2023 Public Policy Agenda

Each year, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce conducts a public opinion survey asking for your thoughts on policy issues impacting your business. This is a critical step in creating our Chamber’s public policy agenda. Based on the results of last year’s survey, here are the top legislative priorities for 2023.

To advance the business case for diversity and inclusive growth, it’s essential to promote economic inclusion to increase prosperity and mobility in Chattanooga and Hamilton County. This is achieved through innovative collaborations, intentional partnership development, and inclusive leadership in the region. The intent is to expand economic participation of historically marginalized entities to advance talent, grow markets, and increase revenue sources.Due to demographic shifts and well documented talent drain, diversity and inclusion provides an essential strategy to expand talent pipelines, build the workforce, and drive market development in the region. Promoting the business case for diversity and economic inclusion is a key priority to achieving that objective.

  • Support programs and initiatives that strategically serve to increase diversity and inclusion market participation in the region
  • Advance a procurement pilot program, pairing non-profits, for profits, and government agencies, to expand the economic footprint of historically marginalized businesses in Chattanooga and Hamilton County
  • Support training and development to expand procurement and suppliers’ diversity business opportunities to growth markets and increase economic participation
  • Address legislation that impacts diversity and economic inclusion, to attract talent, support supplier diversity, and advance business development

Through collaboration with our partners, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce leads our region’s economic development and implements our community’s comprehensive job creation strategy. Through public policy and advocacy, we will support the policies and projects that yields investment in Chattanooga/Hamilton County, as well as our region.
Growing our region’s economy and advancing sustainable community development are at the core of our mission. To ensure our region continues to thrive, we support projects and concepts that enhance quality of place, making Chattanooga and Hamilton County more attractive for living, working, and growing business.


  • Support the use of Payment in Lieu of Tax (PILOT) projects as an economic development tool to advance job creation and maintain Chattanooga’s competitiveness in recruiting new businesses to the area
  • Support Tax Increment Financing (TIF) as an economic development incentive and financing tool for redevelopment
  • Commitment to working with state, city, and county to develop additional innovation solutions that will incent economic growth and ensure competitiveness
  • Continue to partner with Hamilton County government to maintain the impact of the INCubator while supporting policies that keep barriers to entrepreneurship minimal
  • Support local government participation in industrial site and business park development, to further support new business recruitment and retention and expansion of existing businesses
  • Support efforts to rezone, plan and development infrastructure for the development of McDonald Farm as a new industrial park
  • Support for the creation of a state historic preservation tax credit.
  • As state and local governments deal with potential funding issues, ensuring economic development tools remain fully funded and available for use
  • Advocate for efforts to incentivize and implement a remote worker economic development strategy to help recruit talent to our region


  • Support enhanced community amenities and assets which foster talent attraction and retention
  • Support blight removal and adaptive reuse strategies, including looking into local government’s building inventory to grow our city’s tax base and improve economic development opportunities
  • Support River City Company’s “One Riverfront Strategy” to continue the economic vitality of downtown and the riverfront for both citizens and tourists to our region
  • Support for the rehabilitation and maintenance of the Walnut Street walking bridge
  • Support community efforts to provide art and the promotion of our creative economy in Hamilton County
  • Supporting the city and county efforts to maintain and grow our parks system and other natural resources
  • Support for efforts at the federal level to use tax credits to incentivize the reuse and repurpose of single-use office spaces
  • Support efforts to ensure the state keeps local oversight of “transpotainment vehicles”


  • Support efforts by elected officials and the community to increase the supply of attainable housing options in Chattanooga and Hamilton County
  • Work with partner organizations and local government to address the increasing problem of homelessness in our community


  • Work within the framework of the Greater Chattanooga Economic Partnership and THRIVE Regional Partnership to support improved regional collaboration on issues affecting the greater Chattanooga region


  • Support increased statewide investment in broadband telecommunications infrastructure, specifically in rural areas, which we’ve seen as critical to education, healthcare, and business retainment and recruitment efforts in our state and region


  • Ensuring state and local municipal governments have the flexibility to spend federal disaster funds to address specific needs without additional bureaucratic deadlines on when to spend funds
  • Support efforts to provide targeted, temporary, and timely federal liability protections for businesses utilizing government issued COVID-19 response guidance

As we work to address our workforce and economic development opportunities, a solid education system, from birth to career, is the key to our efforts. From improving childcare- both access and quality- and early childhood educational opportunities for our youngest citizens, to making sure all of our students read on grade level, to ensuring options that best fit our students and business community, to improving school facilities, to robust and thriving wage career pathways that begin in K-12, we remain focused on making sure all of Hamilton County’s students are given the tools to be successful.
One of the most effective ways to support our region’s workforce is through responsible education policy. From early childhood education to tailored workforce development initiatives, the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce supports legislation that provides our robust education system with the ability to be flexible in order to meet the present and future needs of our workforce.


