The Government Affairs Committee of the Kentucky Network for Development, Leadership and Engagement (Kyndle), chaired by Cyndee Burton, administrator of Matthew 25, has identified the following issues as legislative priorities for 2016:
1. Kyndle applauds the states of Kentucky and Indiana for continuing to work diligently toward the completion of Interstate 69 in our region, including its Ohio River bridge and its border crossing in Fulton. We also support the upgrade of the Natcher Parkway so that it can become part of the interstate system.
We applaud the amount of support I-69 has in the road plan, including $2.5 million for an environmental impact study (EIS) for an I-69 Ohio River crossing. Kyndle asks legislators to work to move the availability of that EIS money from 2018 to 2017 or sooner, if possible, and to rename the appropriation to reflect its use for a study for a new span.
Kyndle strongly encourages Congress, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration to designate Interstate 69 as a Project of National and Regional Significance and eventually include it in the National Freight Network list.
2. Kyndle supports legislation that would enable Kentucky to utilize public-private partnerships (P3) to complete transportation infrastructure projects.
1. Kyndle enthusiastically supports the Kentucky Community & Technical College System’s Fuel the Force initiative, which will help community colleges across the state, including Henderson Community College, deliver training and instruction that will enable Kentucky to meet its growing workforce needs.
2. The chamber urges the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet and the Kentucky General Assembly to continue to aggressively assert the state’s authority as the primary administrator of delegated environmental programs. We encourage the cabinet to prevent any of the federal Environmental Protection Agency's attempts to overstep its oversight role when the EPA demands action that is inconsistent with past state regulatory actions or determinations. We encourage the Cabinet to ensure that existing environmental laws and regulations are applied and enforced in a consistent, nondiscriminatory manner.
3. Kyndle supports efforts for tax and pension reform with the goal to make Kentucky's business and educational climate among the most attractive in the U.S. and foster strong economic growth.
4. We urge the General Assembly to pass legislation allowing special local option sales taxes that give cities and counties the opportunity to raise funds for specific, voter-approved projects.
5. Kyndle supports home rule legislation and revisions that enhance the ability of all Kentucky cities to make local decisions. We believe all Kentucky cities should have the same options and opportunities.
6. To combat the $1.5 billion in annual smoking-related health care costs that burden Kentucky, and the more than $3 billion in lost productivity due to smoking-related illness in the commonwealth, Kyndle supports legislation banning smoking in indoor work places and public places. To improve Kentucky's status as one of the nation's least healthy states, Kyndle also supports legislation that would provide tax credits and other incentives for businesses that implement wellness programs for employees.
7. For Kentucky to maintain its dominance in the distilling industry and attract new distilleries, Kyndle urges the General Assembly to update tourism and hospitality statutes written before the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® was created to take advantage of the booming bourbon tourism industry. These updates include reviewing various service and sales options granted to wineries and breweries and making these same options available to distilleries.
HENDERSON VISION PLAN
Although Kyndle is a regional economic development organization, we still serve as the Henderson Chamber of Commerce. The Henderson Vision Plan is an important document for local elected officials in Henderson County and the Kyndle Government Affairs Committee feels it is important to share the information we have gathered from our stakeholders on this topic.
We fully support the ideas and initiatives identified in the Henderson Vision Plan, visionhenderson.org. Kyndle recently polled its stakeholders and asked them to rank by importance 10 “Big Ideas” mentioned in the vision plan that have the most impact on local businesses.
Here are the results from those who responded, listed in order of preference
1. Development of events center/conference space.
2. I-69 corridor/interchange development.
3. U.S. 41 functional improvements.
4. Establishment of specially zoned entertainment & arts district
5. Promotion and support of downtown living options
6. Transient dock or marina (Tie)
Youth sports complex (Tie)
8. Second Street enhancements
9. Walking trail/ bicycle network expansion
10. HART expansion
When asked if they would support new local tax measures to fund any of the items in the list above if they required public funding, 51% percent of respondents said yes, 9% percent said no and 40% percent said maybe.