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Policy Points

Policy Points is a bi-weekly publication of the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce, providing insight and analysis of critical local, state and federal issues.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

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Next Vibrant Communities event October 18

Many of you have been involved in difference phases of the Vibrant Communities project. Please attend an inspiring program about how we can continue making Elkhart County a greater place. Vibrant Communities is bringing Dr. Katherine Loflin, an expert who has been nicknamed the City Doctor, for an event from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18, at the Crystal Ballroom.

You can find out more here and register for this free event.


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Holcomb signs health care repeal letter

Governor Eric Holcomb joined 14 other Republican governors on a letter urging the US Senate to support the Senate Republican plan to repeal-and-replace teh Affordable Care Act (aka: Obamacare). Here is a story.

Senator Donnelly and other critics say this will significantly cut funding to Indiana. The letter, however, says the use of block grants to the states is a better way to fund health care.

In Indiana, the issue to watch is the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) 2.0 program. This was established by then-Governor Mike Pence. It has been lifted-up as an example of how states can distribute Medicaid services. Currently, HIP is funded through the Affordable Care Act. Under the Senate proposal, that would be cut, but replaced with block grants. It is not clear if it will be an even trade. Probably not.

In the last session of the state legislature, House Republicans had proposed increasing the tax on cigarettes to fund roads (by offsetting the sales tax on fuel). The Senate Republicans would not agree. Their point was that Indiana may be looking for funding for health care in the near future. The cigarette tax would be a more logical source for health care funding than road funding. Stay tuned.


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Streamlining the state

If you have ever been frustrated dealing with a government office, image how maddening it can be when one government office has to deal with another government office. Lots and lots of forms on top of forms.

State Representative Douglas Gutwein is working with local governments to see what problems they are having with state government processes. Here is a story.

As long-time advocates for government efficiency, your Chamber is pretty excited about the opportunity to support government efficiency of government processes. This is the kind of issue our own State Representative Doug Miller likes to champion.

Maybe if this is successful, local government can join with state government to begin reforming the federal government.


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Indiana businesses leading tax reform efforts

President Trump must be serious about reforming the tax code, because he is involving people from Indiana. After all, we pride ourselves on our common sense and our ability to get things done. This story from the Indianapolis Star talks about the Hoosier businesses and leaders who are at the table for tax reform.

Nice to see our political leaders and our colleagues from the Indiana Chamber making the push.


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Clean your files day results

Your Chamber co-sponsored Clean-your-files-day this week, enabling businesses and residents the opportunity to bring old files downtown to be shredded for free. We are proud to report that Integra shredded a total of 18,890 pound of documents compared to just over 16,000 last year. 


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Online sales tax

Are you all planning to do some holiday shopping online? Are you planning to report your purchases on your Indiana tax form and send in the sales tax you owe?
The fact that online retailers do not have to collect sales tax is unfair to our local businesses that do. Your Chamber has supported efforts to level the playing field.

Not a new tax. Just a collection of the tax that local businesses have to pay.

Amazon.com, iTunes and other online retailers have begun to collect sales tax. But there are third-party vendors (Amazon uses a ton of them) who are not complying. This story is about a tax amnesty program designed to get some of these third-party vendors to pay their fair share.

Let’s be clear about this: Not a new tax. Just a collection of the tax that local businesses have to pay.

When Indiana came up with a tax amnesty program for income taxes, that became a source of revenue for the Regional Cities program.


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Visit our sponsor: Majority Builders

Upcoming Chamber events

For more information about these and other events, visit our website.


Sept 28, Housing for the Future - YP Luncheon, 11:30 am - 1 pm, McCarthy's on the Riverwalk, 333 NIBCO Pkwy, NOTE NEW LOCATION!

Sept 29, Biz-Ness Before Hours hosted by Indiana University South Bend, 7:30 - 9 am, Indiana University South Bend Administration Building, 1700 Mishawaka Ave, South Bend

Oct 3, Biz-Ness EXPO Booth Registration, 4 - 7 pm, Lerner Theatre, 410 S Main St, Elkhart

Oct 10 - 11, 10 Hour General Industry Safety & Health Program 2017, Matterhorn Conference Center, 2041 Cassopolis St, Elkhart
 
Oct 13, Paw Paw Wine Tour hosted by the Women's Council, Lemon Creek and Round Barn Wineries
 
Oct 17, Biz-Ness After Hours hosted by Christiana Creek Country Club, 116 W Bristol St, Elkhart
 
Oct 19, Career Day 2017 - Concord Junior High School

Oct 19, Intrigue, Inspire, IGNITE Elkhart County 2017,
 Crystal Ballroom at the Lerner, 410 S Main St, Elkhart
 
Oct 19, Lean 101 Workshop, Greater Elkhart Chamber, 418 S Main St, Elkhart


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