ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (WOWO): Allen County leaders have laid out their legislative priorities for 2020:
The priorities, developed by the Board of Commissioners and Government Affairs Director Beth Lock, were delivered to state lawmakers this week. They include:
ENHANCEMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TOOLS
Allen County believes in the collaborative efforts of multiple units to work toward common economic projects and initiatives. The county supports revenue streams to aid in these efforts as long as the county fiscal body has the option to adopt the tax. The county opposes changes to the existing Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority Board. Also, Allen County believes Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts are not only effective, but crucial to attract commerce to Indiana and enhance development, thereby making Indiana more competitive with other states. The county advocates for continued flexibility of TIF districts including residential TIF districts which help establish affordable housing to attract a diverse workforce.
HOME RULE & LOCAL OPTION CONTROL
The Board of Commissioners supports increased decision-making and fiscal flexibility at the local level to implement innovative ideas that better serve our community and streamline local government services. Additionally, the commissioners oppose the passage of any legislation that strips the County’s authority to implement change via local ordinances or preempts local authority – including local taxation authority, planning and zoning decisions, and health and safety administration. Allen County also opposes state mandates that supersede local authority, particularly if the directive is unfunded by the state.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM INITIATIVES
Allen County supports a number of the recommendations recently released in the Indiana Supreme Court’s Jail Overcrowding Task Force 2019 Report. These initiatives focus on five distinct areas: Data & Evaluation, Behavioral Health, Case Processing, Community Supervision, and Resources. Allen County will support greater flexibility for public safety and county jail income taxes, as well as the ability for offenders to retain Medicaid and Medicare benefits throughout incarceration, during the 2020 legislative session.