2017 Policy Agenda

WORLD - CLASS INFRASTRUCTURE   

 

Build Tomorrow's World-Class Infrastructure
            
Indiana's geography positions us as a leader in logistics and transportation.  Declining gasoline tax collections result in immediate and long-range annual deficits in maintenance of local roads, highways and bridges.

             The Regional Chamber supports efforts to implement a sustainable funding mechanism that allows for construction and maintenance of world-class infrastructure,yet balances the need for new revenue with the state and federal tax burdens every Hoosier faces.

                                            (read more)  

 

Make Northeast Indiana A Reality
             
Northeast Indiana's 11 counties have formed the state's largest Regional Development Authority (RDA).  To maximize potential the RDA requires a consistent source of funding to encourage cross-country cooperation on infrastructure enhancements.  

              Regional Chamber proposal:

  • Give RDA member counties the option to adopt food an beverage tax of up to 2%
  • When the Food and Beverage Tax exceeds 1%, a portion of that overage be committed to the RDA

 


COMPETITIVE BUSINESS CLIMATE

   

Manufacturing Northeast Indiana Jobs
              
The manufacturing sector leads wage and job growth in our region.  Yet Hoosier manufacturers are denied a tax deduction available to competing Midwestern states.  They deduct a percentage of production costs on both federal and state tax returns.  Indiana's refusal to allow the production tax credit strips up to $41 million in capital that manufacturers could invest in competitiveness.  

          Regional Chamber proposal:

  • Allow 9% deduction against taxable state income for manufacturing in Indiana 
  • Eliminate barrier to investment by making Indiana tax law conform with competing states 

 

Enhance the EDGE Credit
               
Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) is a tax credit rewarding job creation and capital investment.  However, it applies only to employees living in Indiana - leaving Northeast Indiana employers unable to claim credit for jobs created if given to residents of nearby Ohio and Michigan.  This Places Northeast Indiana border counties at a competitive disadvantage.

          Regional Chamber proposal:

  • Allow EDGE credits for employees who live in states with tax reciprocity with Indiana

    

 Improve Northeast Indiana's Regulatory Environment
             
Indiana's employers face significant cost and operational uncertainty due to enforcement of state environmental rules and regulations, some more stringent than EPA standards.  This is complicated by inconsistent interpretations of law, shifting standards and unlegislated mandates.

               Regional Chamber proposal:                          

  • Limit Indiana Department of Environmental Management's (IDEM) authority to adopt criteria more stringent than corresponding federal regulation
  • Require all new regulations to be adopted General Assembly
  • Require IDEM adhere to specific language in rules, regulations and policies
  • Insist IDEM enforce only policies approved through recognized state and federal procedures

 

Fully Fund Indiana Grown  
                
Indiana imports an estimated 90% of its food annually.  Northeast Indiana agricultural producers compete side by side in retail establishments with out of state and international producers.  Supporting locally owned businesses and products is critical to strengthening Northeast Indiana's economy and tax base.

               Regional Chamber proposal:            

  • Appropriate $5 million in each biennium to fully fund a branding and marketing campaign designed to educate, unify, and revitalize the state's rural economy by creating an emotional preference for all Indiana agriculture products              

 

 

21ST CENTURY TALENT


Return and Complete Initiative
             
Studies show enhancing high-quality early education boosts social development and school readiness, reduces the high school drop-out rate, and increases adult earning potential.

                Regional Chamber supports these steps to enhance Indiana's pre-K pilot program established in 2013

  • Double the number of eligible counties from 5 to 10
  • Include more rural counties
  • Remove or reduce local match requirement
  • Introduce sliding income eligibility scale relative to federal poverty level
  • Increase accountability to encourage high quality early care                              

 

Reward Talent Made Here
             
Creating a workforce with 60% holding a degree or certificate beyond high school is key to upskilling Northeast Indiana's talent pool.  IPFW and Ivy Tech is critical to this effort and deserves fair treatment under the state's funding formula.

                 Regional Chamber proposal:

  • Increase funding per full-time equivalent that places IPFW in top 50% of state college and universities
  • Adjust funding matrix to reward 5 and 6 year degree completers at a multi-system metropolitan campus and Ivy Tech
  • Reward "high-impact" STEM degree completion at IPFW, as at IU, Purdue, Ball State and Ivy Tech.