The Iowa Chamber Alliance (ICA or “The Alliance”) is a non-partisan coalition that advocates for economic growth policies and initiatives by representing leading Chambers of Commerce and economic development organizations across Iowa. The mission of the ICA is to drive a policy agenda that grows the state on behalf of our more than 17,000 members that range from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies. This effort includes developing a policy structure that encourages communities to build attractive places in which employers invest and employees thrive, showcasing local strengths that drive the state’s collective growth.

One area dramatically impacting business attraction and growth are the extremely positive changes to Iowa’s business tax climate. As recent as 2017, Iowa’s overall business tax climate was ranked 46th by the Tax Foundation. Following reforms over the last several years Iowa is now scheduled to move 31 spots to 15th overall when fully implemented. In addition, other reforms will drop the state’s property tax ranking 5 spots, which includes retirement income that will be fully phased out in 2024. The state is moving from a high rate and complex system to a low rate and simplified system. It is imperative that the state continue its trend of sound budgeting to ensure these positive changes are realized.

The largest priority for Iowa’s business growth is continued emphasis on talent attraction. Iowa’s population growth trend puts extreme pressure on our businesses. Iowa’s workforce issue is inextricably tied to this slow growth and continues to be the overwhelmingly number one issue facing business and economic development. Iowa businesses struggle to find qualified candidates, with the appropriate skills, who are ready to work. Workforce training programs are extremely important, but this should be coupled with a focus on retaining talent, attracting new Iowans and developing the next generation.

The Alliance encourages the Legislature to focus on attracting talent to ensure future economic growth and take advantage of existing value available statewide through work in four main areas areas:

  • Talent

  • Economic Development

  • Business Climate

  • Infrastructure

In addition to Talent, we encourage the Governor and Legislature to consider updates to our economic development incentives and policies to meet the current demands. Competition for large scale investments has become increasingly intense and the tools necessary for the state need to be sized appropriately with the necessary flexibility. Local policies also need to be modernized to reflect the increasing cost of housing and infrastructure.

The Alliance respectfully presents this agenda to the Governor, Legislature and to all Iowans for consideration in the 2024 legislative session. As various policy proposals are developed and debated, the shared goal ought to involve growing Iowa’s economy in an inclusive and beneficial way with specific support for:

  • Developing policy strategies to grow Iowa’s workforce that:
  • address pressing employee needs like child-care and housing;
  • find ways to incentivize former Iowans to return;
  • retain more Iowans from our secondary institutions who become lifelong Iowans;
  • address “cliff effects” within benefit systems;
  • ensure Iowa is a welcoming environment;
  • reintegrate Iowans who deserve a second chance; and
  • attract new Americans through advocacy of an improved immigration system.
  • Consider updates to state and local economic development incentives to address increased competition and cost;
  • Funding for existing programs and consideration of new resources that promote “placemaking” including quality of life and the arts; and
  • Considering deployment innovation for costly infrastructure investments.