Local Legislative Agenda

2021 Blount County Chamber of Commerce
Legislative Agenda

Economic Development
To attract, retain and expand business in our region.

  • Support local governments' continued ability to promote economic development and affordable housing through public/private partnerships such as tax increment financing (TIF), payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) and Housing Tax Credits, and encourage the State of Tennessee to promote and support these efforts.
  • Enhance infrastructure and training incentives and establish technology-driven incentives.
  • Become a top destination for innovation by recruiting technology and research and development companies. Technology and research projects offer high-wage positions with large capital expenditures.
  • Oppose any legislation mandating a minimum wage.
  • Oppose any legislation prohibiting/restricting Industrial Development Board authority to negotiate and implement Payment in Lieu of Taxes agreements.
  • Encourage State officials to support rural development programs that do not directly or indirectly negatively impact the more developed and urban areas of the State.

Education & Workforce Development
To ensure a high-quality, capable workforce in the future.

  • Expand recognized industry certifications by the Tennessee Department of Education.
  • Clarify child labor laws as it relates to youth apprenticeships.
  • Remove the burden of utilizing TN Promise funds for dual credit and dual enrollment while in high school.
  • Exempt potential CTE teachers from the TN teacher certification standards.
  • Support continued implementation in elementary, middle and high schools of the TN Ready standards and assessments. COVID-19 has brought tremendous challenges to our school systems and our educators have gone above and beyond to meet the needs of our children amid the pandemic. As COVID continues to impact education, we will support student state assessments to accurately determine where our students are, and to assist in developing a plan for any students who may have fallen behind. And further, teachers should be held harmless because of the impact of COVID-19 only for the semesters directly impacted by the pandemic.  Additionally, we support transparency in the process in order to properly assess the steps needed to move forward and recover.
  • Support an accountability model for Tennessee school systems that includes a measure of quality career and technical education, including industry-recognized certifications, work-based leaning, dual enrollment and post-secondary opportunities to help reach the state's goal of 55 percent of Tennesseans by 2025 holding postsecondary credentials.
  • Support continuation of Tennessee Promise, Tennessee Reconnect and other initiatives that encourage attendance and completion of post-secondary training.
  • Support legislation that takes the burden of work-based learning liability off the employers.
  • Support high school curriculum in regards to career and technical paths that give students skills to enter the workforce.
  • Support Pellissippi State Community College's efforts to in construct a Workforce Development Center in Blount County.
  • Support Tennessee’s Right-to-Work status.
  • Maintain business-friendly conditions for Tennessee employers by continuing to improve the state's Workers' Compensation system.
  • Oppose any state action that would result in mandating the election of school system superintendents.
  • Support criminal justice re4from initiatives that positively impact workforce by enhancing skills, reducing recidivism and strengthening responses to individuals with behavioral and health needs.
  • Advocate for increased funding of public education, particularly to address learning loss resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, lack of Internet access and to eliminate disparities among socioeconomic groups.
  • Support assistance and educational opportunities for workers dislocated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Seek to increase access to quality, affordable childcare and to meet increased needs to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Support processes and policies to ensure funds allotted to the state and region through the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act are administered equitably, efficiently, and creatively by the East Tennessee Local Workforce Development Authority Board.
  • Advocate for full funding of the formula for community colleges as proposed by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. These funds are critical to Pellissippi State’s ability to deliver their mission of workforce training for the region.
  • Support creation of a funding pool for short-term workforce training and certification, not currently eligible for financial aid.

Health Care
To encourage a healthy workforce while not creating financial burden on employers.

  • Renew and maintain Certificate of Need (CON) legislation in Tennessee, especially in counties with a sole community hospital, in order to support and protect these vital resources for businesses and  citizens.
  • Support health policies, particularly those addressing mental health, substance abuse and addiction which improve the welfare of the state's workforce
  • Oppose mandatory healthcare requirements for employers and individuals.
  • Support telehealth services as a method to expand delivery of medical services
  • Support legislation for insurance expansion to cover proton therapy cancer treatments
  • Support refining real-time reporting to law enforcement for opiate prescriptions by physicians and pharmacies

Infrastructure & Transportation
To provide the infrastructure needed for business to succeed,

  • Support efforts to recruit low-cost air carriers to McGhee Tyson Airport.
  • Support completion of Pellissippi Parkway to Hwy. 321.
  • Support completion of Alcoa Highway.
  • Support funding for the completion of the Knox/Blount County Greenway to Townsend.
  • Oppose bills that take the annexation ability away from municipalities.
  • Support efforts at the local, state and federal levels to increase investment in wired and wireless broadband networks to improve education, medial care and economic opportunities for all Tennesseans.

Small Business

  • Support restoring state matching funds for award recipients of the federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.

Tourism

  • Support legislation that protects local governments from preemption of their zoning laws by Airbnb locations and ensure that any Airbnb does not possess any unfair advantages by not being assessed as a commercial endeavor and not paying all the applicable taxes an existing short-term enterprise would have to pay.

Watching: Medical marijuana, Increase BEP Funding Formula, Oppose School Vouchers, Medicaid Expansion, Online Sales Tax Preemptive Legislation, Unfunded Mandates, De-annexation, Correct Local Sales Cap on the Second $1,600, Oppose Reduction of City Share of State Shared Revenue

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