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Chamber announces legislative positions

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The Board of Directors for the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce has identified these Regional priorities for the 2017 Legislative session:
 
TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE: 
  • Support increasing the state fuel tax and indexing for inflation.
  • Support that all money raised through fuel tax is directed to construction, repair and maintenance of roads and highways rather than being directed to the general fund.
  • Support that the sales tax collected on fuel is used for transportation.
  • Support that local road funding, like the wheel tax, is in addition to, not instead of, state funding.
  • Support the completion of US-31 to a limited access highway between Indianapolis and South Bend.
  • Support additional studies and funding for the South Shore Rail Line to reduce travel time between North Central Indiana and Chicago.
  • Support tolling of other limited access highways throughout Indiana to generate new revenue for construction, repair and maintenance of State’s transportation network.
 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT:
  • Support the continued focus and expansion of the Regional Cities initiative as a tool for enhancements throughout the state
  • Support the protection of economic development tools and innovative programs such as tax increment financing (TIF) districts, enterprise zones, and tax phase-ins  for local government entities
  • Support the expansion of high quality broadband internet connectivity to rural areas while maintaining affordability.
  • Support the vital RV industry by removing harmful barriers to fair competition, like the Indiana sales tax charged to out-of-state customers.
  • Support the creation of a Community Revitalization Enhancement District (CReED) to further improve economic vitality in the City of Elkhart.
EDUCATION & WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT: 
  • Support re-evaluating the A-F Grading of schools in Indiana
  • Ensure that private and or charter schools receiving public funds adhere to the same regulations and admission requirements as public schools.
  • Provide for state testing for Career Ready Expectations.
  • Support maintaining access to a strong dual credit system in Indiana High Schools.
  • Support expanded pre-kindergarten programs.
 LOCAL FUNDING OPTIONS: 
  • Grant all Indiana communities the same local revenue producing options currently granted to only a few. A local food and beverage tax is an example of a local tax used by some communities, but not available to all.
  • Uncouple the state-mandated use of the local option income taxes by empowering local governments to identify the area of greatest need.
  • As options for reducing tax impacts are reviewed by state government (such as Business Personal Property Tax repeal), state government should also ensure that comparable replacement revenues are included in the tax relief package.
  • Provide more transparency in collection of local income taxes to ensure all revenues return to the County of origin. Alternatively, let the local government collect the tax, like they do with the wheel tax.


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