Commuter tax part of Indy Chamber’s legislative agenda

The Indy Chamber announced Monday a legislative agenda that includes support for mass transit and a commuter tax, among other items.

The chamber said its long-term strategy “involves an intense focus on work force development and investment in quality of place.”

The chamber said it will support the following:

— Regional Cities Initiative, quality of life investments advocated by the Indiana Economic Development Corp. to enhance Indiana as a magnet for jobs and talent.

— Equity in local government funding, a statewide strategy to equitably distribute revenue to communities from those who work, recreate and consume in those respective localities to pay for the investments and services that make these activities possible.

Related to equity in government funding, the chamber supports creating an incremental Local Option Income Tax that would remain in the county of employment. Chamber CEO Michael Huber began discussing the need for Indianapolis to have a commuter tax as long ago as January. The agenda released Monday, however, doesn’t single out Indianapolis.

— Early childhood education, the development of publicly funded, outcome-focused, pre-Kindergarten programs and mandatory, fully funded, full-day kindergarten.

— Mass transit, a regional multi-modal transit system and the restoration of a dedicated funding stream for the Public Mass Transportation Fund to enhance mass transit throughout the state. The Legislature passed a bill this year that authorized a regional transit system, but it did not mirror the Indy Connect plan promoted by the chamber and other advocates.

— Water, the creation of a statewide coordinating body to ensure sustained economic opportunity through responsible management of water resources.

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