December 19, 2013

December 18, 2013

Announcement: Governor Branstad to Speak at ABI Legislative Event

We are pleased to announce that Governor Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Reynolds will be speaking before the ABI Legislative Briefing and Reception on Wednesday, January 15, 2014. As many of you may recall, the Governor and Lt. Governor attended the ABI event last year and had the opportunity to speak with many members. The Branstad Administration has rearranged their schedule to be with ABI and we hope you will join us as well. Over 200 people have already registered for the event. If you have not yet registered you can do so today by going to Legislative Reception image on the ABI website.

After remarks by Governor Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Reynolds, you will get a brief update from ABI’s public policy team on key issues facing the legislature in 2014. Don’t worry, ABI staff willnot get in your way of meeting with legislators and connecting with other business leaders! For those individuals who love our Legislative Briefing (and we know we have lots of secret fans!), we will be offering a conference call for an in-depth preview of the session after the legislative briefing. More details to follow!

If we haven’t convinced you that signing up for the Legislative Briefing and Reception is an EXCELLENT idea, take a look for yourself and register for the Wednesday, January 15, 2014 event online!

Branstad Administration Holds Public Hearing on 2015 Budget

Earlier this week, Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds held a public hearing in order to receive ideas from advocates on how the administration should utilize the state’s revenues for Fiscal Year 2015 which will begin July 1, 2014. In the weeks leading up to the hearing, the Governor and Lt. Governor as well as the Governor’s Budget Director Dave Roederer, heard budget proposals from state agencies. Just as those proposals covered a wide range of topics, so too did the feedback the Governor received on Monday evening. Issues addressed ranged from the recent announcement to close the Iowa Juvenile Home to gas tax to funding for parks. ABI President Mike Ralston spoke on behalf of the association in favor of the Governor helping put an end to a decade and half issue surrounding the machinery and equipment exemption from the sales and use tax. A clarification of the law called for by ABI and others will improve the tax climate in the state for manufacturers and is long overdue.

Legislative Interim Committees Come to an End

The final meetings of the legislature’s interim committees meeting schedule were held this week. The meetings included Waterways Committee, Legislative Fiscal Committee and the Mental Health and Disability Redesign Committee. Many different committees met over this past Fall and reports of the business conducted during the gatherings were released as the meetings occurred. The most recent update can be viewed by clicking here which has information relevant to the committee that studied the creation of the Iowa Skilled Worker and Job Creation Fund. 

This Week in Politics: Significant Announcements

As the budget agreement was reached in Washington and lawmakers prepare to recess for the Holidays, Iowa’s 3rd District Congressman Tom Latham announced on Tuesday his current term which is his 10th, will be his last. ABI joins all Iowans in sincerely thanking Congressman Latham for his service to the state and to our country and for always understanding the issues that face Iowa businesses. Rep. Latham was a champion for rural Iowans while maintaining key investments in urban areas and his leadership will be missed by Iowa’s business community.

Additionally, earlier in the day on Tuesday, Democrat State Representative Tyler Olson from Cedar Rapids announced that he would be ending his current run for Governor of Iowa and will also not seek another term to his seat. ABI would also like to thank Representative Olson for his years of service to the state and wish him the best. Olson’s departure from the Democratic primary leaves Des Moines State Senator Jack Hatch and former State Senator Bob Krause as the two active candidates. While not yet official, Governor Branstad is expected to announce his intention to run for a historic 6th term next year. The primary election is set for June 3rd, 2014 and the general election is set for November 4th, 2014.

Home Base Iowa Initiative Now Online

Governor Branstad’s office recently announced the creation of, a new website for Home Base Iowa. The initiative is a new non-profit, private-public partnership that will recruit veterans and active duty service members for private-sector job opportunities in Iowa. ABI is supportive of this effort and will continue to encourage the Governor and Legislature to provide incentives for military veterans as part of the 2014 legislative session priorities put forth by ABI members and the Board of Directors. The website will serve as a comprehensive source for job services available to veterans in Iowa. The site features job postings, links to job fairs, and up-to-date information about educational opportunities, National Guard recruiting, job training, and much more. Home Base Iowa is raising private funds to support outreach efforts to veterans, including national advertising, in-person outreach, a social media campaign, and outreach through military publications. ABI is proud to support this initiative and will continue to be actively engaged in the development and marketing of the effort as well as providing valuable content to be posted on the website. 

One Special Election Remains before Legislature’s Roster is Complete

As reported previously, a special election will be held on Jan. 7, 2014, for Iowa House District 25 being vacated by Rep. Julian Garrett following his special election to the Iowa Senate in November. While it is not uncommon to see a few special elections in a given year, the timing of those this year will run right up to the week before session start on January 13th. Unlike last year, the 2014 Iowa Legislature will have a full 150 person roster when session begins. Last year, one House seat remained vacant until a few weeks into the session following a retirement announced after the 2012 elections. House District 25 is largely rural but includes the towns of Bevington, Cumming, Norwalk and Milo in Madison and Warren counties. The Republicans have nominated Stan Gustafson, a retired attorney from Cumming, as their candidate. Democrats in the district have nominated as their candidate Pam Deichmann who is the current President of the Iowa Public Health Association. Deichmann resides in Winterset. Please check for updates on the race.

Federal Spotlight: Budget Deal Clears Largest of the Remaining Hurdles

On Tuesday, the US Senate voted 67-33 to end debate on the budget deal reached by House Budget Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan and Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray last week. The bill cleared the House last week by a overwhelming vote of 332-94 as it made its way to the Senate where a filibuster had been threatened by those in opposition to the $85 billion dollar compromise. While there is relief being expressed by some there are still obstacles that opponents of the deal can utilize before the Federal government runs out of funding on January 15th. Congress will have to pass an appropriations or funding measure that will fund the government at the levels agreed to in the compromise which will likely yield some more fireworks on the matter before it is finally resolved.