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Why Business Matters: The Metro Chamber's 2017 Legislative Agenda

Written By:

LVChamber

As the Nevada Legislative Session convenes on February 6, the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce will be there from Day One as the voice of business to stand up for pro-business and job-promoting legislation, and to stand up against legislative bills that will increase the cost of doing business and hinder economic prosperity for Nevada’s employers and their employees. This is what the Metro Chamber stands for every day as our number one priority.

The Metro Chamber has a strong legacy of protecting its members by combating state policies that harm economic growth and expansion for employers and entrepreneurs. We are your eyes and ears and your boots on the ground against legislation that would hurt your future growth. We are on the lookout for bills that line up with what we stand for so we can support them and, to the contrary, go against what we stand for so we can fight them. 

WHAT ARE ARE THE PRINCIPLES THAT THE METRO CHAMBER STANDS FOR? 

Less Regulatory Burden

The Metro Chamber stands for ensuring that job creators are not punished. Again, as our economy recovers and businesses begin to grow, any regulation must make common sense and be effective, efficient, and enforceable. We will contest any unnecessary or burdensome regulation that would be a barrier to growth, profitability, and jobs or have a disproportionate impact on business. Where regulation is appropriate, we press for fair and balanced guidelines so the business community in general or specific industries are not unfairly or disproportionately targeted and can fairly compete.

More Efficiency in Government

The Metro Chamber stands for you every day, at every level of government, to make sure businesses will be better off next year than last. As our economy continues to rebuild, you – our job creators – musthave every opportunity to grow and succeed. We must have transparent, efficient, predictable, and effective processes for licensing, inspections, and any other government requirement that would affect a business' operations. We are vigilant in protecting against inefficient government spending and advancing greater government accountability – whether it be at the local, state or educational institution level.

Building our Future Workforce

The Metro Chamber stands for a vibrant economy and a healthy community. We need to do everything within reason to fulfill current and future employer needs and attract more advanced industries to our communities by better preparing our students for the jobs of the future. The Metro Chamber pushes for a myriad of education reforms, including modernizing our higher education system so that universities and community colleges can align their programs more closely with the needs of employers. As businesses are the largest customer of our public school system, your voice needs to be heard on where your current and future needs are. You are the job creators of our state. The Metro Chamber acts as not only a convener, but as a microphone, for the voice of our region’s employers. That voice is for a stronger Nevada, which allows Nevada’s employers, employees, and families to prosper and succeed.

Keeping it Local, Keeping it in Nevada

The Metro Chamber stands for local money staying local. Our employers need to be rewarded for their efforts and it is time to level the playing fields. Our local businesses are paying fees and taxes – makinginvestments in facilities, infrastructure and systems that power our community and lay the foundation for more local jobs. We must make sure the government procurement process is designed to recognize the investment and contributions that our Nevada businesses are making. We can do this by fighting for laws and regulations that will give our local businesses a fairer opportunity to compete for government contracts. The Metro Chamber is also committed to providing resources to our local businesses to educate them on how to better compete for these contracts.

Being your unrelenting voice for these opportunities is the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce’s objective every day. We are the voice of business – your business, and that is what westand for. We respect the contributions you make to Nevada’s economy and we are here to defend you as the foundation of Nevada’s economy. Without you, Nevada would not be the great state that it is today.

During the legislative session, the Metro Chamber will command a presence in Carson City to work alongside Governor Brian Sandoval, legislators, and other organizations and stakeholders to advancea legislative agenda that protects businesses from harmful legislation that impedes economic growth, and supports legislation that provides the opportunities for our businesses to realize the growth necessary to expand, diversify, and move our communities forward.

WHY BUSINESS MATTERS:

At the center of a well-rounded and dynamic community is the success of its businesses, its employers, and its employees. Protecting our business community’s livelihood, and creatingopportunities for employers – and therefore, their employees and families – to succeed, is critical to the future success of our region. Prosperous communities with revenues for education, infrastructure, necessary improvements, more jobs, and development opportunities begin with businesses that have the best environment to thrive. And that is why business matters.

