Policy Priorities | Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce

Policy Priorities

As an organization dedicated to the economic well-being of McLennan County, the Greater Waco Chamber actively seeks to promote policy priorities that are conducive to the further development of this region. Our key areas of focus include Economic Development; Education; Health Care; Transportation (including Air Services, Infrastructure and High-Speed Rail); and Water and Natural Resources. Below is a snapshot of our policy priorities.
 
You can also click here to download a PDF version of our policy priorities.
 

Workforce

  • Support opportunities under the newly reauthorized Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to reboot sector-based partnerships that are employer led and advocate for demand-driven workforce development and training programs.
  • Observe and adopt successful policies and programs at the state, regional and local levels to ensure a dynamic workforce development system for the future.

Small Business & Entrepreneurship

  • Greater support for programs and agencies that aid small businesses and entrepreneurs, including SBA, EDA, USDA and NIST.
  • Advance legislation that provides greater access to capital, as well as continuing support in FY2017 for existing access to capital programs like SBA’s 504 and 7(a) programs.

International Opportunities

  • Fully and permanently fund the SelectUSA program to support foreign direct investment in local economies across the US.
  • Seek out new ways, including trade agreements, to expand access to foreign markets for American made goods and services and continue to grow our exports.
  • Support immigration reform that leads to expanded access to student, worker and investor visas.

Education

Higher Education

  • Support the reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act and focus on reforms that strengthen business engagement and ties between community colleges and local businesses, maintaining flexibility to better prepare youth and adults for careers aligned to local industry needs.
  • Support adequate funding to support inflationary increases to the Pell Grant maximum award without limiting eligibility and extend lifetime Pell eligibility to 14 full-time equivalent semesters.
  • Reinstate the year-round Pell Grant to reflect today’s student populations, allowing students to complete their degrees and enter the workforce more quickly.
  • Support the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act to support student access and success by improving student aid programs, granting institutions the ability to limit borrowing; revise cohort default rates by incorporating the percentage of students who borrow; excluding Pell Grant and SEOG funds from Pell Grant eligibility; simplifying the FAFSA; ensuring accurate and complete measurements of student success; reducing regulatory burdens; improving institutional support; and rejecting any proposal for institutional student-loan risk-sharing.

Public Education

  • Support funding for high quality preschool for eligible families.
  • Support efforts to improve and expand access to quality Early Childhood Education programs, to ensure children arrive at kindergarten school-ready, laying the foundation for future workforce-readiness.
  • Support implementation of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, with an emphasis on state accountability systems and providing for more local flexibility to make educational decisions.
  • Oppose limiting the flexibility of local school boards to make decisions that serve the best interests of their districts.
  • Support equitable and adequate funding for Texas public schools.

Healthcare
  • Support expanded access to healthcare coverage to ensure the burden of uninsured care does not fall on local communities (counties, cities, hospitals, physicians, or other health care providers)
  • Support Graduate Medical Education funding to ensure the training and availability of doctors, nurses and other health care providers in order to meet the growing demand of patient care.
  • Support legislation that encourages preventative and behavioral healthcare, encourages employees to be more involved in their health, and encourages education of employers and employees alike on health care costs and fees. Promote understanding that a healthy employee is a critical part of a productive workforce.
  • Support renewal of the 1115 Waiver to fund the patient population being served.
  • Oppose reduction of 340b eligibility, so safety net hospitals and care providers may continue to provide assistance to low-income and indigent populations.

  • Support permanent or long-term extension for tax credit programs that promote development and innovations, including the New Market Tax Credit.
  • Address tax reform with key goals of significantly reducing the corporate tax rate to levels comparative with international competitors and reducing the cost of compliance allowing companies to reinvest in themselves and workers.
  • Promote appraisal processes that are fair, retain local authority, and promote business development and growth.
  • Enact tax provisions that spur private sector innovation and development and that encourage the formation of new businesses large and small.
  • Ensure regulations reflect a cost-benefit perspective and support legislative efforts to maintain a regulatory climate that does not impose hidden taxes on employers through excessive fees and fines, but rather reduces excessive regulations to promote economic growth and job creation.
  • Advocate for statute reform for the payday lending industry that allows consumers access to necessary funds and eliminates predatory lending practices.
  • Support local control generally and specifically as to dedicated rights of way, water rights, and watershed protection.

Transportation
  • Support a permanent fix to make the Highway Trust Fund solvent and fund the complete expansion of the Interstate 35 corridor through Waco to support the transportation of international and national goods.
  • Advocate for federal policies that encourage private sector investment in public infrastructure.
  • Advocate for suballocation of Metropolitan Mobility funding through the Surface Transportation Program, without qualification based on arbitrary population cutoff limits.
  • Advocate for policies that support disbursements reflecting changing population trends and growth.
  • Advocate for a consistent funding stream that offers long-term planning potential across all modes of transporting goods, people and services.
  • Advocate for discretion in the Airport Improvement Program funding to allow for increased spaceport funding.
  • Include broadband and energy infrastructure in the federal investment portfolio.
  • Support programs that support and fund vital infrastructure projects.
  • Advocate for the Greater Waco area’s best interests in high speed rail access.

Water
  • Oppose Section 2014 of S. 601 in the Water Resources Development Act which gives the Army Corps of Engineers unprecedented discretion to adjust reservoir operations without Congressional authorization.
  • Oppose efforts to implement or enforce the federal Waters of the United States final rule, which broadens the jurisdiction of the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers under the Clean Water Act to include “other waters” located in isolated places at the “Waters of the U.S.” without requiring case-specific evaluation.
  • Ensure the EPA evaluates the economic impact and job loss in its regulations, as is required by all major environmental laws, advocating for balancing critical investments in infrastructure along with environmental protections.
  • Monitor water supply, ownership, and quality concerns, including property rights issues and drought management policy.

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Visit the first green Chamber building in America at:

101 S. Third St.
Waco TX 76701

Mailing address:
P.O. Box 1220
Waco TX 76703-1220

(254) 757-5600