October 24th, 2019
The Weird Turn Pro 
Man, if you thought YOU had a weird day yesterday, consider the Mike Braun news cycle. At the same time Senator Braun was on national television with Rep. Christopher Coons enthusiastically discussing their bipartisan efforts in a Senate climate caucus , the Indy Star was rolling out a story about Rudy Giuliani and his (now indicted) Ukranian buddies paying a visit to the Hoosier state last year … to support Mike Braun’s election efforts. Apparently, the buds were just along for the ride, didn’t chat with anyone and weren’t spotted eating a world-famous Indiana tenderloin. Nonetheless, a bit of an odd news item with some otherwise encouraging news in an exceedingly partisan time.
Can You Hear Me Now? Losing a phone call used to be the nemesis of cellphone providers and users. While there are certainly areas that still pose challenges (like that ONE spot on Hazel Dell or parts of Crooked Stick …), the focus has turned to data speed, which makes sense with multiple devices per household, all streaming something. For the purposes of our members, with more and more businesses relying on cloud-based services, it’s a necessity. A few years back, we were all atwitter with 4G and more recently 5G that was going to exponentially improve data speed. In the midst of the technology rollout by Verizon and AT&T (including in Fishers), the Carmel City Council approved a resolution this week asking state lawmakers, the Federal Communications Commission and Congress limit 5G technology deployment in Indiana and take a second look at health impacts. While we certainly value the safety and well-being of the community, we believe this is a little like throwing out the baby with the bathwater with a side of “déjà vu all over again.” In other words, the timing stinks and the wording of the resolution vague. Hopefully a resolution will be provided that eases the minds of citizens and businesses alike.
Playing Nicely in the Regional Sandbox. The Interim Study Committee on Fiscal Policy just finished up its study of innovation hubs, and OneZone weighed in on the conversation. In our book, Indiana needs incentives for regional collaboration. In the highly competitive business of economic development, we often hear about “wins” and “losses.” Here in Hamilton County for instance, when one community attracts a major business to put down roots, it’s counted as a “win” for that city, while the others fall into the “loss” category. Pitting communities against communities puts Indiana behind our peers who are increasingly finding ways to work together. If businesses and their employees choose a state that’s more expensive – and they frequently do – what’s that telling us? Perhaps that it’s time to take another look at what matters and work together to ensure we can fund those quality-of-place amenities. Our local revenues lag national averages -- another indication that it’s time to encourage strong collaborative efforts like investment hubs. Regional Cities, an initiative OneZone supported, was a great first step – but now is the time to take it to the next level.
On Teacher Salaries and Referenda . The Interim Study Committee on Education recently heard the final report from the Indiana Legislative Services Agency on the effect property tax referendums have on teacher salary after the committee was asked to explore the topic following  the passage  of the state’s budget bill last April. According to the report, those school corporations successful in passing operating referenda while earmarking a portion of funds for the attraction and retention of teachers were able to increase teacher pay by 3.7% in the two years following a referendum. When the 2020 session of the Indiana State Legislature rolls around, they’ll be considering several recommendations from the committee, including streamlining teacher training requirements, establishing a state Roundtable for Lifelong Learning ( similar to Indiana’s former Education Roundtable ), and directing greater resources to school counselors to help meet changing graduation requirements and lower the state’s nearly  500-to-1 counselor-to-student ratio . Meanwhile, when lawmakers return for their annual Organization Day on November 19, they will be greeted by a “Red for Ed Action Day.” The Indiana State Teachers Association and the American Federation of Teachers are urging educators, parents and other community members to show up and call on lawmakers to increase teacher pay and approve a “hold-harmless” provision from effects of the new ILEARN standardized test. 
PlusOne: And speaking of referenda, don’t forget Carmel Clay Schools has a School Safety Referendum on the ballot in November. OneZone supports this effort, and, as always, urges you to get out and vote!