2019 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.

  • Encourage the continued efforts to update the county/city comprehensive plan and the Downtown Blueprint plan.
  • Support art and cultural institutions, as they are part of our community identity that attracts and retains talent, leverages
    tourist dollars, and helps sustain a positive quality of life.
  • Support the growth of tourism in Allen County through a one-percent increase to the current Allen County Innkeeper’s tax rate with monies dedicated to Visit Fort Wayne to attract more national conventions, sporting events, and visitors.
  • Support the advancement of the Electric Works redevelopment, riverfront development, the Landing, a downtown event center, and North River development (STEAM Park) to build best-in-class amenities to attract and retain talent and businesses.
  • Support local revenue enhancement opportunities to give communities the tools to adequately fund capital improvement projects.
  • Support the adoption of the Regional Development Tax Credit (RDTC). The RDTC would give every community a tool to
    promote the revitalization and redevelopment of distressed properties, enhancing quality of place.
  • Support direct appropriations of $150 million to fund the Regional Cities Initiative to encourage talent retention and
    attraction projects.
  • Create more flexibility in the Regional Cities Initiative to allow for more regions to incentivize quality-of-place projects and build on regional collaboration.
  • Secure and maintain local economic development tools such as Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to encourage new growth
    and respond to redevelopment opportunities.
  • Strengthen the federal Historic Preservation Tax Credits and New Markets Tax Credits.

To grow our economy, Indiana must invest in infrastructure that fuels business growth, such as airports, roads and highways, railways, public transportation, broadband, and trails. 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. 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 Lima to Fort Wayne to Chicago.
  • Continue funding of the Public Mass Transit Fund to support the public transportation needs of workers and employers.
  • Support increased accessibility to broadband.
  • Support the expansion of air service and air cargo 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 military presence in Northeast Indiana, including maintaining a combat fighter mission at 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.

  • Support the creation of development-ready business and industrial sites.
  • Strengthen state and local resources for initiatives that promote innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Maximize the ability for Certified Tech Parks 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.

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 the key revenue sources financing local government, and support legislation to
    expand voluntary efficiencies for local government units.
  • Support tax reform that simplifies an overly complex tax code while maintaining initiatives that promote and
    incentivize investment in local communities.
  • Oppose overreaching administrative rule-making that unduly burdens small businesses.
  • Support changing the definition of full-time employment to 40 hours in the Affordable Care Act.
  • Support the permanent repeal of the Medical Device Tax.

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 business.

  • Align academic accountability standards for K-12 schools with the needs of the community.
  • Support legislative initiatives to expand access to early-childhood education.
  • Support initiatives that encourage student participation in career and technical education programs.
  • Support Purdue Fort Wayne’s request for academic investment in faculty in three key areas of workforce need for the business community, aligned with the area’s target industries.
  • Support Purdue Fort Wayne’s $45-million capital request to construct a new advanced manufacturing and industrial technology building.
  • Support Ivy Tech’s capital request of $17.39 million to renovate Harshman Hall to create a center focused on student support services.
  • 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.
  • Maintain the Skills Enhancement Fund.
  • Oppose policies that would impede Indiana’s ability to attract and retain diverse talent.
  • Make Indiana the state of choice for retiring military veterans.