Cutting Their Own (Tax) Throats

Not all budget cuts should be created equally. Case in point would be the many, many states that are facing what seem to be never-ending declines in tax revenues. A partial solution is budget cutbacks for state agencies. But if you cut certain positions in the Department of Revenue, don’t you risk collecting even smaller amounts?

Seems to make sense. But that logic didn’t hold for Western neighbors Arizona and California (and undoubtedly others).

In Arizona, a leading Department of Revenue official warned that "if we lost auditors and collectors, there would be less auditing and less collecting." More than 200 positions were eliminated, but the lost revenue was estimated to be as high as $100 million. It was also suggested that each auditor and collector brings in $400,000 and $800,000, respectively each year — far more than they are paid.

California furloughed workers that were part of the Franchise Tax Board despite a state Senate report that the furloughs are costing the state $7 for every $1 saved in payroll.

So that strategy results in the state suffering and those not paying their fair share receiving the benefits. There’s something wrong with that scenario.

“Safety First” a Worthwhile Motto for Indiana Businesses

Safety – it’s a part of everyday life. There are those common sense words from parents like putting on your seatbelt or looking both ways before crossing the street.

It seems providing a safe workplace for employees would fall in the same category. Ah, if only it were as simple as mom yelling from the front seat, “Are you buckled in yet?”

First, consider the increased complexity of workplace safety (you know … protecting workers who operate machinery that costs more than a house, addressing ergonomic issues and a host of other considerations). Add in that pesky economic downturn we experienced and things get a little more complicated on the workplace safety front.

Read in the September/October BizVoice what some Indiana safety experts say about how the economy impacted their field and what companies should be doing in tough times (hint: it’s not cutting corners).

Also, read about some Indiana companies that understand the value of safety in all economic situations. A 2009 Governor’s Workplace Safety Award winner offered this:

Like many companies, Frankfort-based DSM NeoResins+ is looking at ways to reduce costs. But those cuts will not interfere with the company’s No. 1 priority, notes Kevin Goodnight, the U.S. safety, health and environmental manager.

“Our approach is safety is always the first priority,” he asserts. “So whenever we talk about any sort of savings or programs we have in place for getting through the harsh economic times, we always talk about safety first. We will not skimp on safety.”

We want to know your thoughts. How have you adapted, if at all, your safety practices and priorities?

Also, BizVoice magazine editor Tom Schuman recently sat down with Safety Resources President Robert Baldwin via Inside INdiana Business. The message is a key one to consider for many Indiana businesses who might be considering cutting safety training. See the video below.

Note: Those interested in this issue might also find our Safety & Health Guide for Indiana Business to be a useful tool.