A business-friendly climate, investment in infrastructure and support for economic growth are the top business priorities the Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce plans to address with legislators this year.
New this year, the chamber has created a package of priorities addressing local, state and federal officials.
Tara Barney, the chamber’s chief executive officer, said each level of government plays a role in making policy decisions that impact the vitality of the business environment in the region.
“We’ve met with hundreds of area business leaders and economic development professionals in the past year, and the legislative priorities we’ve set forth are those that business leaders believe will facilitate job creation and strengthen the business environment in our bi-state region,” she said.
She said businesses depend on good working relationships with elected officials at all levels.
“It is incumbent on the chamber to bring private and public sector leaders together to develop action plans around our shared goals for economic and community development,” she said.
* Federal: The chamber is asking Congress and the administration to restore confidence in the U.S. economy by putting policies in place to spur economic growth, according to a news release. It also wants lawmakers to “avoid sequestration, support advanced manufacturing initiatives, invest in transportation and bolster the growing Quad-Cities defense industry.”
The Rock Island Arsenal plays a key role.
“The defense industry in the Quad-Cities has a significant impact on our local economy,” said Paul Rumler, the chamber’s executive vice president. “The Rock Island Arsenal provides approximately 8,000 jobs, with an additional 6,000 defense-related jobs off the island.”
* Illinois: The chamber is urging Illinois lawmakers to stabilize the Illinois’ budget by tackling pension reform and focusing spending on initiatives that produce the greatest return for job creation and private investment. Business leaders are asking legislators to maintain and expand economic development incentives, support the Illinois’ defense industry and complete capital improvements on the Interstate 74 and John Deere Road Corridor, Chicago to Quad-Cities passenger rail and Western Illinois University’s Quad-Cities’ Phase 2 and Plan 3 plans.
* Iowa: The chamber wants lawmakers to maintain Iowa’s balanced budget, foster economic growth, promote a prosperous business climate and reduce the commercial and industrial property tax burden. Also, the chamber is asking lawmakers to reform public employee pensions, tax reform, maintain and expand economic development incentives, bolster work force initiatives, and invest in transportation and infrastructure to promote balanced growth in border communities.
* Local governments: Work regionally with city and county governments to advance economic growth, expand the local tax base and ensure that the region’s top economic development sites are suitable for future business growth.
In 2012, the chamber and local communities announced 132 ribbon cuttings representing $157,784,000 in new business investment.