Gov. Mike Pence Thursday signed into law a bill that guarantees full funding for all three winners of the Regional Cities Initiative, a program aimed at generating economic development cooperation across county and city lines. And Pence says the legislation can benefit towns and cities beyond those regions.
The three Regional Cities winners – northeast, north central and southwest Indiana – cover 18 counties. But Pence says the program has spurred work in other parts of the state, including four regions not awarded funding.
“Because of this program, for the first time people have been talking across county lines about how they can invest together and grow together and improve the overall quality of life in their region of the state,” Pence says.
This is the first year of the program. Pence says he’d like to provide another round of funding next year as well. House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) says it’s likely prudent to see how the first round of winners goes.
“Wait and be sure that the communities are actually making some positive progress in this regard,” Bosma says.
The funding this year for Regional Cities, a total of $126 million, comes from the state’s 2015 tax amnesty program.