2018 Legislative Priorities

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Already a leading advanced industry economy among major metros, Indy’s high-tech hot streak shows no signs of slowing down.  Our competitive business climate and appealing quality of life helps us best most Midwestern peers in population growth and job creation.  We’re a crossroads of global trade with a quickly-improving climate for local start-ups.

The Indy Region is open for business.

We have plenty to celebrate but no time for complacency.  The Indy Chamber’s 2018 Legislative Agenda challenges lawmakers to create an even more welcoming environment for new investment, employment and innovation here in the state’s largest region.

We need an open door to new talent, with open-minded and inclusive public policy: Indiana’s overdue for comprehensive statewide anti-discrimination laws and tougher penalties for bias crimes.  And we must push the doorway to employment open wider for veterans and ex-offenders seeking a fresh start.

We have to invest in homegrown talent, too.  We urge the General Assembly to open access to early learning for more families in financial need, expanding public funding for pre-K and implementing full-day kindergarten by age 5.  And for older students poised to enter the workforce, let’s create more college credit options for job-readiness and real-world experience.

Because an open flow of commuters and commerce across county and city borders helps us thrive as a region, we need to reform the way we distribute local tax revenues to support regional growth.  It’s also time to reform township finances, use open data to improve public service and end politically-driven redistricting to make government more effective and accountable.

Local flexibility is important for economic development, and state incentives should evolve with our economy as well: Minor policy changes to support micro-lending, clarify tax exemptions for software firms and encourage entrepreneurship and university R&D can have a major impact.  Indiana also needs tools to incentivize brownfield redevelopment, attracting investment and jobs to formerly underutilized eyesores.

There’s one area we should firmly close: tobacco sales to young Hoosiers.  Raising the smoking age – and the state cigarette tax – can cut healthcare costs and boost workplace productivity, leading to a healthier Indiana economy.

Read on for more details on our agenda for economic development and community redevelopment, workforce, infrastructure and more.  Across these priorities, our message to the General Assembly is clear and consistent: Indy will continue to be Indiana’s economic engine – keep our region open for business, and open up new opportunities for our people, employers and communities.

Connie Bond Stuart
Regional President – PNC Bank
Chair – Indy Chamber 2018 Board of Directors

Michael Huber
President & CEO
Indy Chamber

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