Kyndle legislative priorities for 2014
The Public Policy Committee of the Kentucky Network for Development, Leadership and Engagement (Kyndle), chaired by Brent Bridges, has identified the following issues as legislative priorities for 2014:
1. Kyndle applauds the states of Kentucky and Indiana for continuing to work diligently toward the completion of Interstate 69 in our region.
We urge the General Assembly to protect funds allocated for I-69 construction in our state and to continue to add the funding necessary to achieve its creation. We applaud the amount of support I-69 has in the draft road plan just released by the governor, including $2.5 million for an environmental impact study for an I-69 Ohio River crossing. Kyndle asks legislators to work to move the availability of that EIS money from 2018 to 2016. We also ask legislators to work with KYTC to assure a long-term, toll-free route across the Ohio for local residents that would be both a compliment to the new I-69 bridge and provide the redundancy this region needs to assure that accidents such as barge strikes or natural disasters won't result in a shutdown of traffic between Evansville and Henderson.
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 include it in the new National Freight Network list.
2. Kyndle supports legislation that would enable Kentucky to fully utilize public-private partnerships to complete infrastructure projects of all types and find more cost-efficient, effective ways to perform government functions.
3. Kyndle believes adoption and enforcement of unreasonable regulations aimed at debilitating the coal-fired power industry or unnecessarily hampering agriculture businesses pose a significant threat to northwest Kentucky's overall economy.
The chamber urges the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet to aggressively assert its 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.
4. Kyndle cheers the General Assembly's efforts at tax reform and hopes the ultimate goal is to make Kentucky's business climate among the most attractive in the U.S. and foster strong economic growth.
5. To improve Kentucky's status as one of the nation's least healthy states, Kyndle supports legislation that would provide tax and other incentives for businesses that implement wellness programs for employees.
6. 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.
7. Kyndle supports efforts to modernize Kentucky telecommunication regulations so that broadband internet providers are more inclined to invest in the state and help all corners of the commonwealth have access to that vital service.
8. We encourage the General Assembly to aid Henderson Community College with improvements to its physical plant that college leadership have identified as extremely important to the school's ability to best serve its students now and in the future. HCC is a crucial resource for counties in our region, and Kyndle supports any measure that assures its viability and sustainability.