Since 1993, policy statements addressing broad issue areas have been endorsed by the Chamber Board to direct Chamber business advocacy efforts. The policy statements have been reviewed annually and modified, when necessary. The Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors approves the following statements to guide lobbying activities in 2013:
QUALITY OF LIFE
The Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce believes individuals living in the area should be able to enjoy personal security, quality education, first-rate medical care, adequate and affordable housing, economic opportunity and diverse leisure activities. Corporate citizens in Sioux Falls should contribute to the overall quality of life by showing generosity, concern and involvement in the community.
The Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce supports a fair and reasonable tax system wherein necessary revenue is collected to support essential government services. For taxation purposes, agricultural land, non-agricultural, commercial property and housing should be valued using equitable and uniform methods in all counties. At the state level, there is no need for a corporate or personal income tax. The Chamber recognizes that a basic level of funding is required to fund the necessary services of government. The Chamber understands that inflationary pressures and cost increases may require tax and fee increases, however, the Chamber supports the concept that reorganization of priorities and cutting of spending should be carefully considered for budget shortfalls at all levels of government before tax and fee increases are considered.
The Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce believes our economy is best served by allowing free and open competition in the market place. Laws that preclude or give advantage to one business structure or arrangement over another ultimately lessen competition and reduce our area's attractiveness as a business location. Barriers to business investment and capital formation impede growth and economic diversification. Appropriate rules and regulations, may be required for a viable, free market and should be enacted but government intrusion should not inhibit or restrict business unnecessarily.
The Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce advocates well-rounded, quality education that provides individuals the chance to reach their own life goals. We support efforts to adequately fund an effective, efficient system of pre-kindergarten, K-12, technical and post-secondary schools, both locally and statewide. The distribution of state aid dollars to local school districts should be equitably based, at least in part, on the number of children served. The Chamber urges continued dialogue regarding population growth in the Sioux Falls area and the effect on regional school districts. It is important to maintain an employment environment for schools that retains quality employees in education. Individual businesses should engage in cooperative partnerships with schools in order to expand learning opportunities.
Federal, state and local government should maintain a high quality infrastructure network, which provides for development. Emphasis must be placed on adequately designing, constructing and maintaining a growth-managed infrastructure network (roads, air, rail, water, sewer, public transit and public facilities) which is cost-effective yet provides the highest possible level of service to residential and commercial sectors of the Sioux Falls metropolitan area. New systems for the "information highway" and the ongoing revolution in data transfer must be aggressively pursued. The effort to maintain adequate infrastructure is necessary to sustain current growth trends while retaining a high quality, urban environment.
The Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce opposes unnecessary intrusions into employer/employee relationships. We support voluntary agreements between management and the work force establishing benefits, hours and working conditions.
The Sioux Falls Area 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 and land. Landowners and sportsmen should work together to ease conflicts in land access and game management issues, in order to preserve the economic and quality of life benefits from outdoor recreation.
The Sioux Falls area should be open to cooperative efforts between local units of government as well as consolidation efforts among local units of government. Growth in the area provides an opportunity to explore new forms and methods of government, such as home rule, to ensure taxpayers receive cost-effective government and quality service delivery.
The state government in South Dakota should operate in a way that allows for continued balanced budgets without imposing undo tax burdens on state residents and commerce. Every effort should be made to distribute limited state resources in a fair and equitable manner. State directives to local governments should not rely on unfunded mandates.
The federal government should strive for a balanced budget. Legislative mandates imposed on state and local governments should be accompanied by the necessary funds to carry out the mandates.
The Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, through the Convention and Visitors Bureau, supports private and governmental efforts to enhance and market the area's unrealized tourism potential. The cultural history of our area provides destinations of worldwide interest, and the Sioux Falls metropolitan area is a key starting point or destination.
The Sioux Falls Chamber working with the Sioux Empire Housing initiative partnership supports public and private efforts to provide affordable housing in the Sioux Falls area. The Chamber supports public and private efforts to redevelop blighted areas in the city to ensure a vital and progressive downtown.
The Sioux Falls Area Chamber working with the workforce development council of the Sioux Falls Development Foundation supports efforts to define strategies for workforce enhancement to provide continued economic growth and individual opportunity in the Sioux Falls area.
The Sioux Falls Area Chamber working in partnership with the Sioux Falls Development Foundation believes in proactive approach to business development through business parks, the South Dakota Technology Business Center and the Forward Sioux Falls initiative. The Chamber supports these activities to further a progressive and growing economy ever moving forward to support the goals of its constituency.