Business, Competitiveness, Policy, US

Roundtable Calls on Congress to Enact USMCA Trade Pact

The Tennessee Business Roundtable (“the Roundtable”; “TBR”) today voiced its support for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) by joining several Tennessee business groups in signing a letter to Congress calling for enactment of the agreement.

“Mexico and Canada are two of Tennessee’s most critical trading partners, and our Roundtable stands with Tennessee’s business community in calling upon Congress to enact the USMCA agreement,” said TBR 2019 Chairman Anthony C. Kimbrough, CEO of Columbia-based Farm Bureau Health Plans.  “Tennessee exports over $15 billion in goods and services annually to Mexico and Canada, and trade with those two countries alone supports nearly a quarter-million jobs here in Tennessee,” Kimbrough added.  “There’s no question that Tennessee’s economy and globally-competitive workforce stand to win from implementation of the USMCA, and our Roundtable therefore supports enactment of this critical international trade policy as soon as possible.”

“Promoting stable and fair trade relations between the United States, Mexico and Canada is one of the most important things our congressional delegation can do to secure the long-term success of Tennessee’s economy,” stated TBR President Pat Sheehy.  “By making key improvements to existing trade rules between the U.S., Canada and Mexico on agriculture, intellectual property, goods market access, labor, and rules of origin, we expect the USMCA agreement will enhance the competitiveness of key Tennessee industries, including agriculture, chemicals, manufacturing, medical devices, and trucking,” he continued.  “Our Roundtable is proud to join TBR members Eastman, UPS and the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, and other Tennessee business leaders, in strongly supporting enactment of the USMCA by Congress.”

Signed in November 2018 by trade negotiators from the United States, Mexico and Canada, the USMCA now awaits ratification by the signatory nations’ respective national legislatures before taking effect.  White House officials submitted a so-called Statement of Administrative Action, a step toward introducing USMCA ratification legislation, to Congress on May 30.  Federal trade officials and congressional leaders continue to hold discussions aimed at resolving concerns about provisions on enforcement, labor, environmental standards, and drug pricing.

Click these links to see more about the importance of Tennessee and U.S. trade with Canada and Mexico, courtesy of the DC-based Business Roundtable and the USMCA Coalition.

Business, Competitiveness, Education, Health, Policy, Transportation, Workforce

TBR Announces 2019 Policy Priorities

The Tennessee Business Roundtable today announced its 2019 State Policy Priorities, reflecting Roundtable members’ top concerns in the areas of Education & Workforce Development, Health, and Competitiveness & Business Climate.

“When we asked dozens of our state’s executive business leaders about their top policy concerns, they identified fourteen priorities for action by our Roundtable,” said TBR President Pat Sheehy.  “TBR is making these ‘big rocks’ our priorities in working with the incoming Lee Administration and the Tennessee General Assembly to create positive policy change supporting businesses, people and economic growth across our state’s three Grand Divisions.”

Here are the Roundtable’s top policy concerns for this year—click the links to view details about each priority:

Education and Workforce Development

  • Fix Tennessee’s K-12 academic testing—and keep it closely aligned to our state’s academic standards.
  • Keep Tennessee’s hard-won, rigorous K-12 academic standards strong—and keep improving them.
  • Expand the availability of early childhood education programs for Tennessee’s youngest future workers.
  • Accelerate alignment between the K-12 and post-secondary curricula that supply the high-skill, living-wage occupations in greatest demand in Tennessee’s economy.
  • Better-coordinate Tennessee state government’s workforce-development efforts, make them more transparent to those served, and open them up to input from and involvement by our state’s job-creators.

Health

  • Fight the chronic health conditions which prevent too many Tennesseans from participating in and contributing fully to our state’s workforce, and whose costs hurt our economy, through policies that:
    • Empower employers to promote employee health through HSA and health insurance incentives.
    • Promote government-private sector partnerships to address chronic health conditions.
    • Enhance availability of low- or no-cost generic RXs to control chronic health conditions.
    • Increase the number of primary care providers in TN via better payment & opportunities.
    • Reduce regulatory barriers to workplace-based medical facilities.
  • Further expand access to affordable health coverage for working-age Tennesseans.

Competitiveness and Business Climate

  • Make state projects to relieve commercial and commuter highway congestion a top priority for planning, ROW acquisition, engineering, and completion, second only to critical safety repairs.
  • Make Tennessee’s franchise & excise tax rates more competitive with those of other Southeast states.
  • Preserve Tennessee employers’ rights to control firearms and other risks on their property.
  • Protect and improve Tennessee’s Worker’s Compensation and Unemployment Insurance programs.
  • Keep Tennessee welcome to all persons who want to contribute to our workforce and economy.
  • Keep Tennessee’s regulatory “playing field” fair for alternative & advanced energy development.
  • Fight the opioid abuse threatening Tennessee’s workforce productivity and business reputation.
Business, Competitiveness, Education, Workforce

New Industry Certifications & WBL Grants

Last week, in response to input from the business community the Department of Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced 21 new industry certification options for Tennessee students in order to prepare them for the state’s most in-demand industry sectors.

These new additions bring the number of recognized industry certifications up to 80, with 46 of them being aligned with specific CTE programs of study. 

Read more about the new certifications here

See a list of the 2018/2019 promoted industry certifications here

 

The Department of Economic Development also made a significant workforce development announcement when they released 10 work-based learning grants totaling $250,000.  These grants were awarded to LEAs in order to “promote community-led work-based learning to improve career awareness and readiness of students and improve local/regional talent pipeline.”

Second round winners included:

  • Anderson County Schools – Anderson County
  • Oak Ridge Schools – Anderson County
  • Claiborne County School District – Claiborne County
  • Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools – Davidson County
  • DeKalb County Board of Education – DeKalb County
  • Dyer County Schools – Dyer County
  • Dyersburg City Schools – Dyer County
  • Hamblen County Schools – Hamblen County
  • Marion County Board of Education – Marion County
  • Monroe County Schools – Monroe County

In January, 29 first round recipients won grants totaling more than $710,000 top expand work-based learning efforts in their schools and communities. The Roundtable was pleased to participate in the review of applications, and congratulates all first and second round winners.

Business, Competitiveness, Policy, Taxes

Tennessee Business Roundtable Calls for Pro-Business, Pro-Worker Federal Tax Policy Reform

Executive business group names Hamilton-Ryker co-founder McCreight to chair Policy Committee

Nashville, TN, October 24, 2017:  The Tennessee Business Roundtable (TBR) today joined a growing chorus of pro-growth organizations in calling upon the 115th Congress to enact meaningful federal tax reforms that deliver real relief to Tennessee businesses and wage-earners.

The Tennessee Business Roundtable favors changes to our nation’s current tax system that promote the growth of Tennessee’s economy, and the well-being and success of Tennessee families. Continue reading