With the New Year comes a new legislative session! The Indiana General Assembly reconvened on Monday, January 6, 2014 and there is no doubt that many critical issues will be up for discussion and debate. As the voice of business, The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce will be monitoring and advocating for those issues that affect our member businesses.
The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce released its list of legislative priorities which the 1,100 member organization will monitor and advocate for during the 2014 legislative session. The five priority areas include business taxation and regulation, education, healthcare, infrastructure & job creation and local government advancement. Prepared by The Chamber’s Legislative Council and approved by the organization’s Board of Directors, the 2014 Legislative Agenda was presented at the organization’s Legislative Preview Luncheon.
As an advocate for business, The Chamber selected the five priority areas based on relevance and potential to impact the local business community. Member feedback received as part of the annual Business Climate and Legislative Survey, which was sent out to The Chamber’s full membership in early fall, was also carefully considered as the agenda was being crafted. The organization also considered priorities that they could realistically advance and impact through their advocacy process.
“The 2014 Legislative Agenda will guide The Chamber’s policy work through this year as we represent our members who have communicated their business issues and interests,” explains Jeb Conrad, president & CEO for The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce. “We believe by giving these five priority areas our full attention, we will help to strengthen our region’s economy and help our businesses succeed.”
The Chamber’s Legislative Council will actively continue to update, educate and involve members in its advocacy efforts during the upcoming legislative session through electronic communications like Advocacy Matters, Legislative Updates and The Chamber’s weekly newsletter Membership Matters. A Legislative Wrap-Up event is planned for April 11 after the General Assembly’s adjournment.
Formed in 2007, The Chamber’s Legislative Council was chartered by The Chamber’s Board of Directors to monitor the lawmaking process, aid Chamber staff in educating its members on legislative issues affecting business, and to help develop relationships with organizations and other chambers with shared interests. The volunteer Council, representing a diverse cross section of The Chamber’s membership, provides leadership and guidance on business issues at the State and Federal level.
For more information about The Chamber’s Public Policy & Advocacy efforts, contact Liz Irwin, Director of Advocacy & Public Policy at 812.336.6381. To download a copy of this year’s agenda visit www.ChamberBloomington.org.
2014 Legislative Agenda
BUSINESS TAXATION AND REGULATION: foster a pro-business climate to attract and retain businesses in Bloomington and Indiana
- Support the repeal of the medical device tax
- Support comprehensive tax reform efforts that lessen tax burdens on business
- Encourage regulatory reform efforts that lessen burdens on business and restore Congressional accountability in the rulemaking process
- Support a local option for exemption of personal property tax on new business machinery and equipment
- Support policies that empower businesses to attract and retain a world-class workforce
EDUCATION: Create educational opportunities to ensure an intelligent, high-skilled workforce
Preschool and K – 12 Education
- Emphasize importance of funding for early childhood education, preschool, and kindergarten
- Improve the school funding formula to focus on equitable per pupil funding and multiple student count days
- Promote the importance of STEM-related programs & career training
- Encourage development of entrepreneurship programs & vocational training for technical fields to develop a qualified workforce
- Encourage institutional innovation and flexibility to best meet student needs
- Encourage federal lawmakers to help close the innovation deficit by decreasing the gap in needed and actual federal investment in research
HEALTH CARE: Promote education and awareness opportunities that help local businesses manage their health care costs
- Educate members on developments of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
- Educate members on the plan(s) in the Federal Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace as details emerge (Note: The SHOP website will not be available until November 2014)
- Support continued enrollment in the Healthy Indiana Plan and continued waiver for and expansion of the plan in 2015
INFRASTRUCTURE AND JOB CREATION: Develop and maintain a superior state and local framework that supports the needs of business
- Prioritize ongoing construction and funding of I-69 , focusing on planning and design of Section 5
- Promote and protect Crane as a primary regional job provider
- Support policies that incentivize investment in rural telecom for gigabit connectivity
- Support development and implementation of a strategic water resource plan
LOCAL GOVERNMENT ADVANCEMENTS: Ensure that local services are delivered with the most effective and efficient administrative structure
- Support measures to increase accountability, transparency, and effectiveness of government at the local level