Funding for Future Ready Iowa Tops Iowa Legislative Session Achievements
Jun 11, 2019
The Iowa Legislature hammered the gavel for the final time on April 27, bringing an end to the first session of the 88th Iowa General Assembly. The 2019 session didn’t hold a major initiative for the business community, like tax reform was last session, but nonetheless we still faced challenges and celebrated several achievements.
One significant achievement was funding for Future Ready Iowa initiatives to grow Iowa's workforce. A new appropriation for the Employer Innovation Fund will jumpstart a public-private partnership to encourage employers, educators, economic developers/chambers of commerce and other nonprofit organizations to enhance scholarship and grant programs to strengthen the regional workforce talent pipeline. The Iowa Workforce Development recently released the draft rules for the Fund, which includes grant funding for workforce training, education and assistance. The Economic Alliance will continue to monitor and provide input to these rules so this new funding can be used to further our regional workforce initiatives. On June 3, Governor Reynolds announced over $16 million in new funding for the workforce intiative.
- The Economic Development budget, which provides funding for the High Quality Jobs program used by many of our members.
- The Iowa Hemp Act passed and has the potential to open new markets for our farmers and businesses, as hemp can be used to produce a multitude of existing and potential products.
- The Secure an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE) penny extension passage leads to the continuation of the 1 cent sales tax for school infrastructure and is expected to generate over $200 million for schools across the state over a twenty-year period.
We were also successful in our efforts to defeat two bills that would have detrimental effects on Iowa businesses. One was a bill that would have required employers to use the federal employment verification (e-verify) system to check workers documentation, causing businesses to face harsh penalties and fines if they employed illegal workers. The Economic Alliance supports a federal e-verification system, but the current system has proven to be unreliable and needs to be updated. We also helped to defeat a discrimination bill that would have severely limited a community’s ability to attract a diverse workforce and compete for community events.
We are disappointed to not see the passage of legislation that would have increased funding for the Angel Investor Tax Credit. These much-needed funds encourage entrepreneurship and spur economic growth for our communities. We intend to continue our advocacy for this important fund in the 2020 session.
Click here for more information on the Economic Alliance's 2019 state public policy agenda and how we fared this session.