ABI Member Polling Confirms 2024 Policy Priorities Important to Move Iowa Forward

January 15, 2024 | ABI Survey: Cautious Optimism As 2024 Begins JD Davis, Vice President, Public Policy, ABI,

This month’s edition of Business Monthly focuses on ABI’s latest quarterly business survey, offering valuable insights into the direction of the Iowa economy. Encouragingly, a significant number of ABI member companies anticipate increased sales and project either maintaining or expanding their workforce.

ABI’s public policy team views at the survey as an opportunity to cross-check that the policy priorities of the Association are in alignment with the needs of Iowa employers and employees. By relying on our member company issue experts, our priorities are spot-on to deliver value to the membership.

In order for member companies to meet their sales expectations, Iowa businesses need to compete effectively in both national and global markets. ABI is committed to ensuring that taxes paid by business owners, including partnerships, corporations, and LLCs, contribute to an efficient government. We will inform policymakers that imposing costly mandates on businesses, regardless of their purpose, functions similarly to taxes and hinders a business’s competitive edge.

To support the expansion of the workforce for ABI member companies, it is essential to comprehend the current realities. Iowans are actively engaged in work, and two years post-pandemic, the state has successfully returned to robust workforce participation. Iowa consistently ranks at the forefront of national workforce participation rates overall and in terms of the percentage of women in the workforce. However, despite population growth, it is evident that this growth will not occur rapidly enough to meet the demands of the workforce.

ABI is committed to reducing barriers to entry into the workforce, as demonstrated in recent years. A concerted effort is needed to establish pathways to employment for all individuals capable and willing to work.

ABI will also collaborate with employers and policymakers to maximize the value of workers by increasing productivity through technology. As demonstrated through the successful Manufacturing 4.0 initiative, employers win through productivity gