Skip to Content
background texture image

Public Policy Update: Iowa Legislative Session Nears End

April 19, 2024 | Public Policy

State Policy Update

We are nearing the end of the 2024 Iowa legislative session as lawmakers work to finalize budgets and other policy priorities. Tuesday marked the last day lawmakers were eligible for per diems and all indications are they are close to the finish line. Once adjournment occurs, we will offer a more comprehensive report on how our priorities fared for the session but for now, here is the latest update on the policy and budget bills that most closely align with our 2024 policy priorities.

Education Budget

  • SF2435 appropriates educational programs for community colleges, state universities, Area Education Agencies, Last Dollar Scholarship, Iowa Workforce Grant & Incentive Program, high-demand professional loan repayment programs, and skilled worker & job creation programs.

Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund (RIIF) Budget

  • SF2438/HF2691 appropriates gambling revenues for various infrastructure projects including water quality initiatives, renewable fuels infrastructure, state park infrastructure, recreational trails, commercial service airports, general aviation airports and placemaking programs.

Economic Development Budget

  • SF2432/HF2697 appropriates funding for economic and workforce development programs and activities including the state tourism office, regional tourism marketing, certain housing programs, registered apprenticeships, High Quality Jobs program, Empower Rural Iowa, and Regents economic development and Manufacturing 4.0.

Expanding Work-Based Learning

  • The Governor’s Work-based Learning bill (SF2411/HF2703) 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: Passed Senate 4/9. Awaits action in House.

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. Read the Fiscal Note.
  • HF2634removes the current $7 million annual cap on the amount of Real Estate Transfer Tax funds that can be transferred to the Housing Trust Fund allowing for more affordable housing development. Status: Passed House 3/26. Awaits action in Senate Ways & Means.

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 House and Senate. Awaits Governor’s action.

Promoting Predictable & Fair Taxes

  • There were several major tax-related bills considered this session. We continue to call for tax structures that are simple, predictable, and promote fairness and fiscal responsibility. The latest vehicle (SF2442) is a compromise bill that the Governor is expected to sign. The bill speeds up and lowers previous tax reductions to a 3.8% flat rate effective tax year 2025. Status: Passed a Senate Ways & Means subcommittee on 4/18.

Passenger Rail Across Iowa

  • HF591/SF2315 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: Passed House on 2/19. Placed on the Senate’s Unfinished Business Calendar.

Child Care Availability

  • We support policies that address access, affordability and quality child care. SSB3181 /HF2655 designates child care facilities as residential property to decrease property tax costs so they can use those savings toward other efforts, like workforce wages. This language is also included in the Governor’s tax proposal. Status: Passed House on 3/19. Awaits action in Senate Ways & Means subcommittees.
  • HF2568 makes changes to reimbursement rates for the child care assistance (CCA) program to allow for more parents to qualify. Also extends the pilot program that allows children of certain full-time child care providers to quality for the CCA program. Status: Passed the House 3/25. Awaits action in Senate Appropriations Committee.

Community Attraction & Livability Efforts

  • SF2419Creates 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: Passed out of a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on 2/27.

More News

Federal Advocacy: More than two months ago, the U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly (357–70) to pass H.R. 7024, the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024. The bill allows businesses of all sizes be able to immediately deduct the cost of their U.S.-based research and development (R&D) investments, instead of spreading it over five years. It also includes provisions to enhance the Child Tax Credit, providing support to millions of families. Despite receiving overwhelming, bipartisan support in the House, the bill has stalled in the Senate. If you have not already done so, now is the time to weigh in directly with Senators Grassley and Ernst. The message is simple: Please support H.R. 7024, the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024. Act quickly to restore these important business tax provisions. Click here to view the U.S. Chamber’s one-pager that focuses on the need to act urgently to retroactively restore R&D expensing.

Iowa’s Competitiveness: Iowa dropped from 79 in 2011 to 74 in 2021. An index value of 74 ranks Iowa 25th relative to 49 other states and the District of Columbia. Read the new report by Common Sense Institute Iowa.

Serve Your Community: The City of Cedar Rapids is currently seeking citizens to apply to City Boards & Commissions: Read more about how to apply. Applications are due by April 30, 2024. Contact Barbra Solberg if you have specific questions about the process.