  • Support funding for high-quality Pre-Kindergarten programming statewide
  • Work with and support efforts by Chattanooga 2.0 on their long-range strategic plan on early education and childcare


  • Support efforts to address Hamilton County Schools and their capital needs that will appropriately advance talent and workforce development needs
  • Support existing and future legislation and initiatives that will improve literacy outcomes for our students, specifically by fifth grade
  • Support policies and initiatives that provide more freedom to structure education to better fit the needs of students and employers
  • Support legislation that limits the liability of companies that partner with the school system for work-based and youth apprenticeship learning programs
  • Support efforts to increase the annual funding for K-12 education in Chattanooga and Hamilton County


  • Support efforts to make higher education in Tennessee more affordable and flexible for students
  • Support efforts to provide more flexibility for institutions to be more attuned to the needs of their student and workforce needs in their respective regions
  • Support expanded availability of regional manufacturing training
  • Support efforts to elmininate out of state tuition at community colleges for DREAMers
  • Support the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga’s efforts to expand the Gary W. Rollins Business School


  • Support expanded vocational training programs
  • Continue to advocate for innovative public-private partnerships like the Construction Career Center to enhance the opportunities for students to address real needs for employers in our region
  • Support the expansion of computer sciences programming and other technical programs at UTC and Chattanooga State
  • Support Chattanooga State’s Logistics & Transportation Hub project
  • Support applied career learning experiences for K-12 students including expansion of youth apprenticeship, work-based learning and internship opportunities for high school students, as well as career exploration opportunities for students K-8 connected to current and future thriving wage career pathways

Chattanooga prides itself on its wealth of outdoor activities and natural resources. We support efforts that make aim to make Chattanooga a clean and attractive environment for its residents and visitors. We work to ensure a healthy community and promote public safety policies that result in a better environment for business.


  • Support energy efficiency and conservation initiatives that preserve our natural beauty while simultaneously avoiding a negative economic impact to the business community
  • Support the National Climate Adaption and Resilience Strategy Act at the federal level that will improve interagency coordination and engagement with the broad stakeholder community to reduce the risks from climate change for companies and communities across the country, prepare ahead of environmentally driven crises, and strengthen our national security


  • Support efforts with community partners to improve community health outcomes for our residents
  • Support legislative and policy changes that reduce the cost of healthcare and provide additional access to affordable quality health care
  • Support efforts to curb opioid and drug use in the state of Tennessee
  • Work with our education and community partners to plan and support a health and wellness district in the city of Chattanooga
  • Support the expansion of projects within the Hamilton County jail to provide appropriate care and treatment for individuals suffering from mental health complications


  • Support legislation and policies to enhance public safety and fosters an environment where business and our local economy can thrive without undue threat
  • Support business through collaboration with national partners on the issue of illicit trade of goods

A robust, well-funded, and long-term infrastructure network is vital for economic growth. Through public policy and advocacy, we support local infrastructure projects that maintain and improve our ability to meet logistics needs of business in Chattanooga/Hamilton County both today and in the future.
Its no secret that Chattanooga’s geographic location makes it a gateway to the rest of the United States. It is critical that Tennessee, and Chattanooga specifically, invest in infrastructure that encourages businesses and our economy to flourish.


  • Support polices that will enhance future development in and around the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport
  • Work with the Airport to advocate for additional state and federal funding to grow the number of flights and additional flight locations
  • Support efforts by the Airport Authority to create an air service development fund to support and attract new and increased air service to our community


  • Support our state’s leading role in the growing electric vehicle market
  • Support efforts by city and county to invest in more electric vehicle charging stations
  • Support policies and initiatives that make it easier for residents to use public transportation
  • Support efforts to modernize CARTA’s routes and focus on routes and hubs that connect low-income residents with education and employment centers
  • Support the completion of the I-75/I-24 interchange
  • Support investments and innovation to ensure our local transportation network infrastructure is coordinated, safe, and moving traffic efficiently


  • Support federal funding opportunities to assist with construction costs for increased rail capacity at Enterprise South
  • Partner with local organizations to explore the feasibility of a regional rail network connecting Chattanooga with both Nashville and Atlanta
  • Support Amtrak’s long-range strategic plan, which adds Chattanooga to their regional rail network


  • Support efforts to secure a second wastewater treatment plant in Northern Hamilton County
  • Support adequate and flexible parking options within the downtown footprint
  • Support infrastructure needs for McDonald Farm
  • Work to identify specific infrastructure projects and begin to prioritize projects based on need and impact to our community
  • Support state efforts to address congestion on the state’s highway systems

A highly motivated, well-trained workforce is critical to continued economic growth, prosperity, and enhanced quality of life. We recognize both the challenges and opportunities in today’s workplace, which is why we are committed to improving workforce quality through our public policy and advocacy efforts.
The Chattanooga Chamber is committed to growing and recruiting a world-class workforce. We will advocate for policies and innovative programs that continue to give our citizens the skills and opportunities to succeed in the 21st-century economy.


  • Support additional funding for the state’s work-based learning grants
  • Support enhancement of programs and projects that strengthen the link between publicly funded workforce development initiatives and economic development
  • Support criminal justice reform programs that provide vocational, skills training, and job coaching for those re-entering the workforce after a period of incarceration
  • Continue to grow business participation with the Future Ready Institutes and Hamilton County Schools
  • Advocate for increased skills funding at the federal level, including making Pell Grants eligible for short-term education and training programs that will allow for the re-skilling of workers impacted by the evolving economy
  • Support efforts to expand legal immigration opportunities to grow the talent pool of our community
  • Expand registered apprenticeships, as well as work-based learning and youth apprenticeships


  • Support policies that remove impediments for workers to find employment by reforming and updating the unemployment system in the state
  • Address the need for affordable, quality childcare to allow workers to re-enter the workforce and in-person employment