INDIANAPOLIS — Protecting employer decision-making regarding COVID-19 vaccines, expanding quality childcare options, and encouraging entrepreneurship highlight the 2022 legislative agenda from the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.
These priorities were among those unveiled today at the Indiana Chamber’s annual legislative preview in Indianapolis. A panel discussion featuring General Assembly leaders from both parties headlined the event.
“We continue to stress that employers are in the best position to make decisions on vaccination requirements that impact their workforces and work environments,” states Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar. “Whether that’s mandating or not mandating vaccines, the business should retain the authority to make that decision.”
Challenges pertaining to childcare are compounding problems related to a reduced workforce participation rate. Brinegar says the Indiana Chamber hopes to work with legislators to enhance the quality and improve the access and affordability of childcare.
“There are opportunities outside of the realm of health and safety – which obviously must be adhered to – that would streamline state regulations and incentivize an improvement in the quality of childcare programs,” Brinegar offers. “The lack of affordable, high-quality childcare across Indiana is one of the outside factors most negatively impacting attracting and retaining workers.”
Entrepreneurship remains an economic driver and another point of emphasis for the Indiana Chamber. Despite an otherwise attractive business climate, new business formation and net job creation are lagging in the state. The organization’s recent Indiana Vision 2025 Report Card revealed Indiana has dropped from fifth to 23rd in net job creation in firms that are at least six years old. This marks the first year since 2009 that Indiana ranked outside the top 20. Bottom 10 results remain in the rate of new entrepreneurs as well as employment at young firms.
“While we are pushing to continue momentum on the venture capital investment tax credit and our tech sector is emerging, we can do better by expanding the entrepreneur opportunities to be more inclusive,” Brinegar remarks. “Removing barriers for entrepreneurship among youth and the formerly incarcerated, for instance, need to be areas of focus.”
The list of Indiana Chamber top legislative priorities and objectives for the upcoming session are as follows:
- Oppose government mandates that prevent businesses from making autonomous decisions about vaccination requirements for employees
- Increase incentives for attracting remote workers to Indiana to help mitigate the projected losses to its workforce over the next decade (due in large part to Baby Boomers retiring and a lower workforce participation rate)
- Promote entrepreneurship in Indiana
- Enhance early childcare access and quality
- Strengthen college and career readiness for Indiana students
- Remove certain siting barriers for renewable energy sources
- Oppose any substantial change to the structure of the Indiana Tax Court as an independently operating judicial court of special jurisdiction
- Maintain and enhance Indiana’s attractive tax climate
- Expand research and development, manufacturing, testing and deployment of electric vehicles, which represent the future of the transportation industry
- Establish a cap on reimbursement for ambulatory surgical centers
A detailed rundown of the Indiana Chamber’s 2022 key legislative initiatives is available at www.indianachamber.com/priorities.