Indy Chamber / Be Active / Advocacy / Our Priorities

Our Priorities

Our staff and member volunteers carefully assess issues our region is facing. Through interviews, research, discussion and debate, we develop positions and advocate at all levels of government and throughout the business community.

2017 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

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2016 LEGISLATIVE WRAP UP

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DIVERSITY

Reinforce and enhance Indiana’s brand as a welcoming and diverse state by updating the state’s current anti-discrimination law to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, employment and public accommodations.

TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE

Advocate for a comprehensive and sustainable multi-modal transportation funding package that addresses both immediate needs and develops long term solutions, balances the needs of state and local governments and prioritizes maintenance, rehabilitation and expansion of existing transportation infrastructure. 

Explore innovative funding mechanisms including, but not limited to, increasing and indexing the current state gas tax and the creation of a voluntary pilot and further study of infrastructure funding based off a Vehicle Miles Travels “VMT.”

MASS TRANSIT

Enhance the regional coordination of transit services by allowing adjacent townships to opt into referendum efforts concurrent with Marion County.

EQUITY IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT FUNDING

Support a statewide strategy to equitably distribute revenue to communities from those who work, recreate, and consume in those respective localities to pay for the investments, infrastructure and services that make these activities possible. Support the creation of an incremental Local Option Income Tax that would remain in the county of employment.

EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION

Ensure children entering primary education levels are academically, socially and emotionally prepared through the development of publicly funded, outcome-focused, Pre-K programs focused on those in most financial need as well as mandatory, fully-funded, full-day kindergarten.

Click here to review the Indiana Early Learning Childhood Program Analysis.

 
 
 
 

Economic Growth

State and Local Economic Development

Tax increment financing
Maximize the ability of local government units to respond to redevelopment and economic development opportunities through utilization of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts.

  • Transparency: Establish a schedule of performance reports to localgoverning bodies and encourage the establishment of public onlineresources for tracking TIF performance metrics, funded by TIF revenue.  

Local Incentives
Secure and maintain flexibility of local incentives for economic and community development efforts to encourage new growth and redevelopment of existing resources.

  • Certified Tech Parks: Increase of the Certified Technology Park (CTP) tax capture allowance from the current $5 million cap to allow high performing CTPs to increase public-private investment in the CTP and surrounding areas. 

State Incentives
Maintain Indiana’s economic competitiveness through the preservation and responsible use of existing state tax incentives, placing emphasis on skills enhancement and workforce training to attract investment from diverse industry sectors.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation Investments
Support policies that can improve the State’s capital environment and nurture innovative activity through:

  • Maintaining permanence of the state’s Research and Development Tax Credit program
  • Maximizing immediate value of state EDGE and VCI tax credit by allowing recipients to transfer credits for cash value
  • Enhancing flexibility for public investment in venture capital funds that invest in Indiana companies
  • Enhancing funding to support more university-sponsored grant programs and seed funding for applied research and commercialization
  • Creating evergreen funding program that expands SBA microlending statewide by providing the required 15% loan loss reserve for new and existing SBA intermediaries.

Advanced Telecommunications
Building upon the 2006 telecommunications reform, support increased statewide private sector investment in wireless and wire line broadband telecommunications infrastructure. 

Promote efforts by telecom providers to transition their networks from old legacy technology to an advanced all-IP, all-mobile and all-cloud infrastructure.

Community Redevelopment and Investment

Regional Cities Initiative
Support strategic quality of life investments by expanding and increasing funding for the IEDC’s Regional Cities Initiative to enhance Indiana as a magnet for jobs and talent.

  • Provide technical assistance and planning grants for future regional cities applicants

Stellar Communities
Support continued investment and rural communities and small towns across Indiana by strengthening and expanding the Indiana Stellar Communities program.

Historic Rehabilitation
Increase state funding and incentives to encourage redevelopment and investment in aging commercial, industrial and residential properties.

Shovel-Ready Development
Support shovel ready community redevelopment efforts through the creation of a statewide grant program to fund the demolition of blighted commercial properties.

Revitalization Grants
& Revolving Loan Fund
Allow local governments the ability to make grants and loans to private enterprise for the creation of jobs or otherwise stimulate economic activity.

Transportation, Infrastructure and Environment

Local Roads & Streets
Ensure adequate funding for local roads and streets, while maintaining equitable funding for urban and suburban areas.

  • Financing and Delivery: Provide maximum flexibility to local governments in the financing, design and construction of local transportation infrastructure, including the use of public-private partnerships and design-build.

I-69
Advocate for the completion of I-69 from the Ohio River Bridge to Indianapolis in the least intrusive, most economically strategic and cost efficient manner.

Indiana Commerce Connector
Advocate that such an undertaking should only commence after careful study of the impact on core-city development, regional taxation and sprawl. Additionally, the ICC should not be advanced as an alternative to a regional mass transit system.

