The Indy Region is on an upward track. We are creating more jobs at higher average wages, attracting more talent with the strength of our economy and vibrancy of our quality of life, and raising educational attainment to compete in high-tech industries. We’re bringing in more investment and shipping out more global exports.
We’re keeping our sights high. But lofty goals are built on strong foundations.
Our legislative agenda invests in foundational issues. By giving more kids affordable access to quality pre-K, we’re creating a better base for our future workforce. By raising the smoking age and cigarette taxes, we can invest in public health and productivity – energy to work harder and build stronger.
A flawed foundation can erode bigger plans. Indiana is among a few holdouts without a legal stand against hate crimes. Building a diverse and competitive workforce demands fixing this outdated omission as well as extending equal protection to all Hoosiers.
Sometimes new opportunities rise out of old foundations. We need to incentivize and accelerate investment in brownfield sites, so real estate limitations don’t hinder redevelopment possibilities. And speaking of second chances, we continue to focus on helping ex-offenders rejoin our economy.
But above all, our people will power us towards our highest potential. We’ve highlighted early childhood education, but learning is a lifetime priority for a competitive workforce. Our agenda calls for smart investments and employer-driven policies, from K-12 to post-secondary and adult vocational programs.
Read on for more details on our legislative agenda – our blueprint for a stronger economy.
CEO, Elements Financial
Chair – Indy Chamber 2019 Board of Directors
President & CEO
Ensure children entering primary (K-12) education are academically, socially and emotionally prepared for success through high-quality, publicly-funded Pre-K programs; increased public investments should focus on those in financial need and support statewide access, while protecting funding and service levels in high-demand, high-capacity ‘pilot’ counties. Further, enact mandatory, fully-funded, full-day kindergarten by age 5 to create a consistent, quality early education pathway
Reinforce and enhance Indiana’s brand as a welcoming and diverse state by:
Support a statewide approach that encourages interlocal collaboration, allows catalytic investments in regional priorities, and creates a fiscal framework to fund essential services such as public safety and infrastructure
Support a comprehensive approach to increase the health, wellbeing and productivity of Indiana’s current and future workforce through supporting policies such as:
Accelerate community reinvestment and accessible employment opportunities in and around brownfield sites, driving economic development and maximizing property values by:
Convention, Sports and Tourism: Continue the momentum of Indianapolis’ convention and sporting industries by expanding current funding mechanisms. Leverage these resources to support expansion of the convention hotel footprint and prioritize existing facility investments. Provide for the sustainable operations of the Indianapolis Capital Improvement Board and support existing franchises, including the development of professional soccer
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
Local Incentives: Secure and maintain flexibility of local incentives for economic and community development efforts to encourage new growth and redevelopment of existing resources
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:
Advanced Telecommunications: Support efforts by telecommunications providers to transition their networks from old legacy technology to an advanced all-IP, all-mobile and all-cloud infrastructure
Regional Cities Initiative: Promote regional cooperation and strategic quality of life investments through the IEDC’s Regional Cities Initiative (RCI):
Stellar Communities: Support continued investment and rural communities and small towns across Indiana by strengthening and expanding the Indiana Stellar Communities program, emphasizing increased technical assistance and capacity-building towards brownfield remediation and redevelopment
Historic Rehabilitation: Increase state funding and incentives to encourage redevelopment and investment in aging commercial, industrial and residential properties
Shovel Ready Redevelopment: Support shovel ready community redevelopment efforts through the creation of a statewide grant program to fund the demolition of blighted commercial properties
Revitalization Grants and 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
Food Deserts: Support innovative efforts to increase access to healthy food options to improve the health of Indiana resident and workforce
Local Roads and Streets: Ensure adequate funding for local roads and streets, while maintaining equitable funding for urban and suburban areas by accurately accounting for lane miles in the infrastructure funding formula; and further:
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
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 of greenways and bike lanes for local communities
Mass Transit: Restore a dedicated funding stream for the Public Mass Transportation Fund (PMTF) to account for increased participation and demand of transit agencies throughout the state
Shared & Personal Mobility: Capitalize on rapid advances in personal mobility and transportation by making new mobility options safe and accessible for Hoosiers, and positioning Indiana as a center of innovation for mobility solutions:
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
Short-term Rental: Require short-term rental platforms to collect and remit local innkeepers’ tax; dedicate these dollars to accelerating, expanding and sustaining community strategies to combat homelessness and panhandling
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
Redistricting Reform: Support non-partisan redistricting reform that increases and encourages competition of ideas, decreases polarization in legislative and congressional districts, accurately reflects historic trends in statewide elections and maintains communities of interest and adheres to local political boundaries
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: Continue support of the state’s Management & Performance Hub to foster a more transparent, innovative state government, and encourage local governments to create Offices of Innovation to drive policies that similarly inspire open data, transparency, and efficiencies that can result in greater economic activity and workforce development
Employer-Driven, Sector-Specific Workforce Development: Build off of the recent work to better align state secondary education, workforce and economic development strategies that promote transferability, stackability, and permeability of credit awarding curricula
Work Opportunity Tax Credit: Support Hoosiers entering the workforce through the creation of state tax incentive which mirrors the Federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit (FWOTC) program focused on ex-offenders and the long-term unemployed
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: Support policies that promote reintegrating ex-offenders into the workforce and economy by:
Nurse Licensure Compact: Support licensing reciprocity between states to fill critical nursing shortages
Next Level Jobs: 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
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
Superintendent of Public Instruction: Accelerate the appointment powers of the Governor to 2021
STEM: Support dedicated funding and policies to deploy high-quality classroom science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curricula and STEM-focused professional development for the educators. Specifically, emphasize access to computer science and engineering courses at the high school level to prepare graduates for college and career opportunities in high-demand STEM fields.
Also, explore the creation of incentives to retain recent STEM-degreed individuals committed to remaining in-state for five years
High school Career Counselors:
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
Financial Literacy: Promote financial literacy education through existing k-12 curriculum requirements and encourage the DOE to develop sample curriculum for local schools to implement
School Funding: Support the inclusion of the second count date for the k-12 funding formula to ensure schools are able to adequately accommodate changing student populations throughout the school year
Teacher Pay: Support efforts to increase teacher pay from the state to local school districts