The following are the Policy Statements of the Government Affairs Committee as authorized by the Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors:
Recognizing that a consistent and ample supply of clean water is essential to the business, industrial and residential development of this area, the Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce supports a program of governmental collaboration in the search of additional sources of water and planning for modifications to the distribution systems to meet current and future needs.
We urge the local units of government, both users and suppliers of our local water systems, to coordinate their efforts such that duplication of facilities is avoided, service is provided to the region at reasonable cost, and future physical plant needs are funded.
Job Growth & Business Recruitment
Recognizing that a healthy business economy will serve to encourage a pleasant quality of life and a strong community, the Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce believes full employment, paying family supportive wage rates, is one of the most obvious ways to improve the quality of life of our citizens.
We support legislation that encourages diverse business and industrial base to locate in Michigan, such as (1) legislation controlling excessive and burdensome taxes and, (2) legislation which provides incentives for business recruitment, retention and expansion in our state and community.
We encourage the units of government to be aggressive in using local incentives that have been provided through state and federal legislation.
Recognizing that the economic well-being of the Shiawassee County business community is highly dependent upon the ability to efficiently transport products and people to, from, and within the region, the Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce promotes programs which improve transportation opportunities and facilities.
We encourage the development of passing lanes, capacity improvements, site corrections and intersection improvements to the state highways within the county, such that we efficiently connect all industrial and commercial areas to the interstate highway system and to the businesses served by those interstates.
We encourage efforts to upgrade county and local streets/roads servicing industrial areas to Class A, year-round status.
We encourage the development of service drives and traffic calming to reduce traffic congestion in high traffic areas, such as East M-21.
Growth Management, Planning and Zoning
Recognizing that growth management and land use planning and zoning, when used together, are one of the key tools to achieving a strong community with a pleasant quality of life, the Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce believes that planning should result in a long term plan which reasonably considers both the needs of the community and the resources available, and that zoning considerations reflect the plan.
We encourage all adjacent units of government to create a collaborative, long term regional land use plan that identifies targeted areas for residential, commercial, agricultural and industrial growth.
We urge that a long range plan would then drive regional zoning and the development of collaborative municipal services to support the plan.
We recommend that zoning ordinances be understood, fairly administered, and strictly enforced. We believe the excessive granting of variances tends to erode the value of zoning ordinances, and recommend they be used sparingly.
Recognizing that local, cost-effective healthcare provided to area businesses and families is an essential element of successful business growth and a healthy community, the Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce supports an environment in which healthcare remains affordable to employers and where our local independent providers may thrive.
We support legislation which ensures that employers remain in control of the choice of health insurance benefits they offer to employees.
We support the independence of our local healthcare facilities in that locally managed and directed facilities provide services specifically tailored to the community’s needs.
Communications & Technology Infrastructure
Recognizing that communication technology and the exchange of information is vital to economic development now more than at any point in our history, the Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce believes that information technologies in the hands of area businesses, schools, governments and families will serve to make our area globally competitive.
We support community and private-sector efforts to build and deliver state of the art information technologies and infrastructure throughout the county.
Recognizing the need for cooperation between units of government to promote economic growth and the improvement of the quality of life for residents, the Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce believes that collaboration and improved relations between Shiawassee County units of government are essential to bring about positive change.
We support activities designed to foster collaborative action between county units of government and encourage those units to act in cooperation.
We urge adjacent units of government to engage in collaborative planning, economic development, and the creation of shared municipal services and contracts.
Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce supports programs, processes, activities and facilities that promote a strong local education system which, together with business and community, prepares students for a productive role in the world.
We support creative solutions to improving operational efficiency.
We support cost effective improvements and modernization of our public school buildings, technology infrastructure, and grounds.
We support legislation and programs that provide career awareness, exploration, and experiences for all students through mechanisms and activities that involve business, schools and community in partnerships that set direction and build support.
We support the availability of locally provided, post-secondary education and training for area residents and customized education services to businesses.
Recognizing the economic importance of agriculture in Shiawassee County, and the need to promote it as an industry, the Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce supports economic development projects that help raise the profitability of farming operations.
We encourage legislation, programs, and projects that support alternative uses for agricultural products.
We support farmland preservation efforts that balance the need for healthy growth with maintaining our rural heritage and character.
The Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce opposes using recall as the only method for effecting political change.
We recognize that the right to recall elected officials is a constitutional right and an important part of the democratic process intended to hold politicians accountable for their work, and to remind them that they make decisions that affect an entire state, city, or local community.
We recognize that the recall process was not designed to replace our representative form of democracy, and recalls that can be initiated easily and for any reason undermine the integrity of the original ballot box, giving way to special interests, personal agendas, and single-issue politics.
We believe that citizens should also be accountable for the ways in which they influence the democratic process to effect change, being first a part of the public process by voicing an opinion and mobilizing grassroots support for a compelling legitimate cause that has community-wide impact, moving to recall only as a last resort.
We also believe that recalls are generally divisive, disruptive and expensive for any community, and are an indicator of an unstable, non-collaborative and unfriendly environment for economic development as well as for taking the risk to become a public official.
We support legislation that promotes improved energy independence for the United States with the goals of preserving our security and improving our economy by keeping the production, jobs and money in this country.
We encourage efforts that promote conservation and efficiency.
We encourage development of domestic alternative energy that can fill part of the demand (wind, solar, hydro, wood, bio fuels, methane and others).
We support relaxed restrictions on domestic exploration and refining of oil. We live in a global economy. We are imposing on the “protected environments” around the world to harvest energy. The choice is that we can do it at home the best we can, or can pay someone else to do it somewhere else.
We encourage the use of nuclear energy to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.