Economy Politics

Louisville’s chamber of commerce has released its 2018 Legislative Agenda for Kentucky and Indiana. Greater Louisville Inc. is prioritizing five issues: business competitiveness, environment and energy, transportation and infrastructure, education and workforce development, and health care.

The group is also working on a bi-state initiative that aims to create a 15-county region to work together to accelerate regional economic growth.

GLI Chief Operating Officer Sarah Davasher-Wisdom said one of the issues important to the organization is getting more nurses to work in the region.

“A vital step in alleviating this challenge is passage of the nurse licensure compact in Indiana, which would allow registered nurses to practice on both sides of the states,” she said.

Davasher-Wisdom said an educated workforce is needed to attract companies like Amazon to the area.

“Our employers tell us they struggle to find people who can show up on time and pass a drug test, among other basics needed to function in today’s workplace.” she said. “This is a significant barrier to growing our regional economy.”

GLI also plans to lobby for expanding gaming and restoring the gas tax to a higher level per gallon. In the past, the group has pushed for so-called “right to work” legislation and repealing prevailing wage laws. GLI has also called for charter schools, expanded gaming and changes to the state’s tax code.

Here are some details of GLI’s 2018 legislative agenda, per the group:

Business Competitiveness

Expand Gaming – Expanding gaming will create new jobs and grow our economy. The tax dollars derived from gaming can improve our education system, build infrastructure that promotes economic growth, and unsure the long-term stability of the state budget.

Environment & Energy

Investment In Energy Infrastructure – Development of “green” infrastructure, including green building construction and rehabilitation, green roofs, and the expansion of tree cover in urban areas through partnerships and incentives, is critical to Louisville’s growth and future quality of place.

Transportation & Infrastructure

Investment In Quality Water & Sewer Infrastructure – To avoid catastrophic loss and damage, resources are needed to repair and modernize the Louisville and Jefferson County’s flood Protection System. Storm water conservation efforts such as pervious pavement should also be included in these efforts.

Education & Workforce Development

Choice In Schools – GLI applauds the legislature and the Governor for signing the public charter school bill in 2017.

Healthcare

Medicaid – Overspending in Kentucky’s Medicaid system leaves fewer and fewer resources for important initiatives like education and economic development. Kentucky must continue moving forward with implementing Medicaid spending reforms without inflicting excessive harm on Medicaid recipients and health care providers.

Bi-state

Invest In Parks – GLI continues to support its park systems and the need to further develop and maintain these public spaces. Investment in Louisville’s park systems, including Waterfront Park, has directly spurred millions of dollars in economic impact ranging from restaurants and events and tourism to residential/business development and renovations.

To see GLI’s complete legislative agenda for 2018, go here.

 

Roxanne Scott covers the economy for WFPL News.