Gwinnett Chamber Public Policy Agenda

2023 Gwinnett Chamber Public Policy Agenda

ADOPTED NOVEMBER 2022

The Gwinnett Chamber’s Public Policy Advisory Committee and Board of Directors have identified public policy issues that affect business at the local, regional and state levels. The Chamber determines its support for, or opposition to, legislation based on whether it creates a strong and robust business environment by promoting investment, innovation, job creation, education/workforce development and economic growth. 

Leaders who serve on the Gwinnett Chamber’s Public Policy Advisory Committee offer specific expertise and perspectives in order to evaluate thoroughly these issues and their potential impact on businesses and the community. The Committee’s charter is to advise and recommend specific positions on legislation to the Board of Directors that either support or detract from the Chamber’s core public policy agenda. The Gwinnett Chamber is strongly committed to the positions it adopts on public policy issues, believing they will provide the tools necessary to attract and retain high wage jobs, as well as improve the standard of living for citizens in Gwinnett and the metro Atlanta region. 

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT & BUSINESS CLIMATE

STATE & LOCAL

  • Protect Georgia’s reputation as a leading state in which to do business. Defend against legislative measures that would negatively affect our business climate, or would harm our ability to create, recruit, retain and expand jobs. 

  • Protect Georgia’s status as a right-to-work and employment-at-will state. 

  • Support Measures that Encourage Economic Investment: Support economic development tools and incentives to start, recruit and retain jobs and businesses. 

  • Support Global Commerce: Protect Georgia’s standing as a global hub for international commerce. 

  • Encourage policies that support the growth and expansion of businesses in Gwinnett with an emphasis on Information and Technology Solutions, Health Sciences and Services, Professional and Corporate Services, Supply Chain Management, and Advanced Manufacturing. 

  • Expand economic development efforts in underrepresented communities and businesses through venture capital funding and increased access to capital and resources for entrepreneurs and small businesses. 

  • Support local control and flexibility for local development authorities and oppose any legislative measures that will limit their current structure and functions. 

  • Support competitive state tax policies that position Georgia to better compete for business, workforce talent, and economic growth. 

  • Protect Georgia’s tax credits, exemptions, and deductions that help create jobs, encourage investments into research and development, spur reinvestment into communities, and support recruitment and retainment efforts.

FEDERAL

  • Promote and protect the free enterprise system that has allowed the U.S. to build the most dynamic, diverse, and resilient economy. 

  • Support a competitive tax code at the federal and state levels for Georgia businesses to compete globally and domestically among states. 

  • Support free trade agreements to expand access for U.S. businesses and their products to global markets. 

  • Encourage policies that combat organized retail crime and counterfeit goods. 

  • Support competitive federal tax policies that position the United States as a competitive business destination.

 

TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE

STATE & LOCAL

  • Identify and implement long-term, dedicated funding sources for improvement and expansion of efficient transit operations. Support expansion of all public transit operators and encourage effective coordination among them. Strive for seamless, efficient service for riders, whether our long-term future is a single system or multiple interconnected systems. 

  • Support local initiatives that encourage transit mobility including managed-lane options, telecommuting, bike/pedestrian facilities, microtransit options, and public/private solutions. 

  • Increase Surface Transportation Funding. Continue to support the revenue stream created by HB 170, Transportation Funding Act of 2015; oppose measures to reduce or alter resource streams devoted to transportation funding. 

  • Support increased funding to the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank (GTIB), with additional investment specifically directed to projects sponsored by Community Improvement Districts and/or local governments. 

  • Support upgrades to existing freight networks. Increase freight capacity and safety on our existing interstates and rail networks. Maximize operational and regulatory efficiencies for movement of freight. 

  • Embrace new technologies. Encourage state and local efforts to streamline the deployment of all technology and supporting infrastructure, allowing our state and county to address emerging challenges and establishing Georgia and Gwinnett as leaders in technology, research, innovation in transportation.
  • Back initiatives that increase accessibility and affordability to high-speed internet, as access to quality broadband is critical for economic development and community connectivity.
  • Support the Atlanta-Region Transit Link Authority’s 5 Gwinnett transit projects considered for state funding in the Fiscal Year 2023 budget. 

  • Support public-private partnerships that expand strategic, diverse, and economically feasible housing options.

FEDERAL

  • Protect federal funding streams devoted to transportation and infrastructure and oppose any measures to reduce or alter such mechanisms. 

  • Support federal matching fund policies that encourage local public and private investments to improve roads, bridges, and other infrastructure needs. 

  • Support policies that streamline federal oversight and regulatory processes for federally funded projects.

WATER, ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

STATE & LOCAL

  • Implement an action-driven sustainable state and local water plan with focus on conservation, capturing our excess rainfall and effectively managing our water resources. 

  • Identify and implement policies that reward water and sewer utilities that implement reuse programs by issuing credits for return flows. 

  • Maintain effective and efficient Interbasin Water Transfers. Support current law for managing IBT as a water management tool. Any revisions to IBT should be based on science, recommendations by the Department of Natural Resources and regional and local water planning efforts. 

  • Promote long-term, sustainable water management by sufficiently funding water management on a regional basis using the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District, the Water Tower, and other regional collaborative efforts to maintain economic viability. 

  • Promote sustainable development. Advocate for policies that ensure a clean, safe, reliable, affordable and diverse energy portfolio for Georgia as well as policies that support responsible management of all waste streams. Support development policies that enhance the sustainability reputation of the region and spur long-term economic growth. 

