Tennessee’s Urban Chambers Ask State Legislators to Consider Legislation’s Impact on Business and Jobs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Jan. 31, 2013) – Today, the regional chambers of commerce in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville announced their support for a measure that would require the Tennessee General Assembly to consider, as part of the analysis of proposed legislation, the financial impact of each bill on businesses and jobs within Tennessee.

“Tennessee already has a mechanism in place to measure the fiscal impact of proposed legislation on government,” said Ron Harr, president and CEO of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, referring to the production of fiscal notes produced by the legislature’s Fiscal Review Committee. “This bill takes the Fiscal Review Committee’s analysis one step further.”

SB 116/HB 220, sponsored by Sen. Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro and Rep. Mark White of Memphis, directs the Fiscal Review Committee to include an “impact-to-commerce statement” in its fiscal note for bills and resolutions referred to certain committees.

“This bill is about making better-informed decisions by ensuring that our elected officials understand the effect new laws will have on our state’s employment and economic well-being,” said Mike Edwards, president and CEO of the Knoxville Chamber.

If this legislation becomes law, certain fiscal notes would include a statement about the net immediate and long-term effect each bill would have on commerce and jobs in the state. The impact to commerce statement would include, if possible, an estimate in dollars of the anticipated change in costs or savings to commerce.

“Our elected officials want to play a key role in creating jobs and economic prosperity,” said John Moore, president and CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber. “An analysis of a bill’s impact on business will give our legislators another tool to help accomplish that goal.”

The new analysis would only apply to bills that have a direct impact on commerce and would be limited to the following committees: House business and utilities committee; House finance, ways and means committee; House state government committee; House local government committee; House insurance and banking committee; House consumer and human resources committee; Senate commerce, labor and agriculture committee; Senate finance, ways and means committee; and Senate state and local government committee. If a piece of legislation impacted multiple industries in different ways, the analysis would focus on the overall net impact to commerce in the state.

“A recent survey of our members found that 88 percent of respondents believe that new legislation should be evaluated for its financial impact on business,” said Ralph Schulz, president and CEO of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. “Every year the Tennessee General Assembly considers proposals that have a bottom-line impact on our businesses. We believe every Tennessee business will benefit from a more-informed legislative process.”

In the area of K-12 public education, the four urban chambers’ 2013 joint legislative agenda also includes proposals to ensure student test results are in the hands of principals, teachers and administrators more quickly, and that each high school’s ACT scores are more easily accessible to the public. The four urban chambers’ full 2013 legislative agenda is attached.

About the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce:
Founded in 1887, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce is the region’s leading business association with more than 1,600 member companies employing more than 10,000 people. The Chattanooga Chamber is the spearhead of the business community, acting as the catalyst, convener, representative and resource for ensuring that the Chattanooga area achieves its outstanding business potential. We provide the focal point for the business community to fulfill its leadership role in making the Chattanooga area vibrant, prosperous and forward-looking. The Chattanooga Chamber has earned 4-Star Accreditation by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a distinction that places us among the top 10 percent of Chambers nationwide. For more information, visit www.chattanoogachamber.com.

About the Knoxville Chamber:
The Knoxville Chamber is the region’s leading business organization with more than 2,000 members that employ more than 276,000 individuals. More than 80 percent of Chamber members are small businesses with 50 or fewer employees. It fulfills its mission of Driving Regional Economic Prosperity by recruiting new businesses and supporting existing companies, and serves as the lead economic development agency in the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley. The organization has an active government advocacy program and supports pro-business policies. Members receive marketing, networking, professional development benefits, and many other cost-effective services. For more information, visit www.knoxvillechamber.com.

About the Greater Memphis Chamber:
The Greater Memphis Chamber is the lead economic development agency for Memphis/Shelby County, and is a private, non-profit, membership-driven organization comprised of 2,300 business enterprises, civic organizations, educational institutions and individuals. For more information, visit www.memphischamber.com.

About the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce:
The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce is Middle Tennessee’s largest business federation, representing more than 2,000 member companies. Belong, engage, lead, prosper embodies the Chamber’s focus on facilitating community leadership to create economic prosperity for Middle Tennessee. The work of the Nashville Area Chamber is supported by membership and sponsors; the Chamber’s Pivotal Partners (a partnership at the highest level for all Chamber programs and events) are BlueCross/BlueShield of Middle Tennessee, Community Health Systems and Delek US Holdings. Together with its affiliates, the Nashville Chamber works to strengthen the region’s business climate and to enhance Nashville’s position as a desirable place to live, work and visit. For more information, visit www.nashvillechamber.com.

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