Accountable USA - Indiana

Indiana spends a substantial amount on state subsidy programs. As of a few years ago, the Hoosier Business Investment Tax Credit alone was costing more than $100 million annually.

The state has offered a number of large subsidy packages to specific companies. In 1986, Subaru and Isuzu received a $94 million package for a joint-venture assembly plant in Lafayette. In 1991 United Airlines won a $300 million subsidy package from state and local officials for a massive maintenance facility at Indianapolis International Airport that was projected to employ 6,000 in well-paying jobs but was later closed (see below).

In 1999, the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly received a $264 million package to expand its headquarters and technology center in Indianapolis (see below). In 2005, the General Assembly approved legislation allowing local tax revenues to be used to finance construction of a new stadium for the Indianapolis Colts (see below). In 2006, Honda received a $141 million subsidy package from Indiana following a five-state bidding war for the company’s new assembly plant.

A 2010 open records law requires the quasi-public Indiana Economic Development Corporation to report on subsidy outcomes, but House Speaker Patrick Bauer has complained about discrepancies in clawback and job creation numbers. Investigative reporting by television station WTHR in Indianapolis has also raised questions about the validity of the claims made by the IEDC in connection with subsidy deals.

Indiana provides online recipient disclosure for all five of the major subsidy programs we examined: EDGE tax credits, Enterprise Zones, the Hoosier Business Investment Tax Credit, the Skills Enhancement Fund and the Twenty-First Century Research and Technology Fund.

Key Subsidy Programs

Subsidy Program Recent Annual
Cost
Online Recipient
Disclosure
Recipient Disclosure
Score
Job-Creation/
Job-Quality Score**
Monitoring/
Enforcement Score***

Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) Tax Credits

an expensive discretionary “deal-closing” tax credit program for footloose companies valued according to net new worker personal income tax withholdings over ten years

$163 million (FY 2012- 2013)
47/100
76/100
81/100

Enterprise Zone Program

four different state tax subsidies for specially designated zones throughout the state

$39 million (2002)
0/100
20/100
28/100

Hoosier Business Investment Tax Credit (HBITC)

an expensive corporate income tax credit valued at up to 30 percent of capital investments

$52.4 million (FY 2013)
47/100
55/100
65/100

Skills Enhancement Fund (SEF)

grants given to companies for the purpose of training workers

$44.8 million (FY 2013)
47/100
20/100
48/100

Twenty-First Century Research and Technology Fund (21 Fund)

cash grants for high-tech and high-wage companies

$12.7 million (2010)
30/100
10/100
23/100

* The score is derived from the Good Jobs First report Show Us the Subsidized Jobs (January 2014).

** The score is derived from the Good Jobs First report Money for Something (December 2011).

*** The score is derived from the Good Jobs First report Money-Back Guarantees for Taxpayers (January 2012).

Major Subsidy Deals

Indianapolis Colts (2005)

In 2005 the Indiana General Assembly approved legislation to fund a new stadium for the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League, along with an expanded convention center, which together were estimated to cost about $900 million. Most of the cost of the arena, dubbed Lucas Oil Stadium after the naming rights were sold, was to be raised through an increase in food, beverage and hotel taxes in the Indianapolis area. The city of Indianapolis agreed to pay a $48 million fee required to break the Colts' lease on their existing stadium, the RCA Dome. The cost of the new stadium, originally estimated at about $500 million, rose to more than $700 million by 2007 because of rising steel prices,  flooding and high environmental clean-up expenses.

As part of the deal, the Capital Improvement Board (CIB), the government agency that operates the stadium, receives no game-day revenue and must give the Colts half the revenue it earns from holding other events at the stadium (up to $3.5 million a year). In 2009, the CIB projected an operating deficit of more than $40 million for the following year. To help offset this, the legislature provided $25 million, but Colts owner Jim Irsay refused to consider renegotiating the terms of the initial agreement to help the agency. (Key sources)

Eli Lilly (1999)

In 1999 Indiana officials promised drug giant Eli Lilly $214 million in state and local tax subsidies in exchange for investing $1 billion to expand its headquarters and technology center in Indianapolis. A $500 million expansion was already underway when the subsidies were announced. About $102 million of the subsidy package was to come from EDGE payroll tax credits. The state also pledged $4 million for street improvements and $2 million as a renewable training grant. The local portion of the deal included an estimated $98 million in real estate and business personal property tax abatements. The company said the expansion would include added capacity for insulin production, new research facilities, and a new training center. The deal was announced six months before another tax credit which Eli Lilly enjoyed, for research and development, was due to lapse. But then the Indiana legislature established a new $50 million program, the 21st Century Growth Fund, to help attract grants from the National Institutes of Health. (Key sources

United Airlines (1991)

In 1991 United Airlines wowed state and local officials with its plan to build a massive maintenance facility at Indianapolis International Airport that was projected to employ some 6,000 people in well-paying jobs. Those officials agreed to provide a subsidy package worth about $300 million, while the Indianapolis Airport Authority agreed to issue about $700 million in special facility revenue bonds secured by annual lease payments from United. The state agreed to give the airline a $15 million cash grant and $156 million in financing provided by a state bond issue. The city of Indianapolis kicked in some $111 million. Fortunately, there were strings attached to the subsidies, providing for a clawback if job or investment targets were not met. Part of the facility was built, but United never met its employment and investment targets.

In 2001 city and state officials invoked the clawback provision; the next year the company agreed to repay more than $30 million for failing to meet the investment target. United was potentially liable for much more, perhaps $100 million for failing to reach job targets, but a second clawback was complicated by the carrier’s bankruptcy. In 2003 United closed the maintenance center, prompting Indiana authorities to file a claim in bankruptcy court for the $100 million clawback payment.  The bankruptcy court never ruled on that claim, but it transferred ownership of the maintenance center to the Indianapolis Airport Authority. (Key sources)

Walmart in Indiana

  • At least 7 Wal-Mart locations have received subsidies worth about $15.8 million in Indiana.
  • At least 2 Wal-Mart locations in Indiana have challenged their property tax assessment, recouping about $367,000.
  • Many Wal-Mart workers are ineligible for health coverage from their employer or choose not to purchase what is available, because it is too expensive or too limited in scope. These workers often turn to taxpayer-funded health programs such as Medicaid. Indiana is among those states that have not disclosed data on the employers with the most workers or their dependents enrolled in such programs.
  • Wal-Mart receives about $1 million a year from a state policy that allows retailers to keep a portion of the sales tax they collect from customers.

For more information, see the Indiana page of Wal-Mart Subsidy Watch.