  • Facilitate partnership opportunities – including public/private where appropriate – to stimulate investment in water supply, infrastructure refurbishment, aquifer storage and recovery, and water efficiency technologies. 

  • Support effective stormwater management systems, policies, and local ordinances that improve water quality and mitigate negative environmental impacts.

FEDERAL

  • Support federal-local and public-private partnerships and agreements that protect water usage from Lake Lanier for Gwinnett’s residents and businesses. 

  • Streamline environmental regulations and provide flexibility during times of emergency and economic recovery. 

  • Enhance America’s energy security through expanded domestic production and investments in energy technology innovation.

 

EDUCATION & WORKFORCE

STATE & LOCAL

  • Grow, retain and attract an educated workforce. Support initiatives such as HOPE, Georgia Career Grant, Zell Miller Scholarships, Dual Enrollment, Georgia College & Career Academies, registered apprenticeships, internships, and other sector partnership efforts that prepare our young people for post-secondary education and career opportunities in skilled trades and strategic businesses and industries. 

  • Advance policies that increase the retention of Georgia’s post-secondary graduates and attract talent in high demand fields. 

  • Support education pathways leading to employment. Increase coordination of resources and alignment of curriculum among K-12 institutions, higher education institutions, and employers to ensure the workforce needs of Georgia businesses and career needs of students are being met. 

  • Advocate for policies and legislation that prepare effective teachers and school leaders and strengthen the overall education workforce and the teaching profession such as professional development opportunities related to data, coding, and technology utilization in the classroom. 

  • Advocate for innovation in instruction and curriculum. Support the promotion of STEM/STEAM and Career, Technical & Agricultural Education (CTAE) in K-12 and post-secondary education that will prepare students to become innovators, industry leaders and problem-solvers. 

  • Support early learning. Advocate for policies that expand access and affordability of quality-rated childcare and Pre-K programs and facilities. 

  • Support capital and operating requests from Georgia Gwinnett College and Gwinnett Technical College; support PCOM Georgia’s request for a state operating grant to help ensure an adequate supply of primary care physicians and needed medical specialists. 

  • Promote initiatives that up-skill current workers and reskill displaced workers to improve their long-term adaptability as new technologies emerge, new industries emerge, and automation is utilized more widely across industries. 

  • Support workforce initiatives like Georgia Quick Start, WorkSource Atlanta Regional programs, and specialized training programs that provide on-the-job training and retraining to help increase a skilled workforce with adaptable skills and skills in emerging fields. 

  • Support access to in-state tuition for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients in Georgia. 

  • Protect local funding mechanisms that provide sustained and adequate funding for new school facilities, system-wide capital and safety improvements and upgrades to technology and resources so our public school systems continue to provide exceptional education. 

FEDERAL

  • Urge Congress to modernize our nation’s immigration system by applying commonsense reforms like cap increases to employment-based visa programs that will allow employers to meet their critical workforce needs. 

  • Roll back regulations and other administrative actions that have hamstrung employers’ ability to hire or continue employing the legal immigrant workers they need. 

  • Improve financial aid programs and systems, including private sector innovations in higher education finance, which improve college access and affordability. Reauthorize the Higher Education Act.

HEALTHCARE

STATE & LOCAL

  • Maintain employers’ flexibility in determining how best to meet the needs of their employees and retirees. 

  • Establish an adequately funded statewide trauma care network. 

  • Support voluntary prevention and wellness initiatives that create cost savings for employers, employees, and providers, assist employees in leading healthier, more productive lives, and reduce incident and associated costs of chronic conditions, whether through the form of premium reductions, provider discounts, rewards programs, or tax credits. 

  • Encourage cost-effective solutions to improve public health infrastructure and to address health disparities, including access to mental health services. 

  • Support Gwinnett, Newton, Rockdale (GNR) Public Health in its response public health emergencies. 

  • Support the continuation of tax exemption for not-for-profit community hospitals. 

  • Increase investments for other degree and certificate programs within the University System of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia, and private colleges and universities in Georgia that fill the numerous careers and occupations in the healthcare industry. Also support appropriate licensure reform to grow Georgia’s healthcare workforce. 

  • Enhance graduate medical education programs, including funding for additional residency slots.

FEDERAL

  • Enable greater flexibility for businesses as they offer health care coverage to their employees. 

  • Support the expansion, offering, and enrollment in diverse coverage options like association health plans to decrease costs and increase access for small businesses. 

  • Support educating insureds of available wellness programs and the right to ask questions about less costly, yet equally effective, health care services. 

  • Support full tax deductibility of health plan premiums for individuals and businesses.

ARTS, TOURISM & ENTERTAINMENT

STATE & LOCAL

  • Support the development of a uniform and unambiguous hotel/motel tax code to ensure appropriate funding of tourism promotion in local communities. 

  • Support incentives such as a partial sales tax refund on qualified tourism projects to stimulate private investment. 

  • Support investment in major tourism assets and tourism marketing initiatives. 

  • Support an entertainment tax incentive that creates economic impact locally/statewide through visitor spending, private investment, workforce development and education initiatives such as the Georgia Film Academy. 

  • Support efforts to expand sporting and cultural development for our community. 

  • Protect Georgia’s Film Tax Credit and oppose any efforts to eliminate or severely limit its use.

POLICY

STATE & LOCAL

  • Support study committees, independent analyses, and impact studies that explore the consequences of legislation recognizing nonpartisan elections for local elections.

*Out of Georgia’s 159 counties, only 6 counties hold nonpartisan elections and about 40 percent of Georgia’s public school boards hold partisan elections.

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