The Indy Chamber has outlined its priorities for the 2021 session of the Indiana General Assembly. Chief Policy officer Mark Fisher says the region’s largest business organization will pursue a policy agenda focused on getting people safely back to work.
WFYI’s Taylor Bennet interviewed Fisher about that agenda, its aim to foster a more resilient and inclusive economy. You can listen to the audio we aired for broadcast or read a longer version of the interview below.
WFYI Reporter and Anchor Taylor Bennett:
Indy Chamber Chief Policy officer Mark Fisher:
Bennett: It's a big list there as far as things I mean, it was definitely a year that impacted so many different sectors, not only health, the the economy, and and the racial equity all seem to be big issues this year, and all very concerning to everyone.
Fisher: Yeah, I think it's a reflection that many of these issues are so interrelated, that you can't just address think about addressing one issue and thinking that it will address a whole host of issues. And so recognizing that they are an unhealthy workforces, and expensive and unproductive workforce. And so how do we make sure that that what is good for the employee is also good for the employer and vice versa. And so I think we've we've developed a, an agenda that recognizes the complexities of our current economy and our current workforce and our current society and, and that we have to take a holistic approach to these issues and not just think about these issues in silos.
Bennett: It's a budget year, what do you what do you? You know, those are always interesting to say the least, what are some of the things specifically you'll be looking at, as far as the name money is concerned?
Fisher: You know, fortunately, it seems like the the budget situation is not as dire as maybe folks had originally anticipated, I do think COVID will have a long tail of budget impact. So while revenues for this year may not have been as bad we got it, we have to be thinking about long term, what the revenue picture looks like. And we've had strong fiscal management at the state level that has allowed us to have these, this deep well of reserves, those reserves aren't likely to be built up back to those levels anytime.
But we've got to make sure that we're protecting investments and education. So thinking about teacher pay, but that complexity index on how schools that educate different populations and depth, different demographics, how they are funded, making sure that we don't retrench on pre K, funding and early learning and childcare. And so those are some of the things that we're looking at. But also, how do we make sure that we are making long term strategic investments, making sure that our workforce system is is responding to a quickly evolving economy, and really setting us up again, for that long term economic resilience.
Bennett: Definitely be interesting. And hopefully, you know, there'll be some positive things that that come out of the statehouse, in this upcoming session, whatever that may may look like.
Fisher: Sometimes the bare minimum might be the the best doctors the best route. So you know, we do have to craft a budget and they've got a they've got to redraw legislative and congressional districts and but we're going to be there and pushing again, very aggressively to address these issues for the long term benefit of the central Indiana State.
Bennett: Well, thank you so much.
Fisher: Hey, I really appreciate the opportunity.
The full agenda can be found here: https://indychamber.com/advocacy/our-priorities/2021-legislative-priorities/