Updates since the last report are indicated in red below.
- Civil Rights Legislation/Indiana Competes
- Issue- Indiana Civil Rights laws and the fallout from RFRA.
- Why it’s important - Businesses in Indiana want to attract and retain the best and the brightest employees. Plus, it’s important we retain our position as a state welcome to everyone.
- Our position – We support expanding the state’s laws to include wording that makes discrimination for sexual orientation and gender identity illegal. We have joined over 350 businesses and business organizations that support Indiana Competes.
- Update – February 3 - SB 344: was not given a vote, this bill is dead.
- Liquor License Permits
- Issue –The quantity of liquor licenses available in our communities.
- Why it’s important – Our communities want to attract more high quality restaurants to support increasing business and residential development. The current limitations on liquor licenses is making that difficult to impossible.
- Our position – We support the changes needed to increase the number of available liquor licenses and are encouraging further discussion of remedies.
- Update – HB 1118: This bill allows the alcohol and tobacco commission to issue a total of 10 new one-way, two-way, or three-way permits for on-premises consumption to the owner or proprietor of a restaurant in a municipality in Hamilton and Boone County. Additional permits are needed to accommodate development that has been slowed under the current system that allocates permits based upon population.
- Issue – There is a billion dollar state-wide funding gap for transportation infrastructure.
- Why it’s important – Quality and well maintained roads are important for attracting and retaining businesses. Currently Indiana does not have sufficient funding streams in place allowing for the maintenance of our roads and streets.
- Our position – We support legislation that would provide sufficient funding for the maintenance and improvement of our roads and streets promoting business retention and development.
Update – There are two bills going through the legislature concerning infrastructure needs. The House passed HB 1001 which is an increase in the gas tax and cigarette tax and is proposed as a long-term solution for funding infrastructure needs. This bill now moves to the Senate. (see more)
SB 333: This bill distributes excess reserves to the State Highway Fund for road and bridge repair and would supply $1 billion in new infrastructure funding over the next 4 years. (see more) http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2016/bills/senate/333
OneZone supports increased funding as a long term solution for local roads and streets.
- Mass Transit
- Issue - Current state legislation requires a county wide referendum allowing for the collection of revenue to fund mass transit.
- Why it’s important – Many Hamilton County employers struggle to find employees and a reliable mass transit system would help by providing transportation for out of county workers.
- Our position - We support amending the Mass Transit Legislation allowing townships adjacent to a county/township that is voting on the referendum the ability to conduct the referendum vote in that township.
- Update – HB 1071: This bill supports our position (see more) https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2016/bills/house/1071
- Local Government Finance
- Issue - Local government entities are tightly regulated by state statutes in their operations.
- Why it’s important - Home rule is the ability of local governments to act independently from the state government allowing locally elected officials to exercise discretion with respect to government form, structure, functions, fiscal, and regulatory matters.
- Our position - We support allowing local government greater flexibility over their own structural and fiscal matters to address the needs of their individual communities.
- Update – Currently no legislation addressing this issue.
- Indiana Local Income Tax Reform
- Issue - Presently County Option Income Tax (COIT) revenue collected by the state is not returned to the taxing entity in a timely and accountable manner.
- Why it’s important – COIT revenue is an important funding source for local government.
- Our position - We support upgrading the collection and distribution of local income tax dollars improving the process.
- Update – Currently no legislation addressing this issue.
- “Big Box” Taxation
- Issue – A recent court ruling has put into question the method of accessing property taxes on large retail buildings.
- Why it’s important – A significant change in determining the market value of a retail building could have negative impacts on local government because it reduces tax revenues.
- Our position - We are monitoring legislation addressing the method upon which commercial property is assessed.
- Update – Carmel, Fishers and Hamilton County stand to lose tax revenue as property tax assessments shrink for big box stores. Property taxes for these national chains went down after a number of court rulings changed the way that they determine their tax bill. HB 1290 and SB 308 recognize and provide relief for the issue.
- HB 1290: (see more) https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2016/bills/house/1290
- Heard in Ways and Means Committee; no vote yet taken
- School Transportation
- Issue – Adequate funding for school transportation
- Why it’s important – In order to maintain the high standards that our public schools provide, adequate funding for transportation is critical.
- Our position - We support an extension of the waiver allowing schools to allocate funds into their transportation and capital projects funds and an eventual long-term solution to this issue.
- Update – Three years ago the legislature passed a waiver allowing schools to correct the funding issue that would eliminate transportation, this waiver expires at the end of 2016. SB 329 Extends this waiver for three additional years.