Legislative Agenda Focus to Build Economy
March 31, 2017
The Chamber’s tagline is the “Voice of Business,” representing the voice our membership has in local, state and federal government, taking on even the toughest of issues. The Chamber’s Public Affairs Committee’s purpose is to represent and be a proactive voice for the members and the overall business community with all levels of government in order to improve and sustain a positive business climate.
Each year, this committee, along with the Board of Directors and Military & Security Affairs Committee, evaluates the Legislative Agendas for state and federal levels, updating with new issues or remaining relevant to legislation passed or pending.
The Public Affairs Committee’s 2017 State Legislative Agenda includes Education and Workforce Preparedness, Economic Development and Infrastructure, Small Business, and Healthcare.
The Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce supports the adoption of policies and processes that ensure sound, sustainable funding for public education and policies that promote access to quality education at all levels, strengthening public awareness and understanding of, and encouraging, educational investment. Such is essential to ensure long term personal income growth and economic opportunity for all Alabamians.
The Chamber encourages its members to provide financial support for business education and to actively participate in regional workforce councils, workforce investment boards and technical education advisory boards. In doing so, we will ensure that such bodies are responsive to the training needs of local employers.
The Chamber advocates for 100% funding of Pre-k classes in Calhoun County, encourages Summer Literacy Programs, supports creative methods for schools to recruit Math Teachers, and continues to advocate for students-centered policies that expand parental options for the education of all children in Calhoun County.
The Chamber also advocates for an increase in Alabama’s investment in local transportation infrastructure to sustain and promote economic growth, job creation, quality of life, and public safety.
The Chamber also supports the authorization and extension of proven economic development incentives and tax credits, including the Historic Tax Credit, the New Markets Tax Credits, and the Small Business Investment Company Tax Credit.
The Chamber promotes Workforce and Business Training sessions as requested by the Chamber of Commerce Small Business Committee.
The Chamber supports providing adequate Healthcare funding necessary to support Calhoun County Hospitals and the Healthcare Industry.
At the Federal Level, the Chamber’s Legislative Agenda includes Anniston Army Depot, the Center for Domestic Preparedness, the Alabama Army National Guard, the Federal Courthouse and Healthcare. The Chamber also includes Anniston Army Depot, the Center for Domestic Preparedness and the Alabama Army National Guard in the Military and Security Affairs Committee.
Anniston Army Depot
The Chamber supports the Depot’s mission of “Providing superior industrial expertise, products, and services to support America’s Warfighters, Allies and commercial customers.” The Chamber also supports the Depot’s assignment as the Center of Industrial and Technical Excellence (CITE) by the Secretary of the Army for Combat Vehicles (wheeled and tracked) (except Bradley) including Assault Bridging, Artillery, Stryker Family of Vehicles, Small Caliber Weapons and Locomotive and large generators.
The Chamber will work with Congressional Representatives and the Depot to ensure the current and ensuing fiscal year’s workload is at or above levels to maintain permanent and a contingent of temporary employees. The Chamber will also provide assistance to increase the Depots future workload through other military services and Foreign Military Sales work.
The Chamber will work to ensure the Department of Defense and the Army assigns the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) (replacement for the M113 Personnel Carrier) to the Depot as the “Depot Source of Repair.” The Chamber will support the Depot and local Defense Contractors by encouraging and facilitating Public/Private Partnerships and work with Congressional Representatives on the movement of the Depot Generation and Rail Repair facility from Hill Air Force Base to the Depot.
Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP)
The Chamber recognizes the CDP as an essential training organization under the Department of Homeland Security with significant growth potential and positive economic impact for the county. Therefore, the Chamber will work to ensure the CDP’s budget never falls below $65 million and to grow the CDP via Economy Act Agreements with the Center for Disease Control, the VA and other organizations.
The Chamber supports increased training at the CDP and additional funding to grow the capabilities necessary. The Chamber will assist partnering with the FLETC (Federal Law Enforcement Training Center-currently located in GA) to consolidate federal related training at the FLETC and local, state and foreign training at the CDP.
The Chamber will also encourage Congressional Representatives to authorize the CDP to operate under a Working Capital Fund accounting system as opposed to an annual appropriation.
Alabama Army National Guard
The Chamber will work with 167th Theater Sustainment Command, the McClellan Army National Guard Training Center and the State to ensure the Army National Guard’s mission is sustained and grows.
The Chamber supports efforts to reach an equitable resolution on the Medicare Wage Index Issue so that hospitals in the regions will be fairly reimbursed for the services provided to the Medicare population. The current wage index calculation penalizes Alabama hospitals, which are already some of the most efficient in the country in terms of costs, by paying hospitals in other states almost double what is paid in Alabama for the same care.
The Chamber also supports the proposal and funding to replace or update the Federal Courthouse in Anniston.
We advocate for business, our members and our community from D.C. to Montgomery. Advocating includes meetings and updates in the community and taking trips to the federal and state capitols. One of those trips includes Leadership Calhoun County’s annual trip to the state capitol in Montgomery, and this year, the Public Affairs committee accompanied the class to provide insight and introductions to elected officials, as well as background information on pending issues affecting our communities directly.