Leading DC Fly-Ins - Conference Call

Ian Scott on Monday, October 26, 2009 at 4:51:39 pm 

Peer-to-Peer Connections 
Leading DC Fly-Ins
November 3, 2009, 4:00 pm Eastern

If you are planning a chamber delegation trip to Washington D.C., or thinking about revamping your visit, join us to pose questions, discuss best practices and share lessons learned.  Audience participation is expected. 

Guest Moderators:

  • Jay Byers, Senior Vice President, Government Relations & Public Policy, Greater Des Moines (IA) Partnership
  • Christy Caldwell, Vice President, Government Relations, Greater Topeka (KS) Chamber
  • Matthew Mahood, President and CEO, Sacramento (CA) Metro Chamber
  • Ginny Russell, Vice President, Community and Governmental Affairs, Mobile (AL) Area Chamber

Our guest moderators were featured in the Fall 2009 Chamber Executive article “Chamber Executives Get Down to Business In the Nation's Capital”

How to Join:

  • No registration required
  • No fee! All you pay is your long distance cost
  • Limited availability (first-come, first-served)

Email Ian Scott for Dial-In instructions.

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ACCE Issues "Chamber Basics" Primer

Ian Scott on Monday, October 26, 2009 at 1:20:14 pm 

Considering that in the U.S. alone there are more than 3,000 independent organizations bearing the name “chamber of commerce,” its no surprise that the chamber brand is not immune from confusion.

To help chamber executives better communicate to media, elected officials and their own members, ACCE has produced Chambers of Commerce: The Basics.  This primer answers the basic questions about what chambers of commerce are and what they do.  It also explains how they are structured and funded and describes how they interact and cooperate.

Use this tool to educate a new employee, build a deeper relationship with media outlets, or orient a board member.

Click to access Chambers of Commerce: The Basics.

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Introspection From Expedition

Mick Fleming on Sunday, October 25, 2009 at 11:47:13 pm 

Most of the time, my high speed travel doesn't allow for extended periods of introspection and the places and people I visit on the job focus my thoughts outward.  My trip to China with a couple of dozen members earlier this month had the opposite affect.  For some reason, the masses of humanity and the sheer magnitude of the entire Chinese experience fostered thoughts about my own place in the world.  At one point in the trip, I told fellow traveler Kelvin Hullett of Bismarck that I felt the way I do when I look into the sky on a clear night.  The scale of the population, building, skylines, commerce, wealth, poverty, history, ambition, problems and change in China made me feel small, the way that gazing at the endless stars across the universe can do.

On one night of the trip, I was lucky enough to meet up with my nephew who lives in Beijing.  As we walked through the city crowds in a city twice the size of New York, young Sam reminded me that his adopted home is only half the size of China's biggest city.  For about the hundredth time that day, I said "Wow."

Interestingly, on the less touristy portions of the trip, I also felt very connected to the individual people of China -- all of whom are floating along in space on this same rock.  They are worrying about their kids and their economic future just like the rest of us.  They are proud of their country, but skeptical about some of the directions their leaders want to lead.  They aren't blessed with the opportunity to look at the stars very often through the smog, but when they do, I believe they're filled with wonder and feelings of insignificance just like I am.   I looked at my life, my job, my problems and my relationships differently after traveling to China.   And, I'm more convinced than ever that we're all in this together.

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Gov. Barbour Calls Special Session

Ian Scott on Thursday, October 22, 2009 at 2:50:51 pm 

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour is calling legislators back to Jackson for a special session he hopes will last only one day.  The reason - to consider an incentives package for a company that plans to site a $300 million manufacturing plant in the state. 

Details are sparse at this stage, but AP reports that the project is not an automotive plant, and that the deal was signed during the Governor's recent 13 day business trip in Asia.

How many elected leaders will go to that length to create jobs?

Click to read more.

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Regulatory Reform in Ohio

Ian Scott on Wednesday, October 21, 2009 at 5:15:55 pm 

Two regulatory reform bills are working their way through the Ohio House.  Both could have a significant positive impact on businesses in the state.

The Small Business Regulatory Relief Act (Ohio HB 311)would require state agencies to conduct a cost-benefit analysis on each rule and regulation to ensure that it does not pose an undue burden on small businesses.  In addition, HB 311 creates the office of the Ohio Small Business Ombudsperson to act as a liaison between small businesses and state agencies.  Further, HB 311 establishes the Small Business Regulatory Review Board to review agency regulations and cost-benefit analysis, and ensure that small businesses are not being disproportionately impacted by these regulations.

