Rep. Arnold: Fostering economic development in communities big and small

Posted by: Peter Hoffman and Abigail Campbell  | Monday, February 6, 2017

Indiana continues to look for ways to help local communities improve and develop with the changing times. This session, I authored a bill that would allow small cities and towns to designate a redevelopment district within their downtown’s main streets.

This piece of legislation would give cities and towns with no more than 20,0000 residents the chance to establish a mile-long district that redirects all sales taxes generated within that area to a special town fund. This fund could then be used to establish financial stability and develop the community further to fit the needs and desires of the residents, such as attracting additional businesses and visitors.

Currently, towns and cities must apply through the state and get approved before a section of their municipality can be considered a redevelopment district. The state usually only grants redevelopment status to districts that have some sort of historical significance. This bill would empower the community to develop and expand their main thoroughfares. It would not only help the small businesses that depend on local customers to grow and succeed, it would strengthen the economic environment for job creators and tourist attractions.

Additionally, one of the main goals of the Indiana General Assembly this session is attracting, retaining and improving Indiana’s workforce. Indiana is leading the nation in areas like job creation, cost of doing business and lower taxes with less regulation. In fact, the state’s unemployment rate recently dropped to 4 percent, which is at its lowest point since 2001. In order to keep our economy growing, House Republicans are committed to strengthening the state’s workforce by better aligning education and training with current and future employer needs. One bill would create the Workforce Ready Grant to cover the costs of tuition for students pursuing a high-value certificate through Ivy Tech or Vincennes University. These certificate programs would reflect workforce demand, job-placement rates and the wages of program graduates. In addition, this bill would closely link Indiana career and technical education with employer needs in high-wage, high-demand fields. Under the proposal, small businesses under 250 employees would receive a tax credit for training expenses. To be eligible for the tax credit, the training must result in a five percent wage increase and certification for current employees, or the hiring of new employees. This would incentivize Indiana employers to create innovative training programs to meet their immediate and long-term workforce needs.

As we continue our work during the legislative session, I encourage you to contact me with any questions or input at 317-232-9793 or by email at Learn more about the work being done at the Statehouse by signing up to receive my email updates at


State Rep. Lloyd Arnold (R-Leavenworth) represents House District 74, which includes portions of Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Crawford and Orange counties.

A high-resolution photo of Arnold can be downloaded by clicking here.