Iowa Chamber Alliance Statement on 2021 Legislative Session

May 20, 2021

2020 was an extremely challenging year but it showed that sound state budgeting principles and a business-friendly environment can provide a favorable launching point for economic growth even during multiple crises. The Iowa Chamber Alliance worked diligently during the legislative session to enact policy that ensures a continued economic recovery and growth.

Iowa consistently ranks highly in the area of "Opportunity" according the US News and World Report annual ranking of "Best States" and was again ranked as the top state for 2020. This metric combines affordability, economic opportunity, and equality. The Alliance encouraged the Legislature to pass effective policy to follow these metrics that promotes business and opportunity through work in five main areas including: Recovery and Resiliency, Talent, Economic Development, Business Climate, and Infrastructure. Iowa's sound budgeting provided the resources to ensure the implementation of the tax reforms from 2018 and maximize the benefit of COVID-19 relief packages for businesses.

On completion of the 2021 Legislative Session, Dustin Miller the executive director of the Iowa Chamber Alliance stated "this year's successful work on things like tax reform, childcare, broadband and housing, combined with sound budgeting, provides an incredible base for Iowa to look towards the future for ideas that encourage communities to build attractive places in which employers invest and employees thrive, showcasing local strengths that drive the state's collective growth."

The COVID -19 pandemic showed the importance on broadband connectivity in all areas of life. The Iowa Chamber Alliance advocated for a necessary investment in broadband infrastructure. In April, the House and Senate sent Governor Reynolds a bill to meet her challenge for investment that would create a broadband grant program and included an appropriation of $100 million that exceeds the investment of our neighboring states. The Legislature and Governor Reynolds were also able to be creatively responsive in nontraditional workforce areas like the new Telecommuter Forward certification to address our critical workforce needs and initiatives like Manufacturing 4.0 to help businesses adapt to new technologies.

Access to affordable childcare has not been a traditional business issue but is necessary to ensuring a strong workforce in Iowa. The Iowa Chamber Alliance worked with legislators to implement improvements to the state's childcare options and affordability. The legislature passed a number of childcare initiatives that will increase the number of childcare providers throughout the state, provide incentives for businesses that offer childcare options and address the childcare cliff effect.

Governor Reynold's push for a comprehensive housing omnibus will provide a variety of resources like addressing the backlog of the workforce housing tax credit, extension of the redevelopment tax credit and raising of the cap on the Housing Trust Fund shows the understanding of the broad needs of housing across all Iowa communities.