With education issues at the forefront, state legislators return to Indianapolis to set Indiana’s course for the next two years.
The 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly kicks off January 6 with the legislature required to craft a two-year budget and poised to put in significant work on education. The state’s strong fiscal footing and low unemployment have given way to a shared focus between the governor and legislators on building opportunity for the next generation of Hoosiers.
Questions about early childhood education, career readiness and the delicate balance of funding between rural, urban and suburban school districts will be thoroughly debated between now and adjournment in April. While the Indy Chamber’s 2015 legislative agenda stakes out positions on these and many other education-centric issues, they are part of a broad focus on readying the Indianapolis regionfor continued growth and strengthening its ability to attract investment and talent.
Support for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation’s (IEDC) Regional Cities Initiative gets top billing and goes hand-in-hand with a continued call for equity in local government funding. The former is the strongest recognition yet of the importance of metropolitan hubs in bringing jobs and population to our state.
Marion County in particular generates a significant portion of state tax revenue and must have greater means to maintain current assets and make ongoing, strategic investments in quality of life – investments that aid in attracting capital investment and allow it to remain Indiana’s primary economic engine.
Far from advocating for special treatment for our city, the Indy Chamber believes it is critical for all of Indiana’s regional centers to build places where workers want to move and families want to stay. Capturing revenue from individuals who live in one community but work and utilize services in another should be part of the discussion this session and moving forward.
In the wake of unprecedented local progress regarding early childhood education and mass transit, the Indy Chamber will continue to seek dedicated funding for both at the Statehouse, working to ensure these initiatives remain part of a comprehensive approach to increasing economic opportunity in our city and region.
Elsewhere, both parties have pledged to work together on ethics reform despite mostly different opinions on the future of the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s office, and the potential end of Indiana’s ban on Sunday alcohol sales should receive spirited debate.
We look forward to being strong advocates for the regional business community on the priority issues outlined here. Stay tuned for weekly updates in the coming months about how you can help the Indy Chamber build a foundation for the future of our regional business community.
Join the conversation on Twitter @IndyChamber! For questions regarding the Indy Chamber’s advocacy efforts, please contact Vice President of Government Relations Mark Fisher at email@example.com or 317.464.2291.