Fleming: Bipartisan efforts lead to changes in Jeffersonville Promise Program

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INDIANAPOLIS – A bipartisan group of state lawmakers has worked together to improve legislation designed to make changes to the Jeffersonville Promise program.

Those changes were implemented through an amendment offered by State Rep. Rita Fleming (D-Jeffersonville) to House Bill 1596. The legislation is authored by State Rep. Ed Clere (R-New Albany)  and co-authored by State Reps. Karen Engleman (R-Georgetown), Jeff Thompson (R-Lizton) and Ed DeLaney (D-Indianapolis).

“I know that there have been enormous concerns in our area about the implications of this bill,” Fleming said. “My concerns were strong enough that I eventually chose to take my name off House Bill 1596, but I also understood that this bill can have a long-term impact on the future growth of our community. What has been a blessing is that legislators on both sides of the aisle always were willing to work together to make changes that benefited the bill, and I think that bipartisan work resulted in today’s amendment.

Fleming’s amendment tightens a provision requiring a redevelopment commission to make certain findings before using tax increment financing (TIF) revenue outside the TIF district where it is generated, while also providing flexibility that was requested by economic development representatives.

In addition, the amendment ensures that if TIF funds are used for training or education, then provisions in the bill requiring workforce alignment and accountability will apply, regardless of the provider or design of the training or education program.

The amendment also improves language in the bill requiring that an education or training program be open to all students who live in a city, town or county that offers a program. The new language requires that a program be available to any person who lives in or attends school in the community that offers the program.

“Jeffersonville was a bold initiative, well-received by many. Now these changes help solve many of my concerns,” Fleming said. “Above all, I wanted to make sure that programs are open to all qualified people in a community. That ensures that both employers and students are fully involved.”

Clere said Fleming has been involved in discussion about the bill at every step.

“I appreciate Rep. Fleming’s thoughtful approach to this legislation,” Clere said. “After hearing from constituents, she needed to take a step back, and I respected that. She has been an active participant in the ongoing work on this bill, and her amendment makes the bill better.”

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