economic Development Corporation to provide more details to the public.

Senator Mike Delph (R-Carmel) introduced the legislation after 13 Investigates exposed tens of thousands of jobs announced by the state's official job-creation agency never materialized.  The two-year Eyewitness News investigation also showed IEDC misled the public and state lawmakers by continuing to report job statistics for announced projects that had fallen apart years earlier.

IEDC awards more than $100 million in public tax dollars each year to companies that agree to create jobs in Indiana. But the agency regularly withholds detailed job information from taxpayers and the media, claiming the information could be considered a trade secret.

Senate Bill 162 would not require IEDC to disclose specific job realization numbers for each individual company that receives public tax dollars. That language was included in the original bill, but IEDC successfully fought to have it removed.

The amended bill, which senators passed Tuesday by a vote of 49-1, would require IEDC to publish an annual report that includes the total aggregate number of jobs created - not only the number of jobs that were anticipated - and the total amount of money that companies received in public tax dollars since the agency was created in 2005.  The bill would also require final incentive contracts between IEDC and corporations to be made available to the public more quickly, and it would require IEDC to hold companies more accountable for their anticipated level of financial investment in Indiana.

The bill now goes to the Indiana House of Representatives.