Legislative Agenda

2017 Legislative Agenda

Annually, GFW Inc.’s board of directors presents key legislative priorities through publication of the legislative agenda. The agenda provides policy positions on top issues that affect the business community. Download PDF version

GFW Inc. is focused on attracting new businesses to our community, helping our existing businesses grow, and creating best-in-class amenities to attract and retain talent. We encourage creative uses of resources to improve quality of place, maintain infrastructure, and provide an environment for businesses to succeed.

  • Support the updated Downtown Blueprint plan
  • Encourage the passage of the .05% CEDIT, which will generate $4 million per year to support riverfront development
  • Support the advancement of the Downtown Event Center, Riverfront Promenade, The Landing, GE redevelopment, and STEAM Park developments to build best-in-class amenities to attract and retain talent and business
  • Support infrastructure investment for economic development purposes to achieve development-ready sites
  • Support local revenue enhancement opportunities to give communities the tools to adequately fund capital improvement projects to grow jobs, grow wages, and grow the economy
  • Create a dedicated funding source for the Regional Cities Initiative to enhance local quality of place
  • Allow for more flexibility in the Regional Cities program to enable the program to grow and fit the needs of the different regions
  • Support the growth of tourism in Allen County through a 1% increase to the current Allen County Innkeeper’s tax rate with monies dedicated to Visit Fort Wayne to attract more national conventions, adaptive sporting events, and visitors
  • Maintain economic development tools and innovative programs such as TIF, Enterprise Zones, CReD, and Tax Phase-Ins to increase economic growth and prosperity
  • Support a local option sales tax that could generate $24 million through a local voter referendum for specific community projects that includes a sunset date
  • Support the repeal of the Medical Device Tax

Our airports, highways, railways, public transportation, broadband, trails, and infrastructure are the core of our economic strengths. To live up to our reputation as a city at the crossroads of America, we must employ innovative concepts to traditional problems. GFW Inc. supports transportation and infrastructure projects and policies that reflect the needs of our region and strengthen the ability to do business.

  • Support local and state road funding for projects identified with our local and regional partners
    • Regional project – converting U.S. 30 to a limited-access highway to improve connectivity in Northeast Indiana
    • Local projects – Adams Center Road, Hillegas Rd., North Clinton to Diebold
  • Support the continued study of a passenger rail line that will run from Fort Wayne to Chicago
  • Support continued funding of the Public Mass Transit Fund to support the public transportation needs of workers and employers
  • Support increased accessibility to broadband
  • Create a state dedicated funding source for airport capital construction projects
  • Support the utilization and expansion of air service in Fort Wayne. In a global economy, it is essential for Fort Wayne International Airport to maintain and expand air service to business destinations
  • Support the conversion to the F-35 at the Guard Base

Entrepreneurs are the core driver of new, emerging growth businesses.  This is the basis for a growing economy in which businesses can become national industry leaders. GFW Inc. supports programs that promote entrepreneurship, accelerate the growth of innovative business, and enhance the development of early stage industries.

  • Support the creation of development-ready business and industrial sites, including funding the Northeast Indiana Innovation Park site improvements and funding for the Downtown Trust to expand shovel-ready sites in downtown Fort Wayne
  • Support creating accelerator and co-working spaces downtown that offer incentives, space, and resources to start a business
  • Strengthen state and local resources to support a robust entrepreneurial support system in Allen County
  • Support the ability for Certified Tech Parks to provide resources for entrepreneurs and startup companies by increasing the $5 million dollar TIF fund cap
  • Recouple with the federal Domestic Production Activity Deduction which would allow Indiana manufacturers to claim the deduction against their state taxable income for all manufacturing that occurs in the state
  • Make the Venture Capital Investment Tax Credit transferable to incentivize investment in Indiana

Businesses depend on a qualified workforce with the knowledge and skills needed for today’s high tech jobs. GFW Inc. supports education and workforce policies that prepare students to be college- or career-ready, provides advanced training for current employees, and promotes collaboration among education institutions and business.

  • Align academic accountability standards for K-12 schools with the needs of the community
  • Support legislative initiatives for early childhood education programs including expanding the pre-K pilot program
  • Support Ivy Tech’s request for $17 million for capital improvements to Harshman Hall
  • Support equitable funding for public higher education institutions including adjusting the funding matrix to account for longer completion rates for regional campuses and rewarding IPFW for degrees granted in STEM fields
  • Support unique STEAM educational opportunities, to allow students to connect school room education to real-world applications
  • Support workforce development initiatives that provide training and education that aligns with the needs of employers including Skill-Link and On-The-Job training programs
  • Maintain Skills Enhancement Fund appropriation for small business
  • Support our community educational institutions from pre-K to post-secondary as they strive for educational excellence

Businesses depend on a strong, stable, and vibrant community. Government can create a premier business environment by minimizing unnecessary regulations and providing sustainable and efficient high-quality services. GFW Inc. will continue to collaborate with our government officials at all levels to move our community forward.

  • Support ordinances that require more efficient and effective permitting improvements in Fort Wayne and Allen County
  • Encourage efforts to diversify the key revenue sources financing local government in Allen County, and support creation of legislation to expand voluntary efficiencies for local government units
  • Support tax reform that fixes an overly complex tax code
  • Oppose overreaching administrative rule-making that unduly burdens small businesses
  • Reduce regulatory burdens on community banks and credit unions
  • Support changing the definition of full-time employment to 40 hours in the Affordable Care Act