The Common Sense Regulation Act(HB 230) was reported out of the House State Government Committee last week.  HB 230 would develop a system by which individuals and small businesses can be electronically informed when new rules or regulations are being developed.  In addition, HB 230 would provide for an ombudsperson at each state agency, establish the office of the small business advocate, and create the small business round-table to ensure that small businesses have an avenue to receive information and have their concerns and questions addressed.  HB 230 would also create customer service standards for each state agency employee to ensure that small businesses are being treated fairly and consistently in each of their interactions with regulatory bodies.

How refreshing to see a couple of positive policy notes this Wednesday afternoon.  If you have examples of good, pro-business legislation on the move in your state, please share by leaving a comment.

Thanks to the advocacy team at COSE (Council on Smaller Enterprise) for the background write ups on HB 311 and HB 230.

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Bangor Chamber Opposes TABOR

Ian Scott on Wednesday, October 21, 2009 at 3:29:01 pm 

An update to last week's posting about the TABOR ballot referendum in Maine - The Bangor Chamber has come out in opposition to the measure.  Here is their statement in relation to Question 4 (TABOR) and Question 2 (excise tax reduction)

"While we fully support efforts to improve Maine's business climate and economic development, our board does not believe that either of these ballot proposals would accomplish that," said John N. Diamond, chairman of the Chamber's board of directors. "Both proposals contain elements that the board believes could seriously undermine local infrastructure as well as Maine's economic competitiveness. In light of that, the board believes that passage of either proposal would be detrimental to our region and our state."

Click for the whole news item from the Bangor Daily News

The Portland (ME) Regional Chamber also opposes TABOR.  Their website offers a great history of Tax and Expenditure limiting legislation in Maine over the past 20-25 years.  Click HERE for that brief history.

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TABOR in Maine

Ian Scott on Monday, October 12, 2009 at 5:30:37 pm 

Last month we featured a blog post about a TABOR (Tax Payer Bil of Rights) ballot referendum in Washington State.  Well, it is on the ballot in Maine too.

Voters in the Pine Tree State will decide on Question 4 - The Maine Tax Relief Initiative.  This is state's second vote on a TABOR provision, a similar measure was rejected in 2006.

Like other TABOR laws, the measure would cap government spending at the previous year's budget with and adjustments for inflation and population growth.  Any spending over the set limit would require voter approval via ballot referendum.  The cap applies to the general fund, but also special revenue funds like transportation.  This proposal would use 2010, a year of significantly reduced tax revenue, as the baseline budget  year. 

Here are links to local organizations on both sides of the debate:

The Maine Chamber of Commerce has not taken a position on the issue.  In a press release dated Sept 22, the Chamber announced that their board was unable to reach a consensus.

The Androscoggin County Chamber held a forum of the Tabor Initiative July 29, 2009.  Chamber President Chip Morrison moderated.  The panelists provided a clear recap of the arguments for and against TABOR and took questions.  Click HERE to watch video of the forum.
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State Budget Woes Abound

Ian Scott on Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 12:55:52 am 

A blog post last week featured a link to a news article about the Lansing Chamber's "Countdown to Shutdown" billboard.  Well, news out of Michigan suggests they are right on track.

The Detroit News reported todaythat Michigan Governor Jill Granholm sent letters informing state employees of a layoff starting Oct 1 - tomorrow.  The thousands of pink slips were sent because state leaders have failed to pass a constitutionally mandated budget before Oct 1.

Click here to read more: Granholm sends layoff notices ahead of shutdown

Michigan isn't the only state with budget woes.  The Wall Street Journal reported today, "state tax revenues in the second quarter plunged 17% from a year earlier."  Declining tax revenue is forcing states to reevaluate service levels.

Click to read:  Falling Tax Revenues Slam States

Do you have ideas for "smart cuts" to help state and local governments balance revenue and expenditure?  Leave a comment or share them on the Policy Clearinghouse Group on LinkedIn.

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Senate Dems Propose Cap and Trade

Ian Scott on Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 12:30:08 am 

Senators Boxer and Kerry today introduced legislation to cap carbon emissions.  The bill is similar in nature to proposals in the House of Representatives, but sets even larger reduction targets.

This proposal comes roughly two months before negotiators plan to discuss an international climate change treaty in Copenhagen.

Read more about this issue from the Washington Post: Senate Democrats Seek Political Traction on Climate Bill

For sample energy policy statements from local chambers of commerce, check out the Policy Clearinghouse.

Have you surveyed your chamber members about their opinions on Energy Policy, Cap and Trade, and Climate Change?  If so, please leave a comment and share your results.

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