Issue Statement for Catalytic Leadership: The role of 1si in promoting a fiscally-stable, business-friendly environment transcends local, regional, state and national issues. Our members and investors support our leadership as a change agent to further our organizational mission. Through our leadership and advocacy initiatives, we promote positive change by serving as the “Champions of Ideas” to achieve economic and business vitality for the region. Additionally, we strive to provide for our investors and members access to policy makers through forums, roundtables and one-on-one meetings.
February 23 Advocacy Leadership Update:
- Budget Bill includes $150 million for Regional Recovery – Remember the Regional Cities program we watched pass us by in 2015? Well, we may have a second chance for our share of state resources dedicated to regional projects if HB-1001 (the budget bill) passes in its current state. The Governor’s Next Level Regional Recovery program will award grants to regional development authorities for to support economic regional recovery.
- Small Business Restart Grants – Last month HB-1004 passed the full House by a vote of 93-3! If approved by the Senate, this action will establish the Hoosier Hospitality Small Business Restart grant program to provide grants to eligible entities to accelerate economic recovery from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. An eligible business may apply for a grant under the program for reimbursement of up 80% of non-payroll business expenses and 100% of payroll expenses incurred between March 1, 2020, and April 1, 2021, up to $50,000 total. Up to $30 million can be allocated to this fund through the budget process.
- COVID-Related Liability Protections – 1si’s top priority for this session were COVID-related risk reduction and recovery efforts. SB-1 quickly passed and was sent to the House. The two chambers conferred on agreed bill to protect business, public bodies and venues against liabilities related to COVID 19 transmission. Governor Holcomb signed the bill into law on February 11!
- Broadband Support – Many broadband bills are still alive! Several bills were filed and designed to increase and enhance the reliability and affordability of broadband service are scheduled for hearings this week, and several others are moving. The specific bills – some of which incorporate other filings – include HB-1449, SB-359 and SB-377. 1si is on record to support broadband enhancement and we expect to see movement on this issue this session.
- Wetlands Regulation – SB-389 has passed the full Senate 29-19 and is crossing the hallway to be taken up by the House of Representatives. If approved, this will repeal the law requiring a permit from IDEM for wetlands activity in a state-regulated wetlands, leading to enhanced development opportunities. 1si supports this Bill.
- Local Economic Development Tools – 1si continues to support economic development as a priority. As we partner with local governments to attract, expand and retain jobs and investment, we support protecting and enhancing existing economic development tools, including:
- Tax Increment Financing. We will continue to look for ways to encourage flexible and responsible use of TIF to maximize the needs of our growing businesses. Bills addressing TIF include HB-1187, HB-1249 and SB-408.
- Certified Technology Parks. Giving greater flexibility for state certified technology parks (CTPs) is the intent of SB-213. We support CTPs and the enhanced use proposed by this bill, which is scheduled for a hearing this week.
- Enterprise Zones. As presented, HB-1025 outlines the process for extending Enterprise Zones – a valuable economic development tool – by an additional five (5) years.