The Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance and Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce join forces to promote pro-growth policies for our region. We collaborate with our over 2,000 combined member businesses and other partners to develop focus items vital to our region’s success.
Each year, with the help of our members, partners and community stakeholders, the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance and Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce partner to develop comprehensive state and federal public policy agendas for the region.
We focus advocacy around three concepts – building our workforce, improving our business environment and enhancing our communities. In the world of public policy, there are many things to consider and balance when creating our strategies. Our members' priorities are always the foundation of the strategy when deciding what to focus on in any given legislative session.
No one can predict exactly what will happen each session, but we do have some insight into what's most viable in a given session. We must take into consideration what’s top of mind for policy makers who are making the decisions in the Iowa and U.S. House and Senate, the Governors' office and the Oval office.
Public policy advocacy often requires taking a long view. Certain issues will inevitably take years to cross the finish line, if ever. Maintaining consistent advocacy for topics that are vital to our region is another tactic we employ.
While all the policy positions included in our comprehensive public policy agendas are important to the growth of our region, in 2020 we will focus on the following:
2020 State Policy Focus
- Support funding requests for PK-12 public schools and Grant Wood AEA. It is imperative that this year’s Supplemental State Aid (SSA) increase should reflect our state’s economic growth and compensate for necessary past funding shortages.
- Support funding Future Ready Iowa initiatives, including the Employer Innovation Fund and Last Dollar Scholar program, without diverting funding from other local and state efforts to build our talent pipeline.
- Support policies that allow more employees to enter the workforce and remove barriers like the availability of child care and “cliff effect” for parents, and policies that help prepare offenders for successful reentry to Iowa communities and employment.
- Protect key economic development incentives that demonstrate a positive return on investment particularly those that work to further innovation, workforce and development, and support rural communities.
- Support simplification and fairness in additional tax reform, as well as innovation in the tax code to attract potential investment, such as allowing businesses to organize as Benefit Corporations or “B-Corps” to attract entrepreneurs interested in the incorporation of social responsibility into money-making practices to attract and retain younger talent to the state.
- Support pro-growth business regulations for the hemp industry, as well as clarity on state regulations on hemp-derived products, as permitted to the extent of the federal law.
- Secure sustainable and permanent funding sources to assist communities with placemaking projects that spur economic growth and workforce attraction and protect Iowa’s natural resources.
- Secure full funding of the Iowa Flood Center to predict and prevent future disasters.
2020 Federal Policy Focus
- Support immigration reform that allows employers further access to skilled workers, including reaching a permanent solution for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a reliable federal employment verification (e-verify) system feasible for employers of all sizes and industries, and updating the Visa system to allow more workers to enter and stay in the U.S.
- Support funding priorities for Kirkwood Community College, including allowing Pell Grants to be used for short-term, workforce-oriented programs.
- Support funding priorities for the University of Iowa, specifically robust funding for federal financial aid programs and research programs at the federal agencies.
- Support policies and programs that make it easier for Iowa small business owners, entrepreneurs, manufacturers and farmers to sell their products abroad by eliminating taxes, tariffs and other trade barriers on American goods.
- Support the examination of new policies that provide a sustainable, flexible and affordable health care system that will take more of the burden off small business owners.
- Support measures to address the nation’s pilot shortage, including lowering financial barriers to the profession and increasing the number of pathways to accrue the necessary experience to ensure sustainable and competitive regional air service.
- Support increasing the cap on the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) to allow the Eastern Iowa Airport the ability to improve, expand and upgrade airport facilities and remain competitive.
- Support implementing a long-term sustainable funding solution and next generation infrastructure research to meet the nation’s infrastructure needs, including high-speed broadband.
Read or print our comprehensive, 2020 Public Policy Agendas: Comprehensive Print-Friendly Agendas (PDF)