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Public Policy Update: New Bipartisan Policy Organization Launches in Iowa

January 26, 2024 | Public Policy

State Public Policy

After the pomp and circumstance of the first weeks of the 2024 Iowa legislative session, this week was full of committee and subcommittee hearings from previously introduced bills we’re watching closely.

  • E-verification: SF108 has been seen every session in the past few years. It would prohibit the employment of unauthorized workers and mandates employees to use the federal e-verify system. The Economic Alliance, as well as most other business groups from around the state, oppose the legislation as the system is flawed yet still holds businesses responsible. The bill passed out of a Senate subcommittee this week.
  • Midwest Passenger Rail Compact: HF591 was assigned to a subcommittee this week with a meeting yet to be scheduled. 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. 

We continue to closely monitor the movements of the governor’s tax relief bill that lowers tax rates for personal income tax payers, lowers unemployment insurance payments for businesses and provides property tax relief to child care centers.

Additionally, the Governor announced Wednesday she will introduce three new bills that address foreign ownership of land, “red tape” of rules and public investment reform. Once the bills are introduced, we will closely analyze each bill for its effect on business. Lastly, we’re anticipating the release of the Governor’s promised work-based learning bill that’s said to better define and expand the definition of work-based learning, expands when and how credits are received, aligns with federal requirements and addresses scholarship programs to help more students as intended.

Common Sense Institute Launches Iowa Chapter

The Common Sense Institute Iowa (CSI) launched during the Economic Alliance’s Annual Meeting. CSI is a new, non-partisan organization for the state dedicated to the protection and promotion of Iowa’s economy. CSI will employ rigorous research techniques and dynamic modeling to evaluate the potential impact of proposed public policies on jobs and the economy in the state of Iowa.

Joining its successful counterparts in Colorado and Arizona, as well as a newly launched chapter in Oregon, CSI Iowa is proud to be guided by a board of local leaders, each bringing expertise from various industries. These board members share CSI’s dedication to factual and non-partisan policy analysis. Doug Neumann, the Economic Alliance’s executive director will serve on the CSI Iowa Board.

The chapter aims to examine various critical issues relevant to Iowa, such as housing, tax policy, and workforce issues, providing necessary insights for effective decision-making to promote economic growth and community welfare. Engage with CSI – sign up for the CSI Iowa Newsletter and follow them Twitter, FaceBook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. For further information or to get involved, contact Economic Alliance public policy strategist, Barbra Solberg.

Federal Policy Update

Bispartisan Tax Package Agreement – More Work Needed for Passage

The Democrat chair of the Senate Finance Committee and Republican chair of the House Ways and Means Committee agreed to a tax package that would benefit businesses and families.

Businesses: The agreement would bring back full, upfront deductions for domestic research and development costs along with bigger deductions for businesses’ interest expenses and purchases of machinery and equipment through 2025. It will also increase immediate deductions that smaller businesses can take for buying equipment and machinery and raise the threshold to $1,000 for sending tax forms for payments to certain non-employees. To help pay off-set, the employee retention tax credit would face cuts.

Families: The agreement gradually raises the maximum child tax credit to $2,000 for families who owe less than that in taxes. It would also allow low-income families with multiple children to phase in eligibility for more benefits faster, and let families use the previous year’s income to qualify for benefits in 2024 and 2025. Additionally, the child tax credit’s maximum benefit would be tied to inflation.

The path forward remains unclear, and lawmakers need to hear from you.

Contact them:

Senator Grassley
Senator Ernst
1st District Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks
2nd District Representative Ashley Hinson

Additional Useful Information

Upcoming Advocacy Efforts in 2024

Policy on the Rocks

February 9, 2024 | 4:30 – 5:30 PM
La Cantina Bar & Grill
5400 Edgewood Rd NE, Cedar Rapids
Register Now!

March 22, 2024 | 4:30 – 5:30 PM
The Edison Pub and Eatery
475 Northland Ave NE, Cedar Rapids
Register Now!

Thank you to our presenting sponsor, Profol.

ICR Legislative Night

ICR Legislative Night

March 5, 2024 | 5:00 – 7:00 PM
Big Grove Brewery & Taproom
555 17th Street, Des Moines

Register Now! Together with Greater Iowa City, Inc. and in partnership with economic development groups and Chambers throughout the ICR region, this twist on our traditional “Day at the Capitol” brings together leaders from our region to the Capitol for meetings with elected officials and an evening reception of networking with elected officials from across the state. Join us as we show policy makers what makes our region special! Thank you to our presenting sponsor, ITC Midwest.

The Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance is a non-partisan organization that works to promote pro-growth policies at all levels of government.