Chamber Mobilizes Task Forces to Study and Discuss Industrial/Economic Development and Affordable Care Act
As a suburban chamber with a regional vision, the Amherst Chamber of Commerce is actively involved in the public policy decisions that can impact our members - at all levels of government. Two issues that were included in the Chamber's 2013 Legislative Agenda, industrial/economic development agencies and the Affordable Care Act, have been gaining a lot of traction and discussion in the community throughout the past few months and the Chamber's Public Affairs Council believes they deserve further attention from our organization.
These two issues will remain a primary focus of the Amherst Chamber and its Public Affairs Council throughout the coming months. To this end, the Council is launching two new task force's to further study and discuss both issues from the viewpoint of the business community.
Chamber President Colleen DiPirro spends more and more time attending meetings regarding the roll out of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) than ever before. While there are still a lot of unknowns, it is taking shape and there is now some idea of how it will impact the business community in general.
Open enrollment for the plans begins October 1, 2013 for coverage beginning January 1, 2014. We will have limited opportunity to make systemic changes prior to that but we assume that the entire process will be subject to adjustments moving forward. For that reason, the Amherst Chamber of Commerce is mobilizing a Health Care Consortium that will be charged with assessing the cause and effect of all aspects of the ACA on the consumer, understanding the process and communicating with our state and federal agencies about the outcomes and improvements we recommend.
The Amherst Chamber's Health Care Consortium will proactively review the impact of the ACA not only on consumers, hospitals, health insurance carriers and health care providers. This consortium will work with hospitals and carriers to identify potential issues and work towards solutions. And, in addition to including professionals with "feet on the ground" in the health care industry, the Chamber wants to hear from our members to ensure the consumer perspective is included in its conversations.
IDA reform also continues to be a major issue in a number of different circles both locally and at the State level. The recently passed 2013-2014 New York State budget precludes tax abatement for retail projects unless they are in an enhancement zone and are signed off on by the local head of government, with further restrictions still being discussed. The Chamber's Public Affairs Council believes that a region wide policy on what criteria constitutes an Enhancement Zone is necessary to create and maintain consistency from one municipality to another.
The second task force created by the Amherst Chamber will focus on Industrial Development Agencies. The goal of this task force will be to create/develop language regarding a county-wide redevelopment policy. Additionally, this task force will revisit the idea of reestablishing a regional planning board in Erie County.
If you are interested in participating in either the Amherst Chamber of Commerce's Health Care Consortium or Re-Development Task Force, please reach out to Caitlin McNulty, Director of Special Projects, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.