Oppose Health Care Mandates – The business community is eager to work with Congress to reform the health care system, however, current legislation would not improve the system, but jeopardize the parts of the system that currently work. There are three major areas of concern, they include: a government-run plan that would increase costs and limit choice; an employer mandate that would kill jobs and lower wages; and a lack of any real effort to lower health care costs. Specifically, oppose the section 9006 in the bill requiring a 1099 for all purchases in excess of $600 per year.
Infrastructure and Transportation:
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.
Reauthorize Federal Highway Funding - Enacted in August 2005, SAFETEA-LU authorized the Federal transportation programs for highways, highway safety and transit and was scheduled for reauthorization in 2009. Congress has failed to authorize a new bill. We urge Congress to carry out its business on this matter as quickly as possible.
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 the Knoxville Metropolitan Airport and ETAC in their quest to secure a low-fare carrier to McGhee Tyson airport to further encourage competition and lower fares.
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.
Oppose Fair Share Bills – Fair Share bills would mandate employers to spend a set amount on health care benefits. Instead of encouraging employers to manage health care costs, these bills actually encourage maintaining above average health care costs. Additionally, the bills do not address provider access to affordable health care insurance.
Environment & Energy:
Support Energy, Science and Technology – Support Innovation Valley efforts
Oppose changes in the National Ambient Air Quality Standards by EPA - The Blount County Chamber opposes any changes to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQSs) for ozone and particulate matter. Blount County is currently designated as non-attainment for EPA ozone and PM 2.5 standards along with six other counties in East Tennessee. Many changes have already been made to reduce emissions. The Chamber does not feel it is in the best interests of our nation for the federal government to lower current standards. Doing so could provide a major blow to our national economy and further encourage businesses to depart for other nations with less burdensome regulations.
Unsustainable spending habits and fiscal insolvency pose the greatest threat to our economic stability, freedom, way of life and future as a nation. We encourage Congress to make tough choices and cap spending at a sustainable level to help incentivize economic growth.