Friday, December 5, 2014

Governor, NKY Chamber to Discuss Economic Agenda for 2015

The NKY Chamber of Commerce met Wednesday to discuss priorities for 2015/Provided

On Wednesday, December 3, the NKY Chamber of Commerce unveiled their legislative priority agenda to an audience of business leaders, community advocates and members of the NKY Legislative Caucus. Where We Stand: 2015 Legislative Priority Agenda focuses on eight key items that give businesses the tools necessary to drive the Kentucky economy forward.

Wednesday's summit comes just weeks before Governor Steve Beshear's scheduled Government Forum luncheon later this month, where he will preview the Kentucky General Assembly's 2015 agenda, specifically highlighting issues facing Northern Kentucky, including the Brent Spence Bridge.

“Our policy development process is very in depth,” says Jim Parsons, attorney with Taft Stettinius and Hollister, and Chair of the NKY Chamber Business Advocacy Council. “We have experts from within the Chamber membership develop these policies followed by multiple layers of review to ensure only the most impactful positions make it to the final publication.”

The Chamber has also modified the advocacy approach in recent years. Narrowing the agenda to eight items allows for more concerted and more powerful regional approach.

“While there are certainly more policies we support, we’ve realized through more collaboration with our legislators that we can achieve better success as a business community if we identify the most important issues,” explains Chamber President Trey Grayson. This will be Grayson’s first legislative session at the helm.

“Last year’s success is proof. NKU’s Health Innovation Center, Gateway’s Urban Campus, and the Angel Investor Tax Credit have been long standing, community-wide priorities and they got done. We need to continue with that approach.”

The eight priorities are as follows:

  • Public-Private Partnerships (P3) – P3 injects private sector expertise and efficiencies into public projects. This can save time and money while shifting some level of financial, design, construction and operational risk to the private sector. 34 states already have the ability to utilize this tool and Kentucky should be next.
  • Local Option Sales Tax – This program gives more flexibility to local municipalities. Through a citizen vote, cities and/or counties can raise the sales tax a maximum of 1% to pay for predetermined capital projects, with the tax being removed upon completion.
  • Historic Tax Credits – Urban and rural communities alike can benefit from a modernized Historic Tax Credit program. By removing some of the current barriers, this process can be a more reliable tool for financing redevelopment projects.
  • Medical Review Panels – Each bordering state has protections in place to reduce the risk for healthcare providers. Medical Review Panels provide an added layer of accountability to review claims, will reduce costs to the healthcare system, and will make Kentucky a more competitive state for healthcare providers to do business in.
  • Innovation Districts – Building on the success of the Angel Investor Tax Credit, Innovation Districts are the next wave of entrepreneurship. In this proposal the state would match local, private investment to support a clustering of talent and resources. The Kentucky Innovation Network already provides the expertise and framework to ensure Innovation Districts succeed statewide.
  • Telecommunications Reform – Today, telecommunications infrastructure is as important as traditional infrastructure. If Kentucky intends to support industries like advanced manufacturing, informatics, and healthcare, we need the flexibility for investment into 21st century technology.
  • Postsecondary Outcomes-Based Funding – Currently, postsecondary funding is based on historical precedence. Approximately one billion dollars are being spent without any metrics for success. By establishing a fair starting point, implementing clear metrics, and rewarding universities for success, Kentucky’s postsecondary institutions can deliver the results the Commonwealth needs to compete on a global scale.
  • Comprehensive Heroin Plan – No issue has galvanized Northern Kentucky more than this epidemic. While there is no silver bullet, a comprehensive approach to treatment, law enforcement, education and protection will put the framework in place to combat the heroin epidemic.

To learn more about each of these priorities, you can view the virtual Where We Stand: 2015 Legislative Priority Agenda here.

Beshear will speak to the NKY Chamber at a Government Forum luncheon on Monday, December 22 from 11:30am-1:30pm at The Grand in Covington, KY (440 Madison Avenue).

- via NKY Chamber of Commerce

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