Indiana Forum (Forum) hosted a reception at the Sand Creek Country Club on
May 20 to provide regional business leaders an opportunity to hear from the
region’s state legislative delegation on the status of bills sponsored
during the 2019 legislative session.
panel included Sens. Ed Charbonneau and Eddie Melton and State Reps. Earl
Harris Jr., Mara Candelaria Reardon, and Ed Soliday. The panel moderator was
president and CEO of the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority,
Spero Batistatos, who also serves as chair of the Forum’s Public Policy
The panel discussed
centered on the following bills:
of data centers.
infrastructure assistance fund and program.
omnibus/permit by rulemaking.
--SB4: Water and
The Forum said that
it played a significant leadership role in encouraging regional development
of the new Redevelopment Tax Credit (SB563), which expanded the current
Industrial Recovery Tax Credit (DINO) to provide an incentive to invest in
former industrial sites and improve quality of place in the region. This new
tax credit also removes some of the building specifications by eliminating
the requirements be an “industrial site” and at least 100,000 square feet.
“These bill changes
perfectly align with the initiatives set forth in the Ignite the Region --
Northwest Indiana’s Strategy for Economic Transformation,” Forum President
and CEO Heather Ennis said.
Forum’s 2019 legislative agenda:
--Expand & Protect
Economic Development Incentive Tools: The Forum recognizes that economic
development tools are critical to the attraction, retention and successful
competitive decisions regarding expansion to regional businesses. These
tools should continue to be enhanced while allowing consideration for
flexible local control.
Improvements: The Forum recognizes the need to provide long term planning
and funding of local and state infrastructure projects as critical
components to the success of economic development. Such projects should
include, but are not limited to, roads, water, wastewater, fiber optics,
ports, airports and brownfield redevelopment.
Development: The Forum supports providing public funding for assistance to
businesses for training, maintaining and upgrading the skills of new and/or
incumbent employees. Programs like Next Level Jobs should be built upon to
continue to grow our workforce.
Forum supports those measures necessary to ensure that environmental
decisions are managed in a legal, scientific, timely and clearly understood
manner for all stakeholder groups.
for the Regional Cities Initiatives Grant Program: The Forum understands
that quality of place is essential to a community’s ability to attract
talent and talent is critical to attracting investment. Initiatives such as
Regional Cities should continue to be funded to encourage creative thinking
about place and regional assets.