Water
Support the creation of a statewide coordinating body to ensure sustained economic opportunity through responsible management of water resources.

Energy Efficiency
Secure state incentives for business and local government investments in energy-efficient commercial and industrial rehabilitation and fleet management.

Transportation Alternatives

  • Hoosier State Line: Maintain state support to continue operations and enhance service of the Hoosier State Line to better facilitate connectivity and economic opportunity between Indianapolis and Chicago.
  • Public Mass Transportation Fund: Restore a dedicated funding stream for the Public Mass Transportation Fund (PMTF) to enhance mass transit throughout the state.   
  • Incentives: Create employer incentives for employee benefits for alternative modes of transportation, transit packages, workplace bike infrastructure or other modes of transportation that encourage a healthier workforce.
  • Complete Streets: Pursue state transportation policies that encourage transportation planners and engineers to plan, design, operate and maintain the state’s road and street infrastructure with all users in mind.
  • Greenways: Support the creation of a statewide loan or grant fund to build out greenways and bike lanes for local communities.

Brownfields
Increase funding options, minimize regulation and encourage investment in brownfields to aid economic development efforts, including a statewide grant program for “Phase I” and “Phase II” environmental site assessments and explore the creation of tax credits based on employment on former brownfields.

Local Government and Fiscal Policy

Local Government Finance

Home Rule
Allow local government greater flexibility over their own structural and fiscal matters to address the needs of their individual communities.

Township Finances
Require township funds that exceed 150% of operating expenses to be spent on infrastructure projects within the township or credited to the taxpayer.

Government Modernization

Unigov
Seek greater efficiencies in municipal service delivery and finance in Marion County by building on the principles of unified government, including county-wide consolidation of fire departments.

Statewide
Continue efforts to streamline overlapping government functions through statewide implementation of recommendations made by the Indiana Commission on Local Government Reform to increase accountability, transparency and effectiveness of local governments.

Government Innovation
Encourage state and local governments to create Offices of Innovation to drive policies that inspire open data, transparency, drive efficiencies that can result in greater economic activity and workforce development.

Workforce/Education

Workforce

Employer-Driven, Sector-Specific Workforce Development
Build on the recent work of the Indiana Career Council and Indiana Regional Works Councils to better align state workforce strategies with the skills demands of today’s regional employers.

Veteran Re-entry
Increase employment opportunities for returning veterans by eliminating duplicative requirements and expedite processes for military-trained personnel to obtain the equivalent civilian license.

Ex-Offender Re-entry
Break down barriers and encourage the increase of incentives for hiring ex-offenders, including increasing job training & skills enhancement opportunities and ensure local compliance on a statewide basis of the recent expungement laws. 

Immigration Reform
Encourage federal leadership on comprehensive immigration reform. Restore eligibility for in-state tuition and financial aid to state colleges and universities for foreign born students who have matriculated through the Indiana K-12 system.

Higher Education

  • Career Pathways: Support the creation of college career pathways to ensure curriculum align with current and future skills demands and increase college completion.
  • Reverse Credit:  Support permitting specific course credit to be transferable and reciprocal between Indiana’s accredited two-year schools and other state-supported colleges and universities to encourage post-secondary certification and degree attainment statewide.
  • Return and Complete:  Support the Indiana Commission for Higher Education’s Return and Complete efforts to reengage the 737,000 Hoosiers with some college credit but no degree.
  • STEM: Explore the creation of incentives to retain recent STEM-degreed individuals committed to remaining in-state for five years.
  • 21st Century Scholars: Enhance outreach and wraparound services and evaluate sustainable funding mechanisms for programs, such as the 21st Century Scholars program, in order to increase access to and completion rates at two- and four-year colleges and universities for those with financial need.
Education

High School Career Counselors

  • Decrease the student-to-counselor ratio, require regular professional development for school counselors and ensure academic coursework align with students’ desired career pathways.
  • Explore modification of counselor licensure to differentiate career counselling from social/emotional counselling.
  • Require school counsellors to advise students in middle school (6th, 7th and 8th grades) of their eligibility to enroll in various state financial aid programs.

Superintendent of Public Instruction
Support the appointment of the Superintendent of Public Instruction by the Governor to oversee Indiana’s K-12 education system.

Reform Accountability
Develop consistent evaluation of existing education reform measures to ensure desired outcomes meet expectations.

Autonomy
Provide school districts flexibility to pay teachers based on high need and specialized subject matter areas. Empower local education officials to make administrative and structural decisions affecting individual school performance, including the option to extend school hours, merit pay options, providing voluntary alternative retirement benefits options such as defined contribution plans for new teachers.

Charter Authority
Expand the authority of the Mayor of Indianapolis to charter Pre-K educational institutions and require local public hearings for the re-chartering of schools attempting to switch charter authorizers after a charter has been revoked.

Indianapolis Public Schools
Maintain a flexible management model that would allow IPS to enter into facility-specific management contracts to enhance delivery of high-quality education throughout the district.