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 of business attraction and growth that has been impacted dramatically are the extremely positive changes to Iowa’s business tax climate. Iowa’s overall business tax climate was ranked 46th in 2017 but following reforms over the last 5 years Iowa is scheduled to move 31 spots to 15th overall when fully implemented. 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 is the slowest growth state in the country and has grown less than 1% annually since 1900. This 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 attracting new Iowans and developing the next generation.

ICA moved talent to the top of our priority list in 2019 with a focus on population growth not knowing that the pandemic would only exacerbate a need for talent across the state. 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 three other areas:

  • Talent
  • Economic Development
  • Business Climate
  • Infrastructure

The Alliance respectfully presents this agenda to the Governor, Legislature and to all Iowans for consideration in the 2023 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:
  • ensure Iowa is a welcoming environment,
  • 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,
  • reintegrate Iowans who deserve a second chance and
  • attract new Americans through advocacy of an improved immigration system;
  • Funding for existing programs and consideration of new resources that promote “placemaking” including quality of life and the arts;
  • Fully funding the Future Ready Iowa Initiative;
  • Developing and supporting incentives with proven return in targeted industries; and
  • Considering deployment innovation for costly infrastructure investments.