Recently, the Quad Cities Chamber held four input sessions on Business Climate & Economic Competitiveness, Education & Workforce, Transportation & Infrastructure and Quality of Place. Each session provided an opportunity to hear ideas about improving and investing in the Quad Cities economy and other issues important to our members. The ideas discussed will be incorporated into the Chamber’s 2017 Policy Agenda and shared with our elected officials. Here are some of the top take-aways:
Business Climate & Economic Competitiveness
- Workers compensation in Illinois continues to be a big barrier and hurts economic competitiveness in Illinois. Additional reforms to reduce the workers compensation cost need to be enacted.
- Economic incentives are incredibly important to developing and redeveloping our community. Programs such as the Historic Tax Credit need to be funded, and need to exist in both states.
- Business and employer regulations need to be practical. Implementation should be graduadual over time and allow for businesses to adjust. Two examples include:
- Minimum Wage
- Department of Labor Overtime Regulations
- Whether considering the use of existing public funds or potential new revenues, it is vital to show tax revenues are being used effectively and efficiently.
Education & Workforce
- The education funding formula needs to be reformed in both Iowa and Illinois to provide equal and adequate education funding.
- It is vital to ensure lifetime access to education, beginning before kindergarten and continuing past high school.
- Education and curriculum needs to foster a culture that encourages consideration of careers across all sectors of the economy.
- The current difficulty in recruiting minority and diverse talent in our workforce needs to be addressed.
Transportation & Infrastructure
- There needs to be regional collaboration and investment of public transportation.
- Further and strategic development of access to broadband internet is critical.
- We must invest in maintaining high quality of infrastructure.
- Creativity and willingness to identify new revenue sources for infrastructure is needed.
Quality of Place
- Ensuring a high quality of place with activities is required to attract and retain (young) workforce and talent.
- We must recognize the importance of understanding complete streets to urban planning and investment.
- The community needs to support public investment in cultural amenities and ensure their long-term viability.
- It is vital to invest in our unique and iconic assets, such as the Mississippi Riverfront and our historic buildings and heritage.
Thank you to the members that attended these sessions, stay tuned for future input opportunities.