Economic developments in Northwest Indiana are paying off. The economy is, well, developing.
Northwest Indiana saw 14 major business expansions in 2012, doubling the number the year before, according to Indiana Economic Development Corp. records.
And 2013 is shaping up to be a good year, too, with the state granting tax breaks and other incentives to 12 companies expanding or moving to Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties.
"It shows Northwest Indiana is a strong place to do business," said Donald Koliboski, economic development director for the Northwest Indiana Forum.
That's a message that needs to be repeated often.
Northwest Indiana businesses already know Indiana's business climate is attractive. In October, the Washington D.C.-based Tax Foundation ranked Indiana's business tax climate 10th in the nation.
We have Indiana's attractive business climate to thank for bringing businesses across the state line into Indiana. Those moves bring additional jobs and an eventual boost to the tax base.
Northwest Indiana must reach out more to Illinois businesses suffering from oppressive taxes.
Land O'Frost recently turned a cold shoulder to the Land O'Lincoln, moving its headquarters from southern Cook County to Munster. It won't be the last.
"Some use the word 'poaching' when these employers make the decision to come to Indiana," Indiana Secretary of Commerce Victor Smith said at the recent 2013 Rail Summit in Chicago. "It's not poaching. They're making informed business decisions."
In early 2011, the Northwest Indiana Forum and the IEDC announced twin campaigns to try to lure businesses to Indiana via their highly publicized "Feeling Squeezed by Taxes?" and "Illinnoyed by Higher Taxes?
The Forum doesn't have those billboards up any longer, but it's continuing to target businesses in high-tax states like Illinois via national site selection magazines, consultants, trade shows, and other means.
So far this year, the Forum has seen the number of leads -- serious inquiries by businesses well along in the site selection process -- increase about 25 percent, Koliboski said.
Keep 'em coming. We welcome those companies and the jobs they bring.