Preparing for the Upcoming Legislative Session: What We Know, What We’re Hearing and What We’re Anticipating

Sep 25, 2019

As we prepare for the 2020 legislative session, we continue to seek input from members and stakeholders and strategically plan with our statewide partners. Each session is unique and 2020 will be no different.

Heading into another election year always makes for an interesting and challenging session. For the first time in several sessions, reports show the State in good fiscal order. General fund receipts have been up, in part due to the State’s new enforcement of online sales tax. During the fiscal year that ended this past June, $79.5 million was collected from online sales tax. As rosy as that sounds, many are worried about the farm economy as we move into fall. There’s good reason to worry, given the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal is still in limbo, various tariffs continue to have negative effects and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recent decision to exempt the oil industry from the obligation to use more ethanol in their products.

Given the current climate and with one party in control of the Iowa House, Senate and governor’s office, the “Republican trifecta” in 2020 is expected to bring new opportunities and challenges in the areas of taxes, infrastructure, natural resources, and workforce solutions. Additionally, as required by the 2018 tax reform bill, legislators will review and recommend changes to Iowa’s tax credit programs. Legislative leaders tell us that all credits are “on the table” for consideration and that there is interest in additional tax code reform. As this develops, the Economic Alliance will continue to diligently advocate to protect incentives businesses in our community have used and that have shown proven results. We’ll also continue to push for a simpler tax code.

There’s been growing talk among leaders to finally make decisions on funding sources for the Natural Resources & Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund. As part of our strategy on workforce shortage solutions, we know how important placemaking projects are to communities in their ability to attract and retain a workforce. Whether it’s through the Trust Fund and/or another funding stream, we’ll continue to push for community enhancement funding, as well as flood protection and prevention.

Finally, we’re hearing more chatter from influencers, legislators and the governor’s office on solutions for Iowa’s child care crisis. Several ideas are afloat to address costs, availability and the child care cliff effect that leaves many parents unable to enter or advance in the workforce because it will cut off their child care assistance. Eliminating the child care cliff effect will allow for more eligible workers to enter or advance in the workforce.

As we continue to develop our 2020 priorities, we need to hear your thoughts and ideas. With your help, we’ll keep advocating for aggressive, forward-thinking statewide policies. And once the session begins in January, we will count on your voices to help us deliver our message and get results.

Contact Barbra Solberg, Public Policy Strategist, at bsolberg@cedarrapids.org to share your story, ideas or thoughts on future public policy agenda opportunities.



Category: Public Policy

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