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legislative agenda

Our 2012 Legislative Agenda

Legislative Agenda 2012 coverFor 136 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

Economic Development

  • Support: The 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: Use of the light lease funds for long-term economic development initiatives.

Local government reform

  • Support: Requirement that Township Advisory Board budgets be approved by Allen County Council, in the event that Township Advisory Boards are not eliminated.

Transportation

  • Support: Securing of funding for INDOT Aeronautics Division.
  • Support: Minimizing the impacts to the Airport Authority from property tax relief bills.

State issues

Local Government

  • Support: A county-by-county referendum initiated by a majority vote of the County Commissioners to move to a single county executive.
  • Support: Elimination of Township Advisory Boards.
  • Support: Prohibition of conflict of interest within local government.
  • Support: Creation of legislation to expand voluntary efficiencies, to reduce expenditures of operation for local government units.

Economic Development

  • Support: Flexibility in the use of tax abatements.
  • Support: The continued funding of Community Redevelopment Economic Districts and ensuring that funds are used for economic development.
  • Support: Short-term, creative use of tax abatements for small businesses that meet specific criteria.
  • Support: A target industry credit to enhance development in Northeast Indiana; for example, the Defense Industry.
  • Support: An incremental decrease in the use of CEDIT dollars for non-economic development use.
  • Support: Maintaining existing workforce training credits.

Employment Issues

  • Support: Making Indiana a Right to Work state in an effort to foster more growth and encourage more investment in Northeast Indiana.
  • 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.

Transportation and Logistics

  • Support: Use of tax credits to incentivize companies to invest in upgrades in rail, highway, and air facilities.
  • Support: Consideration of creative solutions to public mass transportation in Northeast Indiana.

Charity Gaming

  • Support: Expanded use of income from charitable fund raising efforts in order to fund operations of organizations.

Taxes

  • Oppose: Sales tax on services.

Higher Education

  • Support: Equitable per student funding for public higher education institutions throughout Indiana.

Energy Policy

  • Support: 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.

Federal issues

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.

Fiscal

  • Support: Continued analysis of efficient government spending.

Education

  • Support: Federal funding for an interoperability study at IPFW, which would develop a method for testing and evaluating communication devices.

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.
  • Support: Overhaul the Essential Air Service Program:
    • Reduce funding.
    • Reduce the number of airports receiving the funds.
    • Allow communities more involvement in the EAS process.

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
Director of Government Affairs
kstafford@fwchamber.org
Melissa Beber
Government Affairs Coordinator
mbeber@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!

Presenting sponsor

NIPSCO

Presenting Sponsor

NIPSCO 

Download the PDF of the Legislative Agenda: