WFYI: Gubernatorial candidate Brad Chambers unveils 10-point plan to grow Indiana’s economy

By Brandon Smith

Former state commerce secretary Brad Chambers said the number one job of a governor is to grow the economy and increase wages. And the Republican gubernatorial candidate unveiled his 10-point economic plan Monday.

The plan includes tax reform, entrepreneurship support, child care access and housing availability.

Chambers said boosting economic growth unlocks so many other possibilities.

“A growing economy allows us to fix education, make sure we have police and fire, make sure that mental health and health care is being addressed,” Chambers said.

Part of Chambers’ plan includes continuing with the strategies he led during his tenure at the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. Some of those — most notably the development of the LEAP district in central Indiana — have been sharply criticized by other candidates, some legislators and local leaders.

But while Chambers said he’s learned lessons from that experience, he said the state can’t stop its work to develop sites in a bid to lure big investment.

“I put us in a position to be ready, with the LEAP Innovation District,” Chambers said. “We’re either going to focus on high-wage careers, growing our economy, keeping our kids and our grandkids in Indiana, or we’re not.”

The one issue Chambers said more people have approached him about than any other during the campaign is property taxes.

“Let’s create a simpler formula so everybody can understand it,” Chambers said. “I’m a real estate guy and sometimes I don’t understand how an assessment came to be.”

Chambers also wants to explore ways to reduce spikes in property taxes, particularly for older Hoosiers and veterans.

His economic plan would create two new cabinet positions in state government, including one for entrepreneurship and innovation. Indiana ranks, by some measures, among the worst states for the rate of new entrepreneurs and venture capital given to companies based here.

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