Legislators plan busy 2019

By Scott Taylor

WESTMINSTER WINDOW

Transportation, taxes and family leave will all be hot issues next year when state legislators go back to work.

“When it comes to paid family leave, we are the only industrialized nation that does not have it,” State Representative Matt Gray told the crowd at a Metro North Chamber of Commerce breakfast Dec. 11 at the Westminster Recreation Center. “We have reached consensus on folks across the political spectrum that workers should have it. At the State of the Union last year, even President Trump said all workers should have family leave.”

The question is how to do it and when.

“The devil is in the details,” he said. “How can we create up with a policy that works for workers, but also works businesses?”

That was one of the questions organizers of the breakfast wanted to hear. Worries about employer mandates, like family leave, are one of the chamber’s main concerns.

“We have a lot of things to talk about,” said Peter Benkowki, vice president of strategy and business development for Lafayette’s Good Samaritan Hospital, one of the breakfast’s sponsors. “Obviously, health care is important to us. But also transportation infrastructure and education are all items we’ll talk about.”

The breakfast is an annual event sponsored by the Metro North Chamber of Commerce’s Business and Government Affairs committee. That committee develops a list of priorities they hope local legislators will address in the coming year that would improve the state’s business environment.

This year, the committee settled on six priorities: Economic growth and employer mandates; energy; transportation; health care; workforce development, education and affordable housing; and public infrastructure.

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