PDI Legislative Agenda

2018 Legislative Agenda 

Downloads:

PDI Legislative Brochure
PDI Legislative Showcase Information Postcard

Priority issues that should be addressed in the upcoming session

Economic Development Environment

The Professional Developers of Iowa oppose any rollback of economic development incentives absent substantial reduction in the state’s corporate income tax rate and the elimination of federal deductibility. In particular, our members passionately support continuation of business tax credits such as the research activities credit and stand against further restrictions on Tax Increment Financing, which are among the few economic development tools available to communities competing for jobs against neighboring states.

Workforce Recruitment and Retention
While sustaining support for Home Base Iowa, ABI’s Elevate Iowa, and the Future Ready Iowa Alliance, the Governor and Legislature should explore other means of recruiting and retaining workers. These may include programs targeting specific professions, student loan forgiveness, income tax rebates, credits or deductions on student loan debt, and other incentives to keep people in Iowa and drive population growth. Recruitment efforts should be coordinated with economic development organizations throughout the state, much like business recruitment efforts have been for several decades.

Water Quality
Water quality in Iowa must be improved for both the health and enjoyment of future generations. Any water quality solution that does not enhance quality of life and thereby fails to address Iowa’s critical workforce challenge will be a huge wasted opportunity. Lawmakers are responsible for ensuring that funding for water quality and conservation enhancements benefit all Iowans. Within the vigorous discussion about water quality, the Governor and legislature should also address the critical need for funding for local infrastructure.

Further actions the Governor and Legislature should pursue in an effort to drive job creation and wealth in Iowa

Economic Development Environment
The basic building blocks of economic development consist of the business environment we have to market combined with the tools available to pursue and bring a project to fruition.  The combination makes employers first take a look at Iowa and then follow the steps toward their eventual location/expansion.  Some of these building blocks are as follows:

Corporate Income Tax ‐ Strong consideration should be given to simplification of Iowa’s corporate Income tax structure. The current structure is complex to investors from outside the state and country. The simplification and reduction of the corporate income tax will entice industrial and commercial investment, which will create new job growth.

Federal Deductibility ‐ The elimination of federal deductibility coupled with lower brackets would eliminate a competitive disadvantage for Iowa in comparison to other states. The current system often scares away prospective employers by giving the impression that Iowa’s tax burden is higher than it really is.

State Economic Development Resources ‐ Growth in jobs and wealth in Iowa is directly related to the reliability and sustainability of resources for use by the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) and Iowa Workforce Development. After many years without an upward adjustment in their budgets to support salary increases, both departments last year endured substantial funding cuts. To grow Iowa’s economy, we should devote MORE resources to these departments, not force them to lay off employees.

Programs, credits and incentives that have a proven return on investment and a record of successfully creating economic growth across diverse industry categories need to be protected. There are several such programs, but some examples include Research Activities Credits, Historic Preservation Credits, the High Quality Jobs Program, Redevelopment Credits, Workforce Housing Incentives, and Venture Capital & Innovation Credits.

Tax Increment Financing – Local governments rely on the flexibility of TIF to address community growth challenges, from workforce and housing shortages to aging infrastructure to redevelopment to partnering with the States. PDI supports TIF and opposes efforts to weaken this important and flexible local economic development tool. TIF reporting requirements adopted by the legislature in 2012 provide the public sufficient information about local use of TIF.

Workforce/Housing/Workforce Housing
The most significant impediments to economic growth in Iowa are a tight labor market and inadequate housing. Together these challenges perpetuate a cycle: Businesses choose not to locate in areas of Iowa due to insufficient numbers of workers and a shortage of housing. In turn, communities are unable to build housing or draw new residents because of a lack of jobs.  Solving the problem will require action on multiple fronts:

Workforce Housing Tax Credit – The amount of credits available annually should be raised to $40 million and the credits should no longer count against the state’s business tax credit limit. Recent legislative actions to create a component of the program specifically assisting rural communities is a great step forward, but unfortunately the funding for the new component was drawn from the existing program, thereby reducing money available to larger communities in need.  More resources for both the rural component and the overall program are critical.

Workforce Recruitment and Retention – While sustaining support for Home Base Iowa, ABI’s Elevate Iowa, and the Future Ready Iowa Alliance, the Governor and Legislature should explore other means of recruiting and retaining workers. These may include programs targeting specific professions, student loan forgiveness, income tax rebates, credits or deductions on student loan debt, and other incentives to keep people in Iowa and drive population growth. Recruitment efforts should be coordinated with economic development organizations throughout the state, much like business recruitment efforts have been for several decades.

Workforce Training – Ensuring access to innovative training programs and practices responsive to a rapidly changing workplace requires both adequate state funding and proper alignment of services. We look forward to the implementation of the Career and Technical Education bill from last session, a significant milestone for Iowa.

Brownfield & Grayfield – Given the tremendous power of the Brownfield & Grayfield program to encourage redevelopment in aged or blighted areas, the amount of credits available annually should be increased from its current level of $10 million. The program has been vastly oversubscribed in the last 5 years, which has an immediate and substantive impact on communities across Iowa.

As well, the Governor and Legislature should explore means of assisting communities in redeveloping abandoned buildings, potentially as housing. Current programs at IEDA and IDNR should be evaluated to gauge how the programs can complement one another to impact the greatest number of communities possible.

Enhance Iowa – Trails, parks and other quality‐of‐life amenities draw workers and businesses, yet last year the Legislature passed the Enhance Iowa legislation without funding. The Governor and Legislature should build on last year’s bill by establishing a funding mechanism for this program.

School Funding – PDI understands the heavy burden school funding puts on the state budget; however, annual delays in setting allowable funding increases are damaging to schools and the entire education system. Policy are urged to resolve the funding debate early in the 2018 session and to strive for a less politicized process.

Small Business & Entrepreneurship Support – Direct technical assistance to entrepreneurs and start‐up companies is a key component to growing Iowa’s economy. The Legislature should provide adequate funding for small business development and economic gardening programs to foster entrepreneurial endeavors.

For More Information Contact:
Kelly Halsted, Legislative Committee Co‐Chair – 515/955‐8909; kelly@greaterfortdodge.com
Drew Kamp, Legislative Committee Co‐Chair – 515/232‐2310; drew@ameschamber.com
Kiley Miller, Legislative Committee Co‐Chair – 712/264‐3474; kmiller@lakescorridor.com
Amy Campbell, Lobbyist – 515/554‐5838; Amy@IALobby.com
Craig Patterson, Lobbyist – 515/554‐7920; Craig@IALobby.com

ABOUT PDI
The Professional Developers of Iowa (PDI) is a statewide non‐profit organization of more than 340 practicing economic development professionals dedicated to expanding the economy of the State of Iowa. For the past 44 years, PDI has successfully represented the collective economic development interests of both the private and public sectors by providing leadership in defining and promoting statewide economic development initiatives. Iowa is competing every day against every state in the Union, and increasingly, against every country in the world. PDI believes that in order for Iowa to be successful with its economic development initiatives, we must create a business climate that builds on Iowa’s strengths, expands the state’s tax base, creates and retains high‐paying jobs, and builds the industries of the future.

Professional Developers of Iowa ‐ growing Iowa and creating economic opportunity.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPERS OF IOWA
1255 SW Prairie Trail Parkway, Ankeny, IA 50023 Tel: 515 243 4585
Fax: 515 334 1167
Email: director@pdiowa.com website: www.pdiowa.com