Regulations, taxes and the rebound of the recreational vehicle industry were the topics Lt. Gov. Susan Ellspermann heard were important in Elkhart County during a visit Tuesday afternoon.
Ellspermann has the goal of traveling to each of the 92 counties in the state to listen to what politicians, the agriculture community and business leaders have to say about the needs in their counties and their perceptions of state government. She will compile those comments into a report for Gov. Mike Pence sometime around Thanksgiving. The report will then be used to consider policy changes and legislation for the 2014 General Assembly, according to Ellspermann.
She met with government and business leaders at Das Dutchman Essenhaus in Middlebury and then ag leaders at Weeber Farms on C.R. 20. During the meetings she heard from leaders in the recreational vehicle industry and ended her day with a tour of the new Grand Design RV company in Middlebury.
“They were very appreciative last year of the passage of right to work,” Ellspermann said of what RV leaders told her. “We always knew that was an important job attractor for the state of Indiana. That came up a couple times, appreciation for all the things we have done. ... If you are a business you are trying to be successful. So, what can we do as a state to ensure, whether it is taxes, regulations or right to work, to make sure this is a good place to do business?”
Ellspermann said a common concern across the state by business owners and farmers is regulations. No specific rules or regulations were targeted for change by those attending the meetings, but overreaching regulation in general by state and federal agencies were a concern.
“It would be no surprise that overregulation is a concern whether it be state or federal and how do we help do what is required to ensure we have safety and the quality of the products without overregulation,” Ellspermann said. “It was a very helpful, high energy discussion about the things they are doing.”
Kelly Huffman of Goshen said after the luncheon at the Weeber farm that she expressed concern that her company, Nuway Construction, has to wait too long for state approval of a stormwater plan for any construction undertaken.
Dwight Moudy, a spokesman for Elkhart County Farm Bureau and Blake Doriot, county surveyor, stepped outside the Weebers’ bank barn along C.R. 20 where the luncheon was held and agreed that regulations were a major topic.
“The biggest issue was overregulation,” Doriot said. “Let the people of Elkhart County and the state of Indiana do what we do best.”
“We have some of the best and brightest people in the world here,” Moudy pitched in, “and they don’t want to hurt this community because they live here.
“Whether it is sewer or septic, construction or manure, it is just crazy how they want to regulate every phase of our live,” Moudy said.