Mayors and Commissioners Caucus Members Meet with Legislative Leaders
FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Members of the Mayors and Commissioners Caucus of Northeast Indiana are meeting with state legislative leaders Senate President Pro Tempore Rodric Bray of Martinsville and House Speaker-Elect Rep. Todd Huston of Fishers today at the Statehouse advocating for the Caucus’ 2020 legislative agenda.
Through the collaboration of mayors and commissioners in the 11 counties of Northeast Indiana, the Caucus’ legislative agenda identifies high-impact initiatives important to local elected officials to encourage legislative support at the state level.
“Advancing the Caucus’ bold agenda at the Statehouse is essential to the growth and success of Northeast Indiana. Mayors and Commissioners in Northeast Indiana are working together with a unified voice to advance the development of policies at the state level. By connecting with state legislative leaders, we can advocate for our collective priorities to support our existing businesses while also attracting new business and talent to our communities,” said Caucus President and Columbia City Mayor Ryan Daniel.
The Caucus prioritized the following four policies:
1. Home Rule and Local Control – The Caucus supports the expansion of home rule and local decision authority in the following areas:
- Tax Increment Financing
- Business Personal Property Tax
- Regional Development Authorities
- 911 Fees
- Food and Beverage Tax
- Innkeepers Tax
- Community Mental Health Center Designation
2. Public Health and Safety Funding – The Caucus supports initiatives that contribute to the safety, health and welfare of residents.
- Public safety and criminal initiatives:
- Support the repeal of mandating level 6 felony offenders to stay in local communities if they are sentenced to jail
- Support increased funding for criminal justice
- Equitable level 6 felon reimbursement rate for counties
- Reimbursement for both felony and misdemeanor defense
- Support the increase in biennium budget for Recovery Works
- Initiatives to reduce substance use disorder:
- Support the increase in approved opioid treatment locations in the state
- Mental health initiatives:
- Support allowing counties to designate their own community mental health centers to those that provide services
- Support authorizing legislation and funding for the development of regional mental health facilities
3. Transportation and Bridge Funding – The Caucus supports the following initiatives to increase transportation and bridge funding. Initiatives include:
- Begin and complete an environmental impact study of U.S. 30
- Restore gasoline tax distribution to the method utilized prior to the 2017 gas tax increases
- Increase thresholds for the Community Crossings program
- Relax application restrictions for Community Crossings program
- Increase the maximum threshold on the Wheel Tax and Surtax
4. Quality of Place – The Caucus supports:
- Development of a sustainable financial mechanism for multi-use trails, cycling, pedestrians, walkers, runners, skaters, horse trails, etc.
- To plan for the future, it is important to count on dedicated resources as a guiding tool
- Regional approach to build out rural broadband growth in partnership with the State
- Compounding county and city demand to expand broadband opportunities regionally
- Build off the success of Regional Cities and Stellar Communities
- State-provided programs that incentivize private sector investment and public support to retain and attract talent
“In Northeast Indiana, we understand that one jurisdiction alone cannot have the strong influence that our 11-county region can have together. By working collaboratively, aligning our priorities and meeting with state legislators, the Caucus is advocating to accelerate the region’s growth and progress to grow our regional economy,” said Therese Brown, Allen County Commissioner.
The Caucus, which includes elected officials from the 11 counties in Northeast Indiana, meets regularly to address economic development issues, legislative advocacy and other matters of common concern and best practice sharing within the region. Key focuses include improving the region’s interstate accessibility and streamlined permitting and zoning processes.
To learn more about the Mayors and Commissioners Caucus, visit the Regional Partnership’s website at www.neindiana.com/theCaucus.
About Mayors and Commissioners Caucus
Founded in 2012, the Mayors and Commissioners Caucus of Northeast Indiana is comprised of the mayors and commissioners of the 11 counties in the Northeast Indiana region. The Caucus provides Northeast Indiana mayors and commissioners with a unified voice in advancing economic development policy matters at the state level. The Caucus uses consensus-based decision making to reach agreement and relies upon cooperation and collaboration to address the region's complex issues. To this end, the Caucus provides a forum for the discussion of common issues and multi-jurisdictional challenges and serves as a partner and sounding board for leaders from other sectors. For more information, please visit www.neindiana.com/theCaucus.
About the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership
The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership’s mission is to build, market and sell Northeast Indiana to increase business investment. Founded in 2006, the public-private partnership strives to build a globally competitive region. The Partnership’s Vision 2030 framework supports collaborative regional efforts to increase per capita income, population growth and educational attainment by focusing on business attraction, talent attraction and talent development. The Partnership represents 11 member counties: Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley. For more information, visit www.neindiana.com.
Vice President of Marketing & Strategic Communications
Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership