Governor Mike Pence says excitement is palpable as he talks to local communities about the Regional Cities Initiative. Pence signed a bill creating the program into law Wednesday.
Pence says the Indiana Economic Development Corporation has spent months traveling around the country, talking to leaders in areas that adopted a regional economic development approach. And he says the IEDC will be spreading the lessons learned from those talks across Indiana as the Regional Cities Initiative is rolled out.
While the program will force regions to compete for relatively limited dollars, Pence says his hope is that it also helps end some competition.
“It’s about ending something of the cross-county competition that has been with us for generations in Indiana and creating a new resource mechanism for encouraging around the greater South Bend area, around the greater Fort Wayne area, around the greater Evansville area to come together and do planning,” Pence said.
The funding will come from a new tax amnesty program, meaning no one knows exactly how much money will be available and those dollars won’t be available for months. But Pence says the first step is to set up the guidelines for grant proposals each region will submit and then create a board at IEDC to review those proposals.