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legislative agenda

Our 2013 Legislative Agenda

2013 Legislative Agenda coverFor 137 years, The Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce has served as an advocate for the local business community. Through engagement at all levels of government, The Chamber has established its reputation as the primary advocacy resource for our members, the community, and key decision makers.

Throughout the 2012 legislative session, The Chamber will encourage pro-business initiatives and work against legislation that could be harmful to our community and its economy. The agenda may evolve as other bills and issues arise.

Our guiding principles

Promote a globally competitive tax climate: The Chamber believes low taxes and fiscal responsibility are the cornerstones of economic growth. The Chamber advocates for a culture of equitable taxation and sound budgeting that will make Northeast Indiana a smart place to do business.

Decrease the regulatory burden on business: The Chamber believes the state and other units should make it easier, not harder, to do business. The Chamber works to relieve unnecessary and cumbersome regulatory burdens placed on Northeast Indiana businesses.

Sustain a strong workforce: The Chamber believes it is vital that our region produces an educational environment and workforce that is competitive and adapts to changing employer needs. We promote policies that encourage a collaborative effort between educators and businesses to anticipate and provide for the needs of employers.

Maintain a strong infrastructure: The Chamber believes that strong and modern infrastructure is essential to a healthy economy. The Chamber promotes policies that strengthen essential infrastructure, including transportation (roads, rail and air), water and sewer, communications, and electricity.

Support economic development: The Chamber believes that to maintain a strong economy, Indiana must attract and develop businesses in diverse industry sectors. The Chamber supports policies that improve our region’s economic strengths, retain existing businesses, and spur new business growth and job creation.

Promote an efficient governmental structure: The Chamber believes in a more streamlined and less redundant government for more efficient delivery of services. We support policies that work to create a more accountable, effective structure of Indiana government and better use of taxpayer dollars.

Local issues

Priorities

  • Economic Development: Support the use of light lease funds for long-term economic development initiatives.
  • Fort Wayne Base Community Council: Support the presence and growth of the Fort Wayne Base Community Council as an organization that supports the Guard and Reserve units in Northeast Indiana. 
  • Transportation: Support minimizing the impacts to the Airport Authority from property tax relief bills. 

Other issues

Economic Development

  • Front Door Fort Wayne Plan:
    • Support incentives for businesses to comply with infrastructure updates as a result of the Front Door Fort Wayne Plan.
    • Support consideration of projects on a case by case basis.
  • Support continued efforts to streamline the local permitting process.
  • Support a vibrant downtown for Fort Wayne that provides business, housing, cultural, and entertainment opportunities.  
  • The revitalization of downtown and the development of rivers will help market the city to attract and retain businesses.
  • Support a uniform tax abatement policy between the City of Fort Wayne and Allen County in order to be more regionally competitive for small business investment and expansion. 

Fort Wayne Base Community Council

  • Support the growth of StarBase as a means for STEM education in elementary schools.

Transportation

  • Support securing of funding for INDOT Aeronautics Division.
  • Support the study of feasibility of passenger rail in Northeast Indiana.

State issues

Priorities
  • Economic Development: Support a Defense industry income tax credit to enhance development in Indiana.
  • Economic Development: Support the expansion of the historic preservation tax credit to encourage investment in abandoned historic structures in downtown and business districts.
  • Education: Support an equitable school funding formula.  
  • Education: Support efforts to enhance the education and skills of adult workers.
  • Higher Education: Support equitable per student funding for public higher education institutions throughout Indiana.
  • Local Government: Support creation of legislation to expand voluntary efficiencies for local government units.
  • Taxes: Support the collection of on-line sales tax for all companies doing business with Indiana residents.
  • Transportation and Logistics: Support equitable funding for Northeast Indiana transportation projects.

