published Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

Business Briefcase: Chambers back job assessments

Chambers back job assessments

The Chambers of Commerce in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville announced their support last week for a measure that would require the Tennessee General Assembly to consider the financial impact of each bill on businesses and jobs within Tennessee.

Legislation introduced by state Sen. Bill Ketron, R- Murfreesboro, and Rep. Mark White, R-Memphis, (SB 116/HB 220) directs the Fiscal Review Committee to include an "impact-to-commerce statement" in its fiscal note for bills and resolutions referred to certain committees.

"Tennessee already has a mechanism in place to measure the fiscal impact of proposed legislation on government," said Ron Harr, president and CEO of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, referring to the production of fiscal notes produced by the legislature's Fiscal Review Committee. "This bill takes the Fiscal Review Committee's analysis one step further."

If approved, certain fiscal notes would include a statement about the net immediate and long-term effect each bill would have on commerce and jobs in the state. The impact to commerce statement would include, if possible, an estimate in dollars of the anticipated change in costs or savings to commerce.

The new analysis would only apply to bills that have a direct impact on commerce and would be limited to the following committees: House business and utilities committee; House finance, ways and means committee; House state government committee; House local government committee; House insurance and banking committee; House consumer and human resources committee; Senate commerce, labor and agriculture committee; Senate finance, ways and means committee; and Senate state and local government committee.

"A recent survey of our members found that 88 percent of respondents believe that new legislation should be evaluated for its financial impact on business," said Ralph Schulz, president and CEO of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. "We believe every Tennessee business will benefit from a more-informed legislative process."


Berz to serve on women's council

Chattanooga City Councilwoman Carol Berz was recently elected vice chairwoman of the Tennessee Economic Council on Women.

This year the group is conducting hearings throughout the state to produce a comprehensive statewide study on the economic impact of violence against women.

The 21-member board is made up of accomplished women and one man from across the state. The Tennessee Economic Council on Women, a state agency, was established by the Tennessee General Assembly in 1998 to conduct research on issues affecting women from an economic perspective.


Areva sales rise as nuclear improves

France's state-controlled nuclear giant Areva said last week its revenue grew 5.3 percent last year as the nuclear business picked up and moved past the Fukushima disaster that called into question the future of atomic energy.

The company said Thursday that it brought in $12.66 billion in 2012. It saw the biggest growth in its renewable energy, nuclear fuel and reactors business groups. Sales from renewable energies rose 92 percent -- but they still make up a very small proportion of the company's overall take.

Areva is mounting a budding turnaround by cutting its costs after a dismal 2011, when Japan's nuclear disaster sparked a global rethink of atomic energy, and the company lost billions, much of it on the back of a troubled mining venture.

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