ABI Board Sets 2019 Legislative Priorities

November 9, 2018 | Vermeer strong Nicole Crain, Senior Vice President, Public Policy, ABI, ncrain@iowaabi.org

Since this edition is about what Iowa business leaders are thankful for, I want to thank you for the opportunity to represent your company and employees — both at the Capitol and in meetings with state agencies. The public policy team is grateful for the opportunity to help educate legislators and elected and appointed state officials — in a bipartisan manner — about why pro-jobs policies are important to you.

We are also thankful the elections are over and the focus has shifted to the 2019 legislative session. With that, we want to share with you the priorities approved by the ABI board of directors at its September meeting:

The Iowa Association of Business and Industry is proud to have served as the Voice of Iowa Business since 1903. ABI is a member-driven organization, and its legislative priorities reflect the goals of business and community leaders across Iowa.

Iowa is the No. 1 state, according to the U.S. News & World Report, and ABI members want to help Iowa stay on top. The 2019 legislative priorities are opportunities for Iowa and ABI to continue Building on the Best.

Workforce – As the organization that represents 1,500 member companies that employ more than 330,000 working Iowans, we understand the importance of a qualified workforce and a robust talent pipeline.

  • ABI supports implementation of the Future Ready Iowa legislation that was passed in 2018. ABI supports the Legislature focusing on work-based learning opportunities and expanding career and technical education offerings to students at all levels. ABI encourages the Legislature to continue support of programs that have been successful in addressing the workforce shortage, such as Home Base Iowa and Elevate Advanced Manufacturing.
  • Unemployment Insurance – Challenges with Iowa’s unemployment insurance benefit system discourage individuals from obtaining full-time employment and must be addressed.
  • Workforce Housing – As Iowa companies continue to hire individuals throughout the state, more workforce housing is needed. ABI supports expanding the workforce housing tax credit program to provide rural communities access to development/redevelopment.

Competitive Business Climate – ABI looks for ways to support a competitive business climate and ensure a rock-solid foundation for businesses to grow and expand. ABI supports:

  • Broadband internet connectivity and access. ABI supports investment in Iowa’s broadband and Internet Protocol (IP)-enabled services.
  • A business-friendly tax system that creates clarity and consistency for Iowa businesses.

Regulatory Reform – ABI members work to comply with many regulations at the local, state and federal level. Continual review of existing regulations is necessary to spur economic growth. ABI supports legislation and policies that are no more stringent than the federal government and that:

  • Streamline environmental permitting requirements, reducing cost and time for businesses and the state.
  • Reduce complexity and provide for efficient compliance with the state tax code.
  • Eliminate outdated policies that hinder small business expansion.