The Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce government relations division utilizes these guiding principles as a foundation for which it operates toward its mission of advocating for pro business policy and legislation.
The Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce operates on the basic premise that taxation should be used to fund essential government services, and any additional tax should be levied only in special circumstances (1). We believe budget shortfalls in all levels of government, whether federal, state or local, should be addressed by reorganizing priorities and reducing spending before tax increases are considered.
The Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce believes strongly that our economy is best served by the principles of free market, economic growth and a pro-business philosophy. We recognize that there are rules and regulations that are necessary and proper for a viable, free market, but we believe government regulation of business operations should be minimal, fair and reasonable. Unnecessary or burdensome regulations reduce our area's attractiveness as a business location. We believe that business and government should act in partnership to promote job growth and economic opportunity for all citizens.
BUSINESS CREATION, EXPANSION & RECRUITMENT
The Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce believes efforts to diversify and expand our economy are of primary importance and a top priority. Our specific responsibilities and focus will be with foreign trade zones, international trade and market development, strategic retention and marketing. Business creation, expansion of existing businesses, recruitment of new business, work force availability and improvements in the business climate are essential elements of a sound economic development program. Desirable companies are community-minded and provide competitive wage and benefit packages. The Chamber will work with private and public partners in supporting realistic and effective economic development incentives.
The Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce believes that we should be open to cooperative efforts between local units of government to promote efficiency in the delivery of services and to avoid duplication of efforts. Indeed, growth in the area provides the opportunity to explore new forms and methods of government service delivery so taxpayers receive cost-effective government. It is essential that the Greater Lansing business interests be addressed in the local government decision making processes, including representation on coalitions, committees and task forces where appropriate.
The Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce advocates well-rounded, quality education that provides individuals the chance to reach their own life goals. We strongly support efforts to adequately fund a seamless, effective, efficient system of K-12 education, including vocational and technical curriculum. In the 21st century it will be imperative that our educational system produces well-prepared future business owners and managers for entire state and region. We recognize the importance in partnering with Michigan State University, Lansing Community College, Davenport University, Cooley Law School and other area educational institutions to strengthen and support our future workforce. Business and corporate citizens should engage in cooperative partnerships with schools in order to expand learning opportunities for all students.
ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES
The Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce places a high priority on safeguarding and conserving both the quality and quantity of our area's natural amenities. Government, in partnership with business, should share a responsible role in conserving, enhancing and protecting our water quality, air quality, wildlife and land. In addition, we place a high priority on findings way to devise programs aimed at reducing energy consumption and promoting options that will address alternative fuels and renewable energy.
REGIONALISM AND REDEVELOPMENT
The Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce supports a strong and vibrant downtown Lansing as the center of government and showcase for the community. The Chamber also supports continuing efforts to redevelop downtown Lansing and other areas of the Tri-County for the betterment of the entire region. The explosion of interest in and support for collaboration across the country is a reflection of the public's desire for combining resources and collectively improving communities. Cooperation between governments will be essential to bring the best services and opportunities to the region.
The Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce supports private and public efforts to enhance the market and area's growing tourism economy. The cultural, historical, sports, recreation and natural attractions of our area provide destinations of worldwide interest. We will work with the Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau and LEPFA to improve the opportunities in the Mid-Michigan region that can serve all residents of Michigan and out-state visitors.
QUALITY OF LIFE
The Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce believes area residents should be able to enjoy personal security, quality education, first-rate medical care, adequate and affordable housing, economic opportunity and varied leisure activities. Individual businesses and corporate citizens in the counties of Ingham, Clinton and Eaton should contribute to the overall quality of life by showing generosity and involvement in the community.
The Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce believes that we should maintain a high quality infrastructure network that meets the current and future needs of individual, business and corporate citizens. Emphasis must be placed on adequately designing, constructing and maintaining an infrastructure network (roads, air, rail, information technology, utilities, public transit and public facilities) that is cost-effective, yet provides the highest possible level of service to our community and anticipates future growth and the needs that will accompany that growth.
The Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce believes that a good transportation network is the key to successful commerce and quality of life. The ability to move goods, services and people quickly and efficiently will continue to be essential to our
economic well-being. We encourage government to give transportation improvements a top priority for continuing investment.
The Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce believes that the diversity of this community is one of its greatest strengths. We encourage businesses to respect and celebrate the multitude of races, religions, cultures, national origins, abilities and beliefs that exist within their workforces and to work to ensure that job candidates are evaluated for employment based solely on their qualifications. Community organizations should take special care to be sure their governing or advisory bodies are representative of the community they serve.
(1) We will leave open the option to discuss revenue enhancements for vital services like police and fire protection, emergency medical services, public health, senior services, public transportation, and parks and libraries.