2020 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.

GFW Inc. is focused on attracting new businesses, helping 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 efforts to update the city/county comprehensive plan and develop a countywide economic development strategy
  • Support art and cultural institutions, as they are part of our community identity, attracting and retaining talent, leveraging tourist dollars, and helping sustain a positive quality of life for our residents
  • Support the advancement of quality-of-place projects such as Electric Works, phases II and III of Riverfront Development, North River development, Stellar Communities projects in east Allen County, and development of Arts Campus Fort Wayne to build best-in-class amenities that attract and retain talent and businesses
  • Support local revenue-enhancement opportunities to give communities the tools to adequately fund capital
    improvement projects
  • Rejuvenate neighborhoods by incentivizing investment in distressed properties, as vibrant neighborhoods are critical to our community’s growth
  • Support sustainable funding for Regional Development Authorities to encourage regionalism and promote the revitalization of distressed properties, enhancing quality of place
  • Maintain Indiana’s economic competitiveness by preserving and strengthening economic development tools such as Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and the Redevelopment Tax Credit
  • Attract investment by aligning economic development programs and Opportunity Zones
  • Support initiatives that increase available capital by attracting national investment and incentivizing the retention of homegrown capital within Indiana
  • Maintain and strengthen the federal programs for Historic Tax Credits and New Markets Tax Credits

To grow our economy, Indiana must invest in infrastructure—such as airports, roads and highways, railways, public transportation, broadband, and trails—that fuels business growth. GFW Inc. supports transportation and infrastructure projects and policies that reflect the needs of our region and strengthen the ability to do business.

  • Support converting U.S. Route 30 to a limited-access highway to improve connectivity in northeast Indiana
  • Encourage the continued study of a passenger rail line that will run from Fort Wayne to Chicago
  • Continue funding of the Public Mass Transit Fund to support the public transportation needs of workers and employers
  • Support initiatives that increase accessibility to broadband, as access to broadband is critical for economic development
  • Support the expansion of air service and air cargo in Fort Wayne—in a global economy, it is essential for Fort Wayne International Airport (FWA) to maintain and expand air service to business destinations
  • Support FWA’s terminal expansion project to increase capacity
  • Support the military presence in northeast Indiana, including maintaining a combat fighter mission for the 122nd Fighter Wing at the Fort Wayne Air National Guard Base

Entrepreneurs are the core drivers of new, emerging growth businesses. Their ingenuity 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.

  • Address the shortage of Class-A office space and industrial sites
  • Strengthen state and local resources for initiatives that promote innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Maximize the ability of certified tech parks (such as the NIIC) to provide resources for entrepreneurs and startup companies
  • Support initiatives to make Indiana a national destination for the development of autonomous vehicles, including leveraging our assets for testing facilities

Access to a diverse and talented workforce is critical to business growth. GFW Inc. supports education and workforce policies that prepare students to be college- or career-ready, provide advanced training for current employees, and promote collaboration among educational institutions and businesses.

  • Advance policies that will prepare all students to be ready to succeed upon graduation from high school, including early exposure to career opportunities, access to career and technical education programs, and increased post-secondary
    degree attainment
  • Align K-12 academic accountability standards with the needs of the community
  • Support legislative initiatives to expand access to early-childhood education
  • Support the ongoing efforts of higher-education institutions to provide high-quality education that matches the workforce needs of the community
  • Support workforce initiatives such as MadeByMe that connect educators and businesses to highlight the opportunities of
    skilled-trades careers to students
  • Support the Employing People with Disabilities Initiative which helps open pathways to employment by removing barriers for people with disabilities and introducing qualified applicants to ready-to-hire companies
  • Support unique STEAM educational opportunities, like STARBASE, to allow students to connect classroom education to
    real-world applications
  • Encourage initiatives that support the availability of additional workforce housing throughout the region
  • 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
  • Continue the Next Level Jobs Employer Training Grant that reimburses employers who train, hire, and retain new or current employees, and review wage requirements that would preclude businesses from qualifying for the grant
  • Oppose policies that would impede Indiana’s ability to attract and retain diverse talent
  • Make Indiana the state of choice for retiring military veterans

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

  • Support the continued effort for more efficient and effective local permitting procedures
  • Encourage efforts to diversify key revenue sources financing local government
  • Support legislation to expand voluntary efficiencies for local government units
  • Oppose overreaching administrative rule-making that unduly burdens small businesses
  • Address the increasing cost of health care benefits for employers
  • Support the permanent repeal of the federal medical device excise tax