Lebanon Valley Chamber 2016 Public Policy Agenda
The Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce is an active leader and partner in maintaining and enhancing the quality of life and economic vitality of the community. With past successes, the Chamber is optimistic about the future of the Lebanon Valley and its increasing opportunities to be competitive and grow responsibly while still maintaining the nature beauty, heritage and traditions of the community.
The Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce promotes a favorable business climate by working with elected and appointed officials and community organizations and agencies across all levels of government to support favorable public policy initiatives while opposing those that would negatively impact our members. The following are the priorities the Lebanon Valley Chamber sees as areas that we will focus our time and advocacy resources in 2016:
1. Community and Economic Development
The Lebanon Valley Chamber supports an aggressive, smart and responsible economic development strategy. Long term growth, family sustaining jobs and wages must be cultivated from a multitude of facets including organic growth of already existing employers as well as recruitment and cultivation of businesses not yet in the Lebanon Valley.
Recognizing we have aging infrastructure throughout the region, we support strong infrastructure development and investment strategies including those that foster the development of traditional and alternative energy sources conducted in a responsible manner, those that ensure strong and secure delivery of our utility systems, and those that support a strong multi-modal transportation infrastructure that also responsibly implement recent federal and state actions.
The Chamber supports smart growth strategies that consider the amenities, services and infrastructure that will attract multiple generations to the area for the quality of jobs and quality of life that can be found in the community.
We support the City of Lebanon’s “Grow Lebanon 2020” Economic Development Strategic Plan as one catalyst to spur the Lebanon Valley’s economic climate.
The Chamber supports continued dialogue to address opportunities for further consolidation and collaboration of resources at the local government and school district level. By maximizing economies of scale and competitive advantages, the community can be served with better resources at a more cost friendly price.
2. Business, Tax and Regulatory Climate
The Lebanon Valley Chamber supports the passage of responsible balanced budgets at all levels of government that do not create further competitive disadvantages to its member businesses and organizations. We support actuarially sound pension reform initiatives on the state and municipal level that address the future needs and vitality of the systems. Short term fixes or failure to address long term sustainability of pension systems will continue to create uncertainty in the business community.
The Chamber supports reforms to the tax structure that support the creation and enhancement of a competitive environment. The transition to combined reporting or other multi nexus accounting systems will further decrease Pennsylvania’s competitive position.
We oppose attempts by government at all levels to impose undo regulations upon member industries and businesses including current efforts to overreach in the areas of agricultural production and financial services. Regulations should have a purpose and a clearly articulated benefit to consumers.
Healthcare costs continue to rise at unsustainable levels. To remain competitive and attract quality employees to our businesses and our communities, employers must be able to offer competitive and appropriate healthcare options while health care providers must have a predictable and sound regulatory climate from which to operate.
3. Education and Workforce Readiness
The Chamber supports appropriate and accountable funding to all levels of education, pre-K – 12, higher education and adult learning. Research shows, the more investment earlier in a child’s life, the more impactful and less funding is needed as they grow. A properly educated and skilled workforce that meets the needs of the employers in that community is a critical component towards quality of life and the community’s economic climate.
Recent Chamber Advocacy Positions
· Sponsored and participated in the PA Chamber of Business and Industry and Pennsylvania Association of Chamber Professionals (PACP) Chamber Day in Harrisburg
· Hosted multiple candidate forums and debates to provide a venue for the business community to learn about the candidates’ positions on key issues
· Created a legislative tab on the Chamber’s homepage to link to Chamber positions, the policy agenda, as well as Chamber partner links and positions
· Restarted its Public Policy Committee to review and recommend positions on local, state and national issues. To date, the Chamber has taken positions on three key issues:
o Opposition to the Department of Labor’s recommended changes to the overtime standard
o Support for the Coalition of Sustainable Communities’ changes to municipal pensions
o Support for the creation of a Business Improvement District (BID) in downtown Lebanon City
· Created the Chamber’s Public Policy Agenda highlighting key issues of importance to Lebanon that serves as the guidelines for policy positions
· Hosted various elected officials and Chamber partners for legislative updates and dialogue exchange
Chamber Advocacy Partners
The Coalition for Sustainable Communities: http://alleghenyconference.org/CSC/index.php
U.S. Chamber: www.uschamber.com