Public Policy Agenda
2021 Public Policy Agenda
ADOPTED NOVEMBER 2020
The Gwinnett Chamber’s Public Policy Advisory Committee and Board of Directors have identified public policy issues that affect business at the local, regional and state levels. The Chamber determines its support for, or opposition to, legislation based on whether it creates a strong and robust business environment by promoting investment, innovation, job creation, education/workforce development and economic growth.
Leaders who serve on the Gwinnett Chamber’s Public Policy Advisory Committee offer specific expertise and perspectives to thoroughly evaluate these issues and their potential impact on businesses and the community. The Committee’s charter is to advise and recommend specific positions on legislation to the Board of Directors that either support or detract from the Chamber’s core public policy agenda. The Gwinnett Chamber is strongly committed to the positions it adopts on public policy issues, believing they will provide the tools necessary to attract and retain high wage jobs, as well as improve the standard of living for citizens in Gwinnett and the metro Atlanta region.
- Protect Georgia’s Reputation as a Leading State in Which to Do Business: Defend against legislative measures that would negatively affect our business climate, or would harm our ability to create, recruit, retain and expand jobs.
- Support Measures that Encourage Economic Investment: Support economic development tools and incentives to start, recruit and retain businesses.
- Support Global Commerce: Protect Georgia’s standing as a global hub for international commerce.
- Advocate for Growth of High Demand Clusters: Promote policies that support the growth, retention and attraction of talent needed by our high-tech, high-growth industry sectors.
- Expand economic inclusivity and equity efforts in underrepresented communities and businesses through venture capital funding and access to resources for entrepreneurship and small businesses.
- Support local control and flexibility for local development authorities and oppose any legislative measures that will limit their current structure and functions.
- Identify and implement long-term, dedicated funding sources for improvement and expansion of transit operations. Support expansion of all public transit operators and encourage effective coordination among them. Strive for seamless, efficient service for riders, whether our long-term future is a single system or multiple interconnected systems.
- Support initiatives that encourage transit mobility including managed-lane options, telecommuting, bike/pedestrian facilities and public/private solutions.
- Urge Congress to appropriate its full share of federal funding authorized for completion of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project.
- Increase surface transportation funding. Continue to support the revenue stream created by HB 170, Transportation Funding Act of 2015; oppose measures to reduce or alter resource streams devoted to transportation funding.
- Upgrade existing freight networks. Increase freight capacity and safety on our existing interstates and rail networks. Maximize operational and regulatory efficiencies for movement of freight.
- Embrace new technologies. Implement policies to establish Georgia as a leader in innovation, research and applied technology in transportation.
WATER, ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
- Implement an action-driven sustainable state water plan with focus on conservation, capturing our excess rainfall and effectively managing our water resources.
- Identify and implement policies that reward water and sewer utilities that implement reuse programs by issuing credits for return flows.
- Maintain interbasin water transfers. Support current law for managing IBT as a water management tool. Any revisions to IBT should be based on science, recommendations by the Department of Natural Resources and regional and local water planning efforts.
- Promote long-term water management by sufficiently funding water management on a regional basis using the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District and other water councils throughout Georgia.
- Promote sustainable development. Advocate for policies that ensure a clean, safe, reliable, affordable and diverse energy portfolio for Georgia as well as policies that support responsible management of all waste streams. Support development policies that enhance the sustainability reputation of the region and spur long-term economic growth.
- Grow, retain and attract an educated workforce. Support initiatives such as HOPE, Georgia Career Grant, Zell Miller Scholarships, Dual Enrollment, Georgia College & Career Academies, apprenticeships, internships, and other efforts that prepare our young people for post-secondary education and career opportunities in strategic industries. Advance policies that increase the retention of Georgia’s post-secondary graduates and attract talent in high demand fields.
- Develop education pathways leading to employment. Increase coordination of resources and alignment of curriculum between K-12 and higher education institutions to ensure the workforce needs of Georgia businesses and career needs of students are being met.
- Advocate for policies and legislation that prepare effective teachers and school leaders and strengthen the overall education workforce and the teaching profession.
- Advocate for innovation in instruction and curriculum. Support the promotion of STEM/STEAM and career and technical education in K-12 and post-secondary education that will prepare students to become innovators, industry leaders and problem-solvers.
- Support early learning. Advocate for policies that expand access and affordability of quality-rated childcare and Pre-K programs and facilities.
- Promote common sense education reforms. Support funding reform that produces better student outcomes for all metro Atlanta students, and other policies that ensure adequate and fair access to opportunities for achievement.
- Support capital and operating requests from Georgia Gwinnett College and Gwinnett Technical College; support PCOM Georgia’s request for a state operating grant to help ensure an adequate supply of primary care physicians and needed medical specialists.
- Maintain employers’ flexibility in determining how best to meet the needs of their employees and retirees.
- Establish an adequately funded statewide trauma care network.
- Enhance graduate medical education programs, including funding for additional residency slots.
- Support full tax deductibility of health plan premiums for individuals and businesses.
- Support voluntary prevention and wellness initiatives that create cost savings for employers, employees and providers; assist employees in leading healthier, more productive lives; and reduce incident and associated costs of chronic conditions such as obesity, heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
- Encourage cost-effective solutions to improve public health infrastructure and to address health disparities
ARTS, TOURISM & ENTERTAINMENT
- Support the development of a uniform and unambiguous hotel/motel tax code to ensure appropriate funding of tourism promotion in local communities.
- Support incentives such as a partial sales tax refund on qualified tourism projects to stimulate private investment.
- Support investment in major tourism assets and tourism marketing initiatives.
- Support an entertainment tax incentive that creates economic impact locally/statewide through visitor spending, private investment, workforce development and education initiatives such as the Georgia Film Academy, located on the OFS/Gwinnett campus.
- Expand sporting and cultural development for our community.
- Explore the opportunity for legislation to recognize nonpartisan elections for local elections. *Out of Georgia’s 159 counties, only six counties hold nonpartisan elections and about 40 percent of Georgia’s public school boards hold partisan elections.