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IEDA on the Issues: TIF in 2016 and What’s Next for 2017?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Lee Lewellen, president and CEO of the Indiana Economic Development Association (IEDA) reflects on the big issue of 2016 and what the IEDA will address next in this guest article.

Tax increment finance (TIF) has become one of the most critical tools for communities to use in creating conditions to attract new investment.  TIF has been often misunderstood as a development tool, often attacked out of misinformation, but often critical in a community’s plans to foster infrastructure and create an environment that can support new development.

In 2016, the Indiana Economic Development Association released a comprehensive analysis of TIF.  The study, conducted by the Center for Applied Research at the University of Southern Indiana, was developed using a rigorous analysis of existing TIF data over an extended period of time.  Among the findings of the study:

  • TIF activity has a positive impact, over time, on employment and wages in areas where TIF is used;
  • In spite of assertions to the contrary, TIF districts only represent about 3% of all parcels in the state of Indiana;
  • Use of TIF to attract new investment in one community, creates positive spillover benefits in neighboring communities.

The study has been shared with Indiana legislators and is gaining a reputation as being the definitive analysis of TIF in Indiana.  The study can be accessed at:

As we approach 2017, IEDA will be turning attention to a looming economic development issue, the shortage of workers.

In many parts of Indiana, the unemployment rate is 4.5% or less, resulting in significant shortages of available workers for even existing jobs.  With the ongoing retirement of the Baby Boom cohort, the impact on workforce availability will be significant.  The Indiana Manufacturers Association (IMA) predicts that its members will have 60,000 jobs that could potentially go unfilled in the next five years.

The US Department of Defense estimates that 100,000 individuals will transition out of the military each year for the next five years.  1/3 of those individuals have indicated that they are willing to relocate for a viable job opportunity. 

IEDA has been working in concert with the IMA, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, the Lt. Governor’s Office, the Indiana Workforce Board Association, Ivy Tech Community College, Vincennes University, Conexus Indiana and various veterans groups to develop a bold plan to actively recruit 10,000 veterans and their families to Indiana each year for the next five years and connect them to Indiana jobs and facilitate their smooth transition into Hoosier communities.

Lee Lewellen


Indiana Economic Development Association