NE Indiana Leaders Want to be Heard in The Statehouse

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The 2019 legislative session began today. The 2019 legislative session began today.
FORT WAYNE -

A group of northeast Indiana government leaders is looking for more local control as it outlines its agenda for this year's legislative session. The Mayors and Commissioners Caucus of Northeast Indiana is focusing on areas including local decision authority on various taxes, increased transportation and bridge funding and more support for public health and safety. Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters, who is president of the caucus, says the organization has hired its first lobbyist as it looks to prevent state government from "nibbling around the edges" of local resources.

The caucus says its three policy priorities are:

  • Home rule and local control in areas including tax increment financing, business personal property tax, 911 fees, food and beverage tax, inkeepers tax and community mental health center designations
  • Initiatives to increase transportation and bridge funding including restoring local motor vehicle highway and local road and street distribution to 2016 levels, boosting and relaxing restrictions on the Community Crossings program and increasing the maximum threshold on the wheel tax and surtax
  • Public health and safety initiatives including repealing mandating level 6 felony offenders to stay in local communities if sentenced to jail, increasing criminal justice funding, increase Recovery Works funding, supporting enforcement of CBD oil guidelines, adding approved opioid treatment locations and boosting funding for regional mental health facilities

The 2019 legislative session began today and is set to run through late April. Peters says, for the first time, the caucus has contracted with a lobbyist so it can have "boots on the ground" at the Statehouse. He says the organization is looking to protect its resources, which he believes local governments know best how to spend.

The Mayors and Commissioners Caucus was founded in 2012 with the goal of being the voice of the 11-county northeast Indiana region at the Statehouse.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Peters said the caucus has already seen "tremendous successes."
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