Fighting for these opportunities and that environment is the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce. During the legislative session, the Metro Chamber will be the voice of business – large and small – as it has been for more than a century, leading the way to put into place meaningful, common sense legislation that will help our community grow, and combat laws that mean to add unnecessary costs and onerous burdens on our businesses, which are the very fabric of our state’s economy. Nevada’s employers are the job creators of our state; they employ Nevada’s families and they invest to better our communities because it is the right thing to do. The Metro Chamber is currently tracking more than 600 bills on behalf of its members, and will be a powerful voice in Carson City to give our businesses the operating environment and opportunities they deserve. We are your voice and your champion in the halls of Carson City.

OVERALL BUSINESS CLIMATE

Why Business Matters: A predictable and stable regulatory environment is conducive to growth and expansion: this is essential to Nevada’s communities and economy. By standing up for employers,entrepreneurs, and a fair approach to employment matters considered by the 2017 Legislature, we send the message that Nevada is a pro-prosperity state, increasing our opportunities for economic advancement. We are your voice of economic freedom.

Keeping Nevada a pro-prosperity state is key to future business growth and expansion. In 2015, several tort reform bills were passed, helping to move Nevada in line with 42 other states in terms of legal climate. A fair and predictable legal climate for employers is important to job creation and business growth. Two major pieces of tort reform legislation passed will need to be safeguarded against potential repeals, including the changes to trespass liability, which removed the burden of liability from business owners for what happened to an individual on their premises when the person had no invitation, permission, or license to be there. In 2015, the bond amount required for a business to post whenappealing a civil judgment was capped, simultaneously increasing Nevada’s business friendliness in regards to legal climate and freeing up dollars for economic growth and job creation. Such tort reform measures were critical to improving Nevada’s competitiveness in the marketplace, and progress should not be hindered. We must move forward with these reforms in place.

The Metro Chamber is committed to advocating on behalf of the Nevada business community to ensure employers’ rights with hiring and labor practices are not compromised by egregious,draconian legislation that weakens their rights to create a productive and positive work environment for employees. The Metro Chamber will support initiatives that reduce the burdens on business, while supporting efforts that foster economic competitiveness between Nevada’s employers. Asis true throughout the country, small businesses are essential to a strong and robust economy and are the economic drivers of the state’s job growth.

Businesses, both large and small in Nevada, need a statewide business climate that is predictable and encourages them to grow their business, which includes putting more Nevadans back towork. The Metro Chamber believes there should be collaborative and comprehensive efforts to identify and support workforce development initiatives, training programs, and other courses for strengthening skill sets required for today’s – and tomorrow’s – workforce. These initiativeswill help grow a healthy community and support the progress that we have made in our state’s economic recovery these last few years. We need to move forward, not go backwards for the sake of Nevada’s families.

The Metro Chamber played an early and active role in passing construction defect reform in 2015, and will fight during this session to ensure it is upheld. The measures adopted in 2015 were necessary to restore clarity to the process, encourage prompt resolution of disputes, reduce litigation costs, and provide procedures that are understandable to all interested parties. These types of reforms will continue to assist in the recovery of the residential construction sector, not just in Southern Nevada but the entire state. The recovery means more good paying jobs in the construction industry, this means more Nevadans being put back to work and employers helping their employees to have a better quality of life. This is why business matters.

HIGHER EDUCATION

Why Business Matters: A strong, healthy, and diverse higher education system produces a quality workforce, which benefits the business community, as its employees and future entrepreneurs. By strengthening our community college system and championing the UNLV School of Medicine, we solidify Southern Nevada as a competitive place to live, work, and do business.

