Business Organizations Weigh in on Marriage Amendment

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An additional pair of business-related groups in the state is joining a growing list opposing a proposed amendment to the state Constitution that further defines marriage. Greater Fort Wayne Inc. and the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce both say such a measure would jeopardize growth opportunities. December 12, 2013

News Release

FORT WAYNE, Ind. - Greater Fort Wayne Inc., the organization that serves as the single‐point‐of‐contact for economic growth and business services in greater Fort Wayne, has established its legislative priorities for 2014. At the top of the list are four key priorities: economic development incentives, single county Executive for Allen County, increased funding for the EARN Indiana program, and support for a different classification for Indiana University‐Purdue University Fort Wayne that recognizes its uniqueness in the State.

“We go through a process to establish our key priorities to best serve our investors and community,” said Mark Becker, CEO of Greater Fort Wayne Inc. “The business advocacy committee made recommendations to GFW’s Board of Directors, which supported the full recommendation of the committee. These issues will impact our educational systems and economic growth, which is why it is important for GFW to advocate for issues that affect the business community at the local, state, and federal level.”

Through GFW’s established legislative agenda, we support economic development policies that encourage development and job creation. Our community needs the tools to act quickly to game changing opportunities that will lead to job creation and economic prosperity. In order to increase the pace of quality job creation inAllen County, we must direct our resources toward building a community product that supports and attracts development. Our local governments must also continue to have access to tools necessary to turn economic

development prospects into projects.

Key agenda items for economic development that we support are:

-Single county Executive for Allen County

-Creating new and maintaining existing economic development incentives in order to strengthen Fort Wayne as a regional center

-Infrastructure investments to achieve development‐ready sites

-Riverfront development

-Available resources for entrepreneurs and start‐ups

-Streamlining the permitting process

Greater Fort Wayne Inc. is focused on building a business‐friendly environment that welcomes all aspects of diversity and talent to our community. After thoughtful discussion, the Greater Fort Wayne Inc. Board of Directors voted today to oppose House Joint Resolution 6, the constitutional amendment banning same‐sex marriage.

“We need to be competitive on a national level and be recognized as a community that thrives on diversity, innovation, and inclusion,” said Becker. “Such legislation hinders our ability to grow and prosper and could delay our vision of becoming a top metro center in the United States.”

GFW also supports access to affordable, high‐quality public education that will help keep talent in our community. Educational attainment is also a key driver of economic growth and prosperity. It is essential for businesses to have access to a qualified and skilled workforce.

Key agenda items for education and workforce development that we support are:

-Increase funding for the EARN Indiana program which provides financial assistance to employers who provide paid internships for qualified students

-A different classification for IPFW that recognizes its uniqueness in the state as a multi‐system campus equally affiliated with both Indiana and Purdue Universities

View the full legislative agenda online by visiting, www.GreaterFortWayneInc.com/Legislative‐Agenda.

About Greater Fort Wayne Inc.

Greater Fort Wayne Inc. is the new organization that unifies the Fort Wayne‐Allen County Economic Development Alliance and the Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce, serving as a single point of contact for economic growth in Greater Fort Wayne. Together, we're growing a more prosperous, vibrant community in Greater Fort Wayne. To learn more about Greater Fort Wayne Inc., visit www.GreaterFortWayneInc.com.

Source: Greater Fort Wayne Inc.

December 12, 2013

News Release

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce today issued the organization's position on the House Joint Resolution 6 (HJR‐6), the proposed amendment that would alter the definition of marriage within the Indiana Constitution. The position, drafted by The Chamber's Legislative Council with input from the Executive Committee and approved today by The Chamber's board of directors, opposes the state constitutional amendment and instead encourages the state legislature to focus on issues that have the potential to strengthen and attract business. A copy of the position is attached below.

Prior to releasing today's position, volunteers that serve on The Chamber's Legislative Council, Advocacy Council, Executive Committee and Board of Directors carefully considered the effects HJR‐6 would have on business. In addition to the negative impact on businesses' ability to attract and retain a talented workforce, concerns were also raised that the amendment would complicate existing benefits offered by several organizations. With a law already in place, they also found HJR‐6 to be redundant and would shift lawmakers’ focus from critical issues require attention during this session.

"The Chamber's principal role is to serve as the voice of business and to protect a favorable business climate for our area's current and future companies. HJR‐6 does not further economic or workforce development in our state, and could cause unnecessary challenges for businesses in terms of employee benefits," said Jeb Conrad, Chamber president and CEO. "This is not an efficient use of our representatives’ time or tax payer's money. For these reasons, the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce opposes HJR‐6."

The Chamber represents more than 1,100 businesses including Indiana University and IU Health‐Bloomington, organizations that have both opposed the amendment. Conrad adds, "The Chamber recognizes the concerns that many businesses have expressed and stands alongside others in our community and across the state in opposition to HJR‐6. We are proud that our vetting process has led us to today's announcement."

As an organization that represents nearly 1,100 businesses, The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce works daily to create better business and a better community. As the voice of business in Bloomington and Monroe County, we must weigh in on issues of importance as we advocate for area businesses.

The issue of HJR‐6, a state constitutional amendment, has far‐reaching consequences for businesses currently operating within our state and those that we might attract to locate here. The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce – through its Board of Directors and Chamber Advocacy and Legislative Councils ‐ has developed a position on this issue:

The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce joins Indiana University and leading Indiana employers, as well as the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce and business organizations across the state that oppose a constitutional amendment to define marriage in Indiana. House Joint Resolution 6 (HJR‐6) asks voters to choose, through a statewide referendum on the November 2014 ballot, to amend the state constitution to define marriage as strictly between a man and a woman. The Chamber believes that adding this amendment to the state’s constitution is both unnecessary and disruptive. The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce opposes HJR‐6.

Attraction and retention of talent is a primary economic development goal for the State of Indiana. Indiana