SB 350 – Central Indiana Regional Development Authority
Authored by Sen. Travis Holdman (R-Markle)
Sponsored by Rep. Timothy Brown (R-Crawfordsville)

Authorize counties and municipalities within the Indianapolis metropolitan area to establish a central Indiana regional development authority pilot that will sunset on July 1, 2025. Requires counties and municipalities that wish to establish the development authority to adopt substantially similar resolutions to adopt a preliminary strategic economic development plan. Provides that the development authority shall be governed by a strategy committee composed of members selected according to the terms of the preliminary development plan adopted to establish the development authority. Specifies the duties of the development authority. Requires the development authority to prepare a comprehensive strategic economic development plan. Expands the definition of “economic development projects” under the local income tax statute to permit expenditures on projects and programs that will attract and retain businesses and talent. Codifies the establishment and governing provisions of the Indianapolis metropolitan planning organization.

Chamber position: Support

The latest: On Thursday, the House Ways and Means Committee held SB 350. Chairman Brown said that it will be on the calendar next week as “amend and vote” only.

Indiana Chamber action/commentary: Immediately upon the Senate passing SB 350 48-1 on February 4, the Chamber began lobbying members of the House to hear the bill in committee. Some committee chairs have been reluctant to hear a lot of bills during the second half, so the fact that SB 350 was heard was a small victory in itself.

Senator Holdman opened the hearing by giving a high-level overview of the bill’s genesis and evolution. (Originally it was a broader bill that included taxing authority, but the Chamber, working with the author, developed the amendment for the current central Indiana pilot). Advocates who testified in support of the bill included mayors Scott Fadness (Fishers) and Andy Cook (Westfield), the Association of Indiana Counties and the Indy Chamber.

The Chamber began testimony by sharing with the committee data indicating that the state is facing a major slowdown to the growth of its workforce. We provided data showing that the state ranks in the bottom half of all states in socio-economic metrics such as per capita income, high school graduation rates, college degrees, access to high-speed broadband, and obesity and smoking rates. We said that despite Indiana being widely regarded as “business friendly” there are many areas in which we must improve, and tackling these issues depends on grassroots and regional cooperation.

Our testimony concluded by reiterating the Chamber’s position that (1) SB 350 is a positive step in the right direction, (2) it gives central Indiana a starting point to develop a comprehensive, quality of place strategy and (3) it will serve as a pilot for future regional development statewide – something upon which the future well-being of our state relies.

Resource: Adam H. Berry at (317) 264-6892 or email: [email protected]