State Legislative Agenda

Blount County Chamber of Commerce
State Legislative Agenda
2018

Economic Development:

Enhance infrastructure and training incentives and establish technology-driven incentives.
  • Enhance infrastructure and training incentives and establish technology-driven incentives.
  • Support local government’s ability to promote economic development and affordable housing through public/private partnerships (TIF, PILOT, and Housing Tax Credits)
  • Becoming a Top Destination for Data Centers. Data center projects are increasingly sought after as economic development projects because of their high-wage positions and large capital expenditures. Several states that we compete with for data centers have incentives that are more aggressive than ours, which keeps us off many short lists. By making the proposed changes suggested here, we will align our data center incentives with some of those competitor states and level the playing field.
There are two components to this proposal:
1. The minimum capital investment and jobs threshold required to qualify will be lowered to $150 million and 15 jobs (from $250 million and 25 jobs).
  • Cooling systems and backup power infrastructure will be added to the list of items that would be exempt from sales tax for qualifying companies. Currently those two items are not exempt.
2. Taxes, Exemption and Credits - As introduced, establishes a tax credit equal to 33 percent of the value of investments made in certain companies by an "angel investor" against the angel investor's Hall income tax liability. - Amends TCA Title 67, Chapter 2.E For tax years beginning January 1, 2017, and thereafter, there shall be allowed a credit of thirty-three percent (33%) of the value of an investment by an angel investor against the liability of such angel investor under this chapter in the tax year in which the investment was made.
  • Support the E Fairness rule that would allow for a more even playing field by requiring all out of state online only retailers with more than $500,000 in annual TN sales to pay state sales tax.
  • Oppose any legislation that would mandate a minimum wage.
  • Oppose any legislation that prohibits and/or restricts Industrial Development Board full authority to negotiate and implement payment in lieu of tax agreements.
Education & Workforce Development:
  • Protect the higher academic rigor and realistic scores implemented by the State Board of Education and insist on thorough updates from the First to the Top Advisory Council.
  • Support the reforms in the Complete College Tennessee Act of 2010.
  • Reject any proposal to allow for the election of directors of schools.
  • Oppose mandatory merger of schools systems and mandatory school start dates for local school systems.
  • Continue to support the Tennessee Promise, Drive 55 Program and the LEAP Grant Program.
  • Support legislative action that would allow insurance protection to employers in regards to internships for students under 18 years of age.
  • Support flexibility in high school curriculum in regards to University path or Technical path to allow students the specific skills they need to enter the workforce or secondary education.
  • Oppose any bills that would allow for the election of directors of schools.
  • Support Pellissippi State Community College’s application to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission for a portion of the funds ($11 million of $16.5 million) needed to construct a new Blount County Workforce Development Center on the Pellissippi State Blount County Campus. The 51,000 square foot Center will allow Pellissippi State Community College and the Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Knoxville to partner with Alcoa City Schools, Blount County Schools, Maryville City Schools, and local employers to address the deficit of needed skilled workers with a post-secondary credential to fill the anticipated 2,985 new advanced manufacturing jobs, 700 computer science job, and 435 healthcare jobs in Blount County.
  • Oppose voucher program that would result in public dollars being taken from local public education institutions and given to individuals to use for private school education or public school education outside of the designated educational jurisdiction.
  • WBL – Employer Liability, GAP between TN Promise & TN Reconnect
Workplace:
  • Support Right-to-Work Laws – Employment at Will.
  • Oppose any bills that resemble the recently defeated Employee Free Choice Act/Card Check – This legislation would strip employees of a private ballot in union organizing drives, interfere with a worker’s ability to deal directly with their employer and force unfair mandates on businesses.
  • Maintain business friendly conditions for Tennessee employers by continuing to improve the state’s Workers’ Compensation system.
Health Care:
  • Oppose mandatory health care requirements for employers and individuals.
  • Support Governor Haslam’s efforts in his Insure Tennessee plan.
  • Support any legislation for insurance expansion to cover proton therapy cancer treatments.
  • Opiate Use: support of refining real time reporting to law enforcement for opiate prescriptions by physicians, and pharmacies and pharmacists.
Infrastructure:
  • Support Completion of Pellissippi Parkway to Highway 321 - TDOT proposes to extend and construct Pellissippi Parkway from SR 33 to SR 73 (US 321). The completion of Pellissippi Parkway is approximately 4.4 miles. The project was included in TEA-21 as a high priority project.
  • Support completion of Alcoa Highway - The Alcoa Highway project consists of four different projects. The Blount Chamber supports the completion of the entire project which serves as the most direct route from Knoxville to McGhee Tyson Airport in Blount County.
  • Support funding for the completion of the Knox/Blount County Greenway to Townsend.
  • Annexation - Oppose any bills that take the annexation ability away from municipalities. This includes de-annexation legislation that would allow residents to initiative de-annexation that could lead to irregular boundaries that create confusion over provision of services.
  • Insure Tennessee - Continue to monitor the previously proposed legislation for Governor Haslam’s Insure Tennessee Program. Follow the proposed legislation and take action to inform and poll members should the need arise.
Tourism:
  • AirBnB. To support legislation that protects local governments from preemption of their zoning laws by AirBnB’s and ensure that any Airbnb does not possess any unfair advantage by not being assessed as a commercial endeavor and not paying all the applicable taxes an existing short-term enterprise would have to pay.