Workforce development issues continue to persist in Nevada, and community colleges will play an important role in aligning workforce needs with educational and training programs to better prepare students and employees. During the 2017 legislative session, the Metro Chamber will continue to champion higher education reform, ensuring our community colleges are able to work strategically with employers and act responsively to their needs. A higher education system focused on workforce development can give our state a strong competitive advantage in terms of economic development and wage growth opportunities. It is important for the business community to engage to support the measures that will align these efforts and create this competitive edge. This will create a stronger workforce, a stronger economy, and a stronger Nevada. During the 2015 Legislature, the Metro Chamber was an early champion and staunch supporter of the funding for the UNLV School of Medicine, which will welcome its first students this fall. This was a major achievement for Southern Nevada. Just a few years ago, the UNLV School of Medicine was just an idea and inspiration for our community. It is a reality because of our unified efforts as a community. Continuing its legacy, the Metro Chamber will continue to be a vocal and proud advocate of the first public allopathic medical school in Southern Nevada and support efforts to secure the necessary funding for the operation of the medical school. UNLV’s medical school – as well as the two private medical schools in Southern Nevada, Roseman University College of Medicine and Touro University – are essential to the health and well-being of our community. As Las Vegas currently ranks at the bottom of the list of physicians per capita and health care delivery systems, it is important to strengthen this key component of our higher education and health care sector through important initiatives such as Graduate Medical Education (GME). Keeping more of these students in Southern Nevada to deliver quality care through residencies and jobs, we become a more attractive environment for new and expanding businesses, as well as talent recruitment. This is why business matters.

K-12 EDUCATION

Why Business Matters: As the largest customer of the public school system, the business community should support its public schools and work collaboratively with stakeholders to identify ways of assisting, developing, and preparing students for the future workforce, as well as opportunities for entrepreneurship. K-12 education is also a key driver of economic competitiveness, helping to attract businesses to move to Nevada, recruit talent, and reinforce business optimism.

The Metro Chamber has a strong history of engaging with K-12 education efforts and initiatives on a legislative level. The Metro Chamber is encouraging legislators and stakeholders to examine the recommendations put forward to Governor Brian Sandoval from the Spending and Government Efficiency (SAGE) Commission for the System of K-12 Public Education, as required by the 2015 Legislature. The recommendations include increasing productivity and efficiency in the K-12 education delivery system, reducing costs, and improving the K-12 public education system. In particular, the Metro Chamber believes that spending in the K-12 education system should be focused on the priorities that will help create jobs and move the regional economy forward, in turn generating more revenues for our communities.

The Metro Chamber, during the 2015 legislative session, spoke often about the need for transparency, accountability measures, and performance measures within the K-12 public education system for the benefit of Nevada’s hardworking taxpayers. During this session, the Metro Chamber will continue to emphasize the importance of maintaining and strengthening those measures to support specific programming at local school district levels.

As in previous sessions, the Metro Chamber will be at the table to work with Governor Sandoval and lawmakers, but businesses cannot be asked to carry the burden alone. Businesses are already paying their fair share, and we cannot risk a tipping point that will harm employers, limit economic investment, and curtail job growth – in short, hurting Nevada families. Nevada’s tax structure needs to be equitable, transparent, simple, and stable, for the benefit of Nevada’s employers and Nevada’s families. This is why the Metro Chamber is your voice in Carson City, and this is why business matters.

GOVERNANCE

Why Business Matters: By ensuring Nevada has its fair share of federal grants, we increase our competitiveness and ability to undertake new projects that will help our communities advance, increase diversification efforts, and bring new businesses, industries, initiatives, and talent to the state. Nevada businesses have a stake in where federal tax dollars go to ensure that Nevada receives fair and equitable representation. In addition, Southern Nevada should be fairly represented on stateboards and commissions to ensure its voice – as well as concerns and interests – are heard.

On both a state and federal level, the Metro Chamber has identified increasing Nevada’s federal grants competitiveness, as well as getting its fair share of federal grant dollars, as a priority. For decades, Nevada has been among the poorest performing states in terms of receiving competitive federal grants. These federal grants have many benefits, including funding muchneeded enhancements to programs, projects, and services in health care, transportation, income security, education, job training, social services, community development, and environmental issues. According to Pew Charitable Trusts, increasing Nevada’s position in per capita grants by just one spot (putting our state forty-eighth) would yield an estimated $258 million in new funding. It also does this without adding any additional tax burden to businesses and residents, and essentially returns Nevadans’ tax dollars back to their communities. During this session, the Metro Chamber will continue to be a leader in that dialogue and efforts to advance the case for Nevada and stress the need for a statewide grants management system to identify, track, and report grant funding; streamline the process for grant-related work plans; and eliminate roadblocks and limitations to pursue federal grants and increase flexibility to apply for federal grants. 

