Chamber's Current Policy Priority Issues:
The Chamber's plan is to work closer with other economic development oriented organizations in the region and to seek initiatives that will serve as an advocacy item related to economic development. Other specific topics can be brought in under the topic of economic development.
Some of the other issues can also be addressed separately but belong to within the scope of economic development. The most prominent development projects that can be supported with policy and advocacy are the Windsor-Essex redevelopment zones and projects that support small business.
The Chamber can address the sources of capital and match the investors with the broader business community to drive economic growth. The Finance and Taxation committee is putting together an Access to Capital Seminar to address the issue in an information based forum. The Government Relations Committee can identify the projects and opportunities for advocacy on investment issues.
Energy and Environment:
Conservation of Power, Environmental Awareness and Energy Planning, Energy Infrastructure. The main concern for the business community under this policy issue is the reliability (predictability) of energy supplies and their cost. Although the Environment and Energy Committee has the lead on developing policy and positions for the Chamber all policy committees have a role in developing recommendations for the Board.
This issue generally belongs to transportation but implications to our members span finance and taxation, environment and government relations. All policy committees should have a role in developing recommendations for the Board on border infrastructure issues. The policy chairs group is a good forum for cross referencing the issues.
Both can be in the mix of policy and advocacy priorities. The role of the committees is to develop the policy issues and move these issues into the advocacy plan.
Business Property Taxes:
Property taxes, in Windsor in particular are at the top of the business issues for many of the Chamber members. The businesses are complaining about the amount of business taxes and fees they pay to operate in Windsor. A serious study of the tax situation and the business fee structure in Windsor-Essex is needed.
The Finance & Taxation Committee will lead the effort to address the issue for the region. More free resources will be brought into the research and analysis effort in the upcoming year. Business and property taxes and fees together are one of two top issues that were identified in the municipal election membership survey, the other one being economic development and jobs.
Coordination of Municipal Services:
The issue is related to creating the conditions for developing closer relationship within the Windsor-Essex region. The Chamber's role is to advocate and create policy aimed at municipalities comprising the Windsor-Essex region. All policy committees can have a role in recommending policy positions, advocacy activities and forums to advance closer regional coordination.
The issue refers to policy and advocacy related to the Great lakes basin water as transportation and natural resource. The issue relates to transportation, environment and economic development. Other aspects of the issues are related to environmental degradation, port development issues etc.