Chamber Assesses Midpoint of Legislation Session

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The Indiana Chamber of Commerce believes bills advancing at the Statehouse are in line with its long-range economic development plan. Chief Executive Officer Kevin Brinegar says the chamber is "cautiously optimistic" about the attention lawmakers are giving to several key elements of the Indiana Vision 2025 initiative. That includes bills dealing with the business personal property tax, long-term road funding and state-funded preschool for low-income families. February 7, 2013

News Release

February 7, 2014 (INDIANAPOLIS) — Coordinators of the Indiana Vision 2025 long-range economic development action plan are eying progress in the General Assembly that could help achieve several of the plan’s goals for advancing the state.

Indiana Vision 2025, released in early 2012, is a product of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and a team of statewide partners; it identifies 33 objectives in four driver areas.

“We are cautiously optimistic with the attention legislators are paying thus far to making sure the state has an attractive business climate, the infrastructure it needs and a properly educated and skilled workforce. These are key ingredients for job creation,” said Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar.

Among the 2025 legislative initiatives still in consideration for 2014:

• Eventual elimination of the business personal property tax (that reduction begins in House Bill 1001 and Senate Bill 1)

• Examination of long-term highway/road infrastructure funding mechanisms (via a study in House Bill 1104)

• State-funded preschool for students from low-income families, which will help reduce the achievement gap for disadvantaged populations (House Bill 1004)

• Development of a mass transit system for Central Indiana (Senate Bill 176)

In addition, the Indiana Chamber Foundation currently has two projects under way: a water study, with results to help drive a statewide water resource plan; and research on providing the most effective guidance counseling in K-12 schools.

Legislative objectives already achieved since Indiana Vision 2025 was announced include:

• eliminating the state inheritance tax (state law passed in 2013);

• reducing smoking levels (first statewide public smoking ban law went into effect in 2012); and

• becoming a right-to-work state (state law passed in 2012).

Brinegar emphasized that the 2014 priorities were reaffirmed as some of the plan’s most important at six regional forums that took place in December throughout the state. A total of 326 participants – business, government, education, community and non-profit leaders – attended these events.

Summary reports that contained consensus observations from the regional forums were recently distributed to participants.

Brinegar noted he was particularly pleased to see “a growing acknowledgement of the vital role entrepreneurs play in creating jobs and economic growth. Leaders in all regions recognize the need for artificial barriers to go away and for competition to be replaced by cooperation. That’s an important step and highlights the extensive collaboration that is vital for continued progress.”

Additional similarities exist across regions according to Brinegar. They include a focus on excellence in education (starting with preschool); closing the workforce skills gap through effective business-education partnerships; taking a stronger look at local government efficiency efforts; and not taking traditional infrastructure assets for granted while meeting current challenges for moving people and products.

“The real value of these forums is for regions across Indiana to share best practices and learn from each other,” Brinegar added. “Strategies and initiatives that prove successful in one location could provide valuable lessons for others in different regions. It’s about working together to make the local areas and ultimately the state stronger.”

More information about Indiana Vision 2025 and its progress is available at indianachamber.com/2025. Source: Indiana Chamber of Commerce