Skip to Content
background texture image

Public Policy Update: Economic Alliance Priorities Moving Forward

February 23, 2024 | Public Policy

State Public Policy

The first funnel deadline of the 2024 session was last Friday. Following this deadline, hundreds of bills did not survive, making them ineligible to advance, with certain exceptions such as tax and appropriation bills. Debate will continue in the weeks ahead, following the second funnel deadline on March 15 and the scheduled end of session on April 16. An update on the bills the Economic Alliance is closely monitoring this session include: 

Expanding Work-Based Learning 

  • The Governor’s Work-based Learning bill (SF2260/HF2516) expands work-based learning opportunities, creates a workforce opportunity fund, makes changes to student teaching requirements, and adds eligibility requirements for the last dollar scholarship program. We support the continuation of expanding work-based learning programs and make the existing ones more efficient, including Last Dollar Scholar, adding work-based learning to career and technical education classes that 9-12 schools are required to offer, and allowing WBL when school is not in session. Status: Senate bill passed out of Appropriations subcommittee this week. House bill is scheduled for an Appropriations subcommittee meeting next week.  

Increasing Housing Options 

  • HF2420 increases the caps for the Workforce Housing Tax Incentive program. We support increasing the cap to $50 million, and the allocation for small cities to $25 million. Status: Passed out of a House subcommittee on Economic Growth & Technology this week.  

Economic Development Competitiveness 

  • The “Major Economic Growth Attraction Program” or “MEGA Program” legislation (SF574) would create a fund for Iowa to compete for large scale economic development projects that provide high paying jobs and capital investment. We support this legislation. Click here to read what it would mean for Iowa. Status: Passed the Senate last session on a 45-2 vote. Passed out of a House Ways & Means subcommittee earlier this month.  

Promoting Predictable & Fair Taxes 

There are currently three major tax-related bills being considered this session. As they work their way through the legislative process, we will continue to call for tax structures that are simple, predictable, and promote fairness and fiscal responsibility. 

  • The Governor’s bill (SSB3038/HSB543) calls for close to $3.8 billion in tax cuts over the next five years, lowers personal income tax to a flat 3.65% to go into effect in 2024 and effective 2025, the rate drops to 3.5%. Status: The Senate bill passed out of Senate Ways & Means committee this week.  
  • The Senate has introduced two tax bills. SSB3141 is the Income Tax Elimination bill that would phase down the individual income tax to a flat 3.65% by Tax Year ‘26, lower Iowa’s corporate income tax to 4.9% using the current method adopted 2022 and transition the Tax Relief Fund to a trust fund with revenues generated used to gradually eliminate individual income taxes. Status: Assigned to Ways & Means subcommittees in both Chambers earlier this month.  
  • The second Senate bill (SSB3142) proposes a constitutional amendment to require 2/3 approval of both the Senate and House to increase tax rates. Status: Assigned to Ways & Means subcommittees in both Chambers earlier this month

Protecting Employers 

  • SF108 is the employment verification (e-verify) bill that requires employers to utilize the federal E-Verify database to confirm that new hires are authorized to work in the U.S. and provides penalties for employers. We continue to oppose the legislation. Status: Passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee at the end of January. The House version, HSB105, was tabled until a future meeting after a subcommittee heard concerns from employer groups on the efficiency of the database.  

Passenger Rail Across Iowa 

  • HF591 enacts the Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Compact to develop intercity passenger and high-speed rail traffic and allows the state to join the existing compact. We support this legislation as it is the first step in Iowa seeing passenger rail from the Quad Cities, through Iowa City and Des Moines, to Council Bluffs. Status: This week the House passed the bill 85-6, further action awaits in the Senate.  

Child Care Availability  

  • We support child care facilities paying less in property taxes so they can use those dollars toward other efforts, like workforce wages. SSB3181 designates child care facilities as residential property to decrease property tax costs. This language is also included in the Governor’s tax proposal. Status: Assigned to a House and Senate Ways & Means subcommittee this week.  

Community Attraction & Livability Efforts SF2394 Creates an Iowa Major Events Tourism program to give financial assistance to groups for major tourism events that have a measurable economic impact. Does not allow an entity receiving money from this fund to receive funds from the Sports Tourism fund. Status: Assigned to a Senate Appropriations subcommittee this week.