Economic Development - Iowa Chamber Alliance

Economic Development

To support our mission of growing the state, ICA focuses on economic growth as a key driver to grow Iowa’s population by attracting and retaining business and talent.

ICA supports the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s (IEDA) concentration on expanding markets in which the state is already a recognized leader. We seek opportunity to design responsible incentives that help attain innovative projects and develop business in advanced manufacturing, bioscience, and financial and insurance sec-tors; creating jobs, while ensuring transparency, accountability, and a return on in-vestment for Iowa taxpayers.

Given the competitive economic development environment, Iowa must continue to provide valuable economic development tax credits and programs that complement Iowa’s tax code and attracts business investment. While ICA supports tax credits and programs that have documented returns and clear objectives, we also oppose changes to or the elimination of economic development-oriented tax credits without regular and comprehensive review for usefulness, efficacy and return on investment.

Economic Development Tools

ICA views incentives as an integral part of our state’s success. Economic development tools should grow capital investment, increase wages and achieve quality job creation. ICA supports the following incentive programs:

  • Research Activities Credits (RAC): Iowa’s RAC has been utilized as a model by other states to incentivize additional investment in research and development. Companies must balance substantial financial risk with market profitability and this credit allows businesses to strategically plan for the long-term. The RAC provides an offset to Iowa’s uncompetitive tax corporate climate.  
  • Angel Investor Tax Credit: This credit encourages investment in start-up companies in Iowa, boosting new business and the general economy. Flexibility should be granted for unused funds from this tax credit and Innovation Fund credits depending upon demand.  
  • Renewable Fuel and Biochemicals: Iowa leads the nation in biofuel production and biochemical development, putting the state in a unique position to launch further innovation. 
  • High Quality Jobs Credits: This program is one of the main tools for IEDA to at-tract new business and incentivize expansion in Iowa’s leading industries. 
  • Historic Preservation Credits: The tax credit aids the revitalization of historic properties that have the potential to catalyze surrounding growth and positively impact placemaking.  

Finally, ICA is supportive of policy tools available to local governments such as Tax Increment Financing and abatement, as these are sometimes the most critical element in decisions that attract and expand business. Utilized prudently, they generate significant return on investment and have positive long-term growth benefits for communities.  

Housing and Development

Housing remains a huge area of need in every community. ICA supports expanding the Workforce Housing Tax Credit to address project backlogs by increasing the amount of money available and individualizing the thresholds for projects to reflect Iowa’s diverse communities and their specific workforce housing needs. 

Prior to COVID-19, communities across the state faced issues related to large lot vacant buildings but the pandemic added the additional worry of the future of down-town development with likely changes on how people work. The Legislature should ensure policies and programs to allow local communities to thoughtfully develop. This includes the removal of the sunset for the Brownfields/Grayfields Development Tax Credits as it promotes investment by addressing environmental issues that would otherwise be cost prohibitive to development. 

Rural Initiatives

ICA supports the goals of the Reynolds-Gregg Administration’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative, which focuses on rural and small community economic development. Although we represent the state’s largest Chambers of Commerce, the laborsheds of our members expand well beyond any immediate jurisdictional boundaries. There-fore, we understand the need to remove barriers for rural communities and spur economic growth, as we recognize that strengthening our rural partners will benefit all of Iowa. 

We also support pro-growth business strategies for value-added agriculture, which could include discussions on the industrial hemp and Cannabidiol (CBD) oil industries and developing products that capture additional value within the state. This includes clarifying state regulations on hemp-derived products, as permitted to the extent of federal law – recognizing the less than three percent and non-hallucinogenic amounts of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in such commodities. 


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