Rural Iowa Initiative, Legislative Proposals Support ABI Priorities

April 12, 2019 | Empowering rural Iowa Nicole Crain, Senior Vice President, Public Policy, ABI,

The topic of this month’s Business Record Iowa is especially timely, as legislation is being considered at the Statehouse that is targeted to economic growth opportunities in rural Iowa. Whether it’s Blockton, Atlantic, Grundy Center or Manning, we are all from a small town in Iowa or know someone who grew up or still lives in a rural community.

Many ABI members have substantial operations in small communities in all corners of the state. Gov. Reynolds realizes that the rural economy is key to the future of Iowa. Last fall, Gov. Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Gregg launched the Empower Rural Iowa initiative. Several ABI members participated on initiative task forces to ensure Iowa’s rural communities will have the opportunity to thrive and be sustainable for the future. As a result of the initiative, a few big themes emerged: Invest, Grow, Connect.

The governor brought forward legislative proposals as a result of the task forces, and those items are now under consideration at the Statehouse. The House and Senate Ways and Means Committees are considering legislation that will provide tax credits for individuals and businesses that invest in workforce housing. The legislation also makes changes to encourage broadband investment in rural Iowa. The Legislature is also considering appropriations to support funding the broadband grant program.

The governor’s bill and Legislature’s efforts align well with ABI’s 2019 legislative priorities of workforce and competitive business climate. In ABI’s workforce priority, the association specifically included language to support an increase in workforce housing tax credits. The competitive business climate for the association included support for increased broadband connectivity.

ABI members are grateful for the leadership of the Legislature and Gov. Reynolds for their support of rural Iowa. If you want to register your support of the rural Iowa initiatives, go to to find your legislator, and email them and ask for their support.

After the Legislature has adjourned sine die, make sure to take advantage of an ABI member regional policy meeting in one of several communities—both large and small—throughout the state. For more information about upcoming regional meetings and other ABI policy events, go to the ABI website at