Legislative Testimony: Expanding Broadband Capabilities

The Indiana Chamber’s Cam Carter testified today in support of House Bill 1101 – Broadband Ready Communities, authored by Rep. Eric Koch (R-Bedford).

This legislation seeks to coordinate and streamline administrative procedures for the deployment of next generation broadband technologies.

The Indiana Chamber supports this effort. It should result in more competition and vital, more robust telecommunications services for Hoosier businesses and consumers.

Look at Indiana Entrepreneurship Offers Mixed Signals

Cam Carter, our VP of small business and economic development, talks with Tom Schuman about the state of entrepreneurship in Indiana.

For more on recent developments on this topic, see these articles from the latest BizVoice magazine:

Carter Discusses Small Businesses with SBDC

Indiana Chamber VP of Small Business & Economic Development Cam Carter discusses issues pressing Indiana small businesses in a recent interview with the Indiana Small Business Development Center. He talks about the Chamber’s key achievements and the status of current policies.

The Impact of Bayh’s Departure

The Indiana Chamber’s Cam Carter sat down with Gerry Dick to discuss the impact of today’s surprise announcement, though the true repercussions remain to be seen:

As political observers scramble to assess the impact of Senator Evan Bayh’s decision not to seek re-election, the vice president for federal affairs at the Indiana Chamber of Commerce believes it’s too early to tell what it could mean for business in the state. In a Studio(i) interview, Cam Carter says Bayh has been under the chamber’s microscope for voting to place a labor law attorney on the National Labor Relations Board, who appeared to favor proposals including card check legislation.

Carter says the Democratic Party will have to scramble to pick a candidate to run for the Senate seat in this year’s election.

Tomorrow is the deadline to gather 4,500 signatures from around the state to get a name on the ballot and Friday is the deadline for candidate filings.

Inside INdiana Business has video here.

Solving or Adding to the Health Care Headache?

Will President Obama’s goal of signing landmark health care reform legislation by October be realized? Cam Carter, the Indiana Chamber’s federal relations authority, says no. Mike Ripley, health care policy expert, offers that if it closely resembles what is currently being debated in Washington, he hopes not.

Carter and Ripley shared their perspective and answered questions from listeners during today’s Policy Issue Conference Call. If you want all the inside scoop and you’re a Chamber member, you need to listen (next up is K-12 education — charter schools, virtual charters and state scholarship tax credits, among other topics, on August 21). From today’s event, a few tidbits:

  • Millions and billions in Washington have given way to trillions. Conservatives are looking to bring "down" the cost of a reform package to the $1 trillion level. Early estimates on just pieces of the package are at $1.6 trillion and up
  • Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf popped a few balloons yesterday with his comment: "In the legislation that has been reported, we do not see the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a signficant amount and, on the contrary, the legislation significantly expands the federal responsibility for health care costs." Maybe that will give pause to some
  • Massachusetts, the state model of universal coverage with its program instituted by then Gov. Mitt Romney, has not worked out as intended with higher costs and lower reimbursement rates for providers causing friction
  • No fewer than five Congressional committees are currently weighing in with near total attention on this issue. Nevertheless, the deadlines of trying to get a bill through committees and floor debate before the August recess appear unreachable
  • The public plan option threatens the insurance industry as we know it

A Chamber member may have summed it up best when he questioned whether the proposals being bandied about are going to do anything to solve the problems with the health care system. That, of course, should be the bottom line litmus test of any plan.

The details and the dynamics are changing on an everyday basis. Stay tuned for more.

Paying for the Road(s) to Success

Stimulus. Cap and trade. Health care reform. All have been/are vying for attention — and dollars — in Washington. But what about transportation funding? You know, paying for the highways, bridges and infrastructure that help keep our country moving.

The Indiana Chamber’s Cam Carter was one of more than 100 association and business leaders to converge on Washington yesterday to deliver the "Transportation is Your Business" message to lawmakers. The SAFETEA-LU (you have to love those Washington acronyms) authorizing legislation expires on September 30. Delays on a new funding plan are normal, but the U.S. Chamber (organizer of this event) and the business community don’t want those in the nation’s capital to overlook these vital resources.

Among the major challenges is the fact that the traditional funding source for transportation projects, the federal gasoline tax, is generally regarded as nowhere near adequate to meet future needs. More public-private partnerships (see Major Moves here in Indiana) are touted as one of the solutions, but protectionist attitudes have put a damper on these projects. Washington, states, locals and more must begin to realize and accept that additional foreign investment is a good thing.

Transportation investment helps drive the economy (creating jobs in construction, engineering and more) and cost-effective and efficient services are essential for companies and their employees. If we can’t move products and people, we’re basically out of business.

A recent report noted that President Obama and some congressional leaders favor an 18-month extension of the current law before tackling a new agreement. If that time was spent developing new and innovative strategies to meet current and future needs, MAYBE it would be a good idea. Deadlines in Washington, however, like at the state level, often mean the work doesn’t get done until that drop dead time approaches (or passes). Carter reports from Washington that the 18-month extension is likely to become a reality.

Transportation investment is a big issue. Companies, large and small, and their employees can’t really afford for it to be put on the back burner.

You can join Carter, Chamber President Kevin Brinegar and Indiana business leaders on September 23-24 for the annual D.C. Fly-in. On a more immediate front, Carter and Chamber health care expert Mike Ripley will discuss the fast track efforts on health care reform during Friday’s Policy Issue Conference Call for members.

Video: Cam Carter Discusses Special Session

Cam Carter, the Chamber’s VP of small business and economic development, joined Gerry Dick (and Paul Mannweiler of Bose Public Affairs Group) on the set of Inside Indiana Business this weekend to discuss what didn’t happen — and what needs to happen — in the Indiana legislature. Topics discussed include the budget, the "onerous" unemployment trust fund bill, and more.

Catch the video here.