The Metro Chamber also supports the configuration of state board and commission seats to better reflect the representation of the state’s population. In 2013, the Metro Chamber supported the passage of Senate Bill 322, which increased Southern Nevada’s representation to the Board of Directors for the Nevada Department of Transportation and the passage of Assembly Bill 410 in 2015, which ensured that the Nevada Real Estate Board had membership proportional to the population centers of the state. As additional opportunities arise, the Metro Chamber will work to ensure Southern Nevada is adequately and fairly represented. This is important as Southern Nevada continues to be the economic engine of the state.

TRANSPORTATION INVESTMENTS

Why Business Matters: It benefits every resident and visitor of Southern Nevada to ensure that our roadways and modes of transportation are modern and efficient. A strong transportation system increases competitiveness for businesses looking to relocate or expand, and helps the entire Valley stay more connected. In addition, a modern transportation network is safer and allows for less congestion, better road safety, and more productivity. It also assists with shipping routes through our region, as less congestion means more efficient movement of goods.

The Metro Chamber is a longtime supporter and partner in fuel revenue indexing, which passed on the November ballot. By ensuring local tax dollars stay in Clark County to fund necessary road improvements and expansions, we increase our competitiveness in the marketplace and become a more efficient and attractive place to do business, move people and products, live, and visit. Additional enhancements along our key transportations corridors will provide the opportunity to leverage our region’s existing resources to stimulate job growth and expansion. The Metro Chamber encourages the continued collaboration and utilization of public-private partnerships in regards to transportation projects.

The Metro Chamber perseveres in regards to transportation infrastructure investments to ease congestion and make commuting more efficient for residents and visitors. This may include enabling language that allows the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada to expand its scope of intermodal transportation.

As Southern Nevada continues to evolve and expand, our transportation system must do so, as well, and the conversations and actions must be put into place now so we are not forced into a “catch up” situation with traffic congestion and commuters in the next decade. A strong transportation infrastructure is a key component to the continued revitalization of Southern Nevada.

Transportation projects are proven economic enablers and can serve as a catalyst for growth in Southern Nevada.

 

If we pass pro-prosperity legislation and support strong, sound public policy initiatives that support Nevada’s employers, we will build a stronger and more diverse Nevada that benefits our state’s employers, employees nd their families. It is upon all of us to move forward and not go backwards during this legislative session. A strong business community is a strong Nevada, and a strong future is a cause for which our entire business community – small and large – can fight. Your voice as an employer matters. Your voice as a Nevadan matters. 

And that is Why Business Matters.

 

STAY VIGILANT.

STAY ENGAGED.

HERE'S HOW TO GET INVOLVED:

  • Check your inbox. Each Friday, "The Rundown" will give the latest breakdown of which bills the Metro Chamber has been engaged with during the week at the Legislature, how it testified, and how you can support the MEtro Chamber in its efforts.
  • The Carson City Call, a monthly webinar with the Metro Chamber's governmentaffairs team, will premiere February 7. See the calendar for more details on this call, which gives you insights and information  live from the LEgislature.  You will also have an opportunity to ask questions.
  • For President's Club members, engage in the Paul Call, a biweekly conference call with Paul Moradkhan, the Chamber's vice president of government affairs, ont eh issues important to you and your business, and what's happening in Carson City that could impact you.
  • Answer the call to action. Be on the lookout for specific calls to action via Carson City Alerts. The Metro Chamber will alert its members when a bill of particular importance to the business community will be heard, so you can contact your legislators and let them know you stand with the Metro Chamber and the business community. We are the voice of business - and collectively, our voices are strong, unified, and make things happen. 
  • Engage on social media. The Metro Chamber will post regularly about what's happening at the session, so be sure to follow @lvchamber on Twitter and Facebook to see the latest.
  • Make a contribution to BizPAC, the Metro Chamber's bipartisan political action committee. Hundreds of members, as well as Metro Chamber staff and volunteers, support this PAC to ensure the business community's interests remain in front of our elected officials. Contributions help elect pro-prosperity candidates and ensure a business friendly operating environment in Nevada. For more information on donating ,visit LVChamber.com/bizpac or contact Maisie Rodolico at 702.641.5822 or mrodolico@lvchamber.com.