Other issues

Economic Development

  • Support the continued funding of Community Revitalization Enhancement Districts (CRED) and ensuring that funds are used for economic development.
  • Support the use of County Economic Development Income Tax (CEDIT) dollars solely for economic development and infrastructure use.
  • Support maintaining existing workforce training credits.
  • Support the expansion of Indiana’s Research and Development tax credit and encourage research to be done in collaboration with Indiana universities.
Education 
  • Support the ability for local school districts to have greater flexibility in transferring money among funds.
Employment Issues
  • Oppose mandates on a local minimum wage that exceeds the federal minimum wage level.
  • Oppose local and state government officials from exerting influence on any entity to enter into a Project Labor Agreement.
Energy Policy
  • Support the use of environmentally sound business practices for sustainable economic and community development.
  • Support efforts to relax the strict energy code regulation requirements for new and existing building projects.
Higher Education
  • Support affordability and accessibility to higher education opportunities for Hoosier students such as IPFW’s request for $42 Million project to update and upgrade Kettler Hall and Helmke Library.
  • Encourage the ongoing discussions between Purdue, the General Assembly, the Commission on Higher Education and IPFW to better fulfill the regional business needs. 
Local Government
  • Support the move to a single county executive.
  • Support elimination of Township Advisory Boards.
  • Support a requirement that Township Advisory Board budgets be approved by the County Council, in the event that Township Advisory Boards are not eliminated.
Taxes 
  • Support continued fiscal discipline that maintains Indiana’s credit rating and appropriate cash reserves.
  • Oppose taxing of services.
Transportation and Logistics
  • Support the use of tax credits to incentivize companies to invest in upgrades in rail, highway, ports, and air facilities.

Federal issues

Priorities

  • Energy: Support the Coal Miner Employment and Domestic Energy Infrastructure Protection Act which would require the EPA to consider the cost and economic impact of certain rules among other things.
  • Fiscal: Support continued analysis of efficient government spending.
  • Immigration: Support a STEM visa bill that converts the visa lottery system into a visa program for outstanding STEM advanced degree graduates.
  • Military: Support the continued funding of fighter jets at the 122nd Air National Guard Base.
  • Transportation: Support equitable Indiana Transportation funding from the Federal Government.  Currently Indiana is a donor state when it comes to transportation funding.

Other issues

Aviation
  • Support Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization.
  • Support multi-year funding for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) in the amount of $4 billion.
  • Support maintaining 95 percent Federal Share Participation.
  • Support authorization of the Small Community Air Service Development Committee Program.
Education
  • Support federal funding for an interoperability study at IPFW, which would develop a method for testing and evaluating communication devices.
Energy
  • Support approval of the Keystone Pipeline and projects that would bring jobs to the United States and make the country more energy independent.
Healthcare
  • Support the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Immigration
  • Support reformation of immigration laws.
Labor
  • Oppose legislation which would eliminate secret ballot elections in union organizing and replace it with a card check procedure.
  • Oppose binding federal arbitration for union contract negotiations and financial penalties on employers but not on unions.
Regulatory Reform
  • Support the prohibition of Federal agencies from issuing costly regulations and rules until the unemployment rate drops to 6% or less.
Taxation
  • Support the collection of sales tax for all companies doing business with Indiana residents.
Transportation
  • Support the New International Trade Crossing Bridge over the Detroit River to encourage international commerce between the United States and Canada.

What you can do

Check out The Chamber Government Affairs’s web site at www.fwgovconnect.org to:

  • Stay connected: Get updates on issues that impact the business community.
  • Get involved: Meet with elected officials and become more informed on issues at Chamber events.
  • Take action: Make your voice heard by writing letters and contacting your legislators.

If you’re a Chamber member, stay informed by signing up for our weekly GovConnect email. Contact Melissa Beber, government affairs coordinator, at (260) 424-1435  or mbeber@fwchamber.org, to sign up.
Find The Chamber’s events calendar and much more  information at www.fwchamber.org.

Contact us

Reach The Chamber’s Government Affairs staff:

Katy Stafford-Cunningham
Vice President of Government Affairs
kstafford@fwchamber.org

Melissa Beber
Government Affairs Coordinator
mbeber@fwchamber.org

Jami Thomas
Communications and Legislative Liaison
jthomas@fwchamber.org

826 Ewing St.
Fort Wayne,  IN 46802
Phone: (260) 424-1435
On the web: www.fwgovconnect.org
Twitter: @fwgovconnect

We’re always in session!

Download the PDF of the Legislative Agenda: