MARY MATTINGLY PHOTOS
Above, Jody Fledderman, CEO of Batesville Tool and Die, and John Dickey, senior vice president of corporate services of Hill-Rom, chat with Gov. Pence before he gave his presentation. Below, Pence was given a Batesville gift basket.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence came to Ripley County with a report of state progress and with a “challenge to spread the word that Indiana is a great place to live and work.”
The 50th governor of the Hoosier state, and former six term 6th district representative, made his first appearance in the county as governor Tuesday. The Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors invited Pence and the public to the Hill-Rom Center. Leaders from Batesville City Council, executives with Hill-Rom, Hillenbrand, Inc., Batesville Tool and Die, Margaret Mary Health, county and city law enforcement and prosecutor’s office, state representatives Randy Frye, Cindy Ziemke and State Senator Jean Leising were some of the 182 guests in the audience.
Batesville Community Schools Corp. Superintendent Dr. Jim Roberts, vice president of the chamber, introduced the governor, noting he is a champion of fiscal responsibility. Pence is from Columbus, Ind., and graduated from Hanover College. He and his wife, Karen, a teacher, have three grown children. Pence opened with a humorous story about being in New York City during the Indiana Pacers-New York Knicks game, and spotting a man wearing a Pacers jersey, he yelled out to him “Go Pacers!” and the head coach turned around, and says “Are you from Indiana?...”I replied, well, yeah, I’m like, the governor, but I’m new so…”
He proudly reported the state’s progress, which has the fastest job growth than 42 other states. Indiana has led the nation in manufacturing jobs three months running, and has been cited by a couple of business magazines as a top 10 place to do business in the US.
“With companies like Hill-Rom and Hillenbrand, Inc., we demonstrate we are open for business and manufacturing is the heart of what makes it strong,” Pence said.
His Power Point presentation hit on his strategy of four factors to create jobs and capital formation, the first being a balanced budget. Another is tax relief.
“We had the largest tax cut in Indiana history,” he said. He cited $900 million in new tax relief over the next two years, and $1.2 billion in total tax relief over the next two years. “We have the lowest taxed state in the Midwest,” he said and the crowd broke into applause. “I plan to put that on the welcome signs to the state!” he joked. Pence also wants regulatory reform. “We are cutting the red tape in the Hoosier state…cutting red tape means jobs.”
The governor also pushed for Indiana to be a business-friendly state, and noted Indiana’s greatest asset is its location. The fourth strategy is the workforce, and developing the skills gap of Hoosiers. He commended the partnership of Batesville Ivy Tech, with the school corporation, city and manufacturers. “Batesville and a small handful of communities inspired the General Assembly this year.” Yet, he liked to see more skills training available for students in the manufacturing state. “Just one percent graduated with a Core 40 technical degree,” Pence commented. Regional works councils, career councils and a statewide curriculum review are being developed for the fall.
After the 40 minute talk of vision and ideas, he told the audience, “ You are Indiana’s best ambassadors.” And then challenged them to spread the word about the state’s appeal for business and families.
New area codes approved
There will be a new area code in the telephone book. The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) approved a new area code to resolve the decreasing number of available 812 phone numbers in Southern Indiana.
The new 930 area code will be an overlay inside the existing 812 area code. An area code overlay allows a new area code to be assigned over the same geographic area as an existing area code, which means any customer requesting additional or new service (e.g., landline, wireless, etc.) could have a different area code for the new number. The change will mean that residents in the existing 812 area code will need 10-digit dialing for all calls, regardless of whether they are local or long distance.
“Media throughout southern Indiana have followed this closely and responded with coverage, which has been instrumental in community outreach and educating the public,” said IURC Commissioner Larry Landis. “At the end of the day, it all comes down to education and making sure this transition is as smooth as possible.”
Hearings were held in St. Leon and North Vernon in April and May, among 10 other places. Both the existing 812 and 930 area code will serve the entire central/southern Indiana area. Until the decision, the 812 area code was the only remaining area code left untouched in Indiana, since its inception in 1947. All other areas have since been split to accommodate growing demand. Population growth, economic progress, and the demand for new services (i.e., cell phones, faxes, and computers) have all contributed to the number shortage. The most recent area code to exhaust in Indiana was 219. In this case, an area code split was found to be the best solution based on the testimony given by industry representatives and the public. Ultimately, the IURC determined to split the area into three different area codes: 219, 260, and 574; however, even with continued demand, the 930 and 812 area codes together have a projected life of 71 years. An overlay was the overwhelmingly popular choice advocated by parties to the case, the Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, and the public during the IURC’s 10 field hearings throughout the state. Regardless of how a new area code is implemented, 911, 811 and 211 calls will not be affected, nor will long distance, local phone rates or free calling area boundaries.
To view how area codes have changed in Indiana over the years and the communities in which field hearings were held, please visit: www.in.gov/iurc/2703.ht.
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