The past year has tested Central Indiana businesses as never before – struggling with the economic consequences of a global pandemic, shouldering the burden of operating safely for their employees and customers, and serving a community working to heal its divisions.
The Indy Chamber’s 2021 Legislative Agenda includes proposals for helping employers reopen safely, with the resiliency to succeed in the post-COVID recovery. Our agenda acknowledges that this recovery will be fueled by a skilled and diverse workforce, participating in a more equitable economy.
A more competitive business climate demands economic development and workforce programs supporting high-wage, advanced industry job growth, and investments in transit and housing incentives for the employees seeking these opportunities. It requires regional cooperation that recognizes the unique challenges faced by Indiana’s largest business district – downtown Indianapolis.
The COVID pandemic has also elevated public health as a policy priority, as the virus exploits many of the same chronic ailments and health conditions that have undermined Indiana’s workforce participation and productivity for decades. Raising the state cigarette tax to invest in the health of Hoosiers is an overdue response to an urgent concern.
Public health outcomes also reflect racial disparities, as systemic bias shortens lifespans as it limits economic mobility. This Legislative Agenda continues our emphasis on economic inclusion, with a more deliberate focus on racial equity. Inclusion must also be part of any blueprint for reducing crime; rebuilding trust between law enforcement and the neighborhoods it serves is crucial to our shared goal of a safer city.
Smart justice reform focuses on root cause issues like mental health, public oversight and transparency to increase community support for police, recognizing the challenges law enforcement face every day. Common-sense changes to bail and other administrative policies also serve our ultimate goal – enhancing public safety, not increasing number of Hoosiers in the system.
2020 has been a year of hardship for too many people and employers across the Indianapolis region, and the Statehouse won’t be the only source of solutions. But state policy must include long-term investments – starting in preschool and K-12 classrooms – that keeps Indy competitive and vibrant, the engine of Indiana’s economy and its tax base.
That’s why the Indy Chamber’s 2021 Legislative Agenda is an ambitious mix of prescriptions for managing the COVID crisis while looking beyond the pandemic – towards a more resilient, inclusive economy, ready to rebound into shared prosperity.
President & CEO, IU Health
2020-2021 Chair – Board of Directors, Indy Chamber
President & CEO