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A competitive business climate, support for economic growth and investments in infrastructure, education and workforce top the list of issues the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce will push with legislators in 2019.

“Workforce development, appropriate economic development incentives and lessening property tax burden are the main issues affecting Quad Cities Chamber members,” says Paul Rumler, president/CEO, Quad Cities Chamber. “We’ll continue to work with our legislators to push these priorities.”

Tyler Power, government affairs manager for the Quad Cities Chamber, said the group's public policy platform was "reflective and focused on the needs of our members.

"We survey our members to determine what businesses need to improve and grow in our region," Power said.

The Chamber's priorities in Illinois are:

• Business Climate and Economic Competitiveness:

— Illinois ranks highest among states for worker's compensation insurance rates. The Chamber wants the General Assembly to pass meaningful reforms to lower the cost to do business in Illinois.

— Stating that economic incentives are crucial to attract new businesses and expand businesses, the Chamber wants the General Assembly to protect incentives such as the Historic Tax Credit, the Economic Development for a Growing Economy tax credit and Enterprise Zone tax credits.

— Chamber members say the main concern holding them back from expanding is property taxes. The Chamber wants to work with elected officials to reduce the overall property tax burden on businesses.

• Education and Workforce Readiness:

— Workforce development is by far the No. 1 issue to Chamber members. Along with fully funding Phase III of Western Illinois University – Quad Cities, it wants the General Assembly to increase spending for higher education.

— The Chamber wants the General Assembly to take further steps to close the equity gap in per-pupil funding inequity in K-12 education.

• Transportation and Infrastructure, Quality of Place:

— Chamber members want the legislature to fully fund Phase III of WIU-QC, Quad Cities-Chicago Passenger Rail, the Interstate 74/John Deere Road interchange and capital funding to start the process for a new I-80 bridge.

— The Chamber also stated its commitment to completing the passenger rail project between the Quad Cities and Chicago.

The Chamber's priorities in Iowa are:

• Business Climate and Economic Competitiveness:

— The Chamber wants the Iowa legislature to maintain the current status of economic development incentives such as Tax Increment Financing districts and the Iowa Historic Tax Credit.

— The Chamber also is ready to work with elected officials to reduce the overall property tax burden on businesses.

• Education and Workforce Readiness:

— The Chamber wants the Iowa Legislature to increase appropriations to Iowa Workforce Development.

— It also wants the Iowa Legislators to expand Future Ready Iowa and push for "meaningful, and equitable, K-12 education funding reform."

The Chamber will host a series of events to encourage legislation that will help the economy and community continue to grow. The first is planned at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 22 at Element Hotel in Moline.

“The strength of the Chamber’s advocacy efforts is powered by thousands of companies acting as one," Power said. "We will continue to build on our efforts that over the years have resulted in many community priorities gaining substantial support from the local, state and federal governments."

For more details visit QuadCitiesChamber.com/public-policy.

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