Chambers at the Forefront
Chambers take a Stand on Ballot Initiatives
Voters in thirty-six states will decide 152 ballot initiatives today. There weren't any on my ballot in Fredericksburg, VA this morning, but there is a good chance you voted on at least one.
From a renewable energy mandate in California, to an income tax repeal in Massachusetts, to a proposal that would make English the official language in Missouri; there are dozens of ballot measures with serious business implications. Over the past few months, chambers of commerce have spent a lot of time, money and effort rallying support or opposition, here are some examples:
Pasadena (CA) Chamber of Commerce
The Pasadena Chamber Board of Directors unanimously opposed Propositions 7 and 10, both would institute renewable energy and alternative fuel standards. There was unanimous support for Proposition 11, a measure that would appoint a redistricting committee to redraw state senate lines. The board split on support for a $350 million school bond. 12 propositions made this year's ballot in California. Click HERE to read more about the Pasadena Chamber's positions.
North Shore (MA) Chamber of Commerce
The Board of Directors of the North Shore Chamber Board of Directors voted unanimously to oppose Massachusetts Question 1, a measure that would repeal state income tax. Their position is based on the belief that removing the state income tax would result in dire consequences for businesses in already economically-trying times. Click HERE to visit the North Shore Chamber Blog to read their rationale.
Howard County (MD) Chamber of Commerce
The Howard County Chamber is but one of many in Maryland to support Question 2, a constitutional amendment that would legalize slot machines in the state and dedicate roughly 50% of gross revenue from slots to an education trust fund. The chamber joins teachers groups, unions and others from across the state who see slots as a solution to the possibility of slashing services or raising taxes. Supporters also argue that allowing slots in Maryland will keep dollars at home that currently go to neighboring West Virginia or Pennsylvania. Click HERE for the coalition website in support of Question 2.
Greater Phoenix (AZ) Chamber of Commerce
The Phoenix Chamber took positions on 7 statewide ballot initiatives. One that has drawn significant attention is Proposition 200, also know as the Payday Loan Reform Act. Proposition 200 would protect the right of payday lenders to operate, but would set guidelines on fees and lending terms. The Phoenix Chamber, along with many other chambers, non-profit groups and community leaders opposes Proposition 200. The coalition group Arizonans for Responsible Lending, issues a press release on their website (www.200isnoreform.com) that quotes Todd Sanders of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce regarding the Chamber’s opposition to Prop 200: “With this kind of solution, and in particular, one industry, you’re never going to have the option to change it, and you’re going to voter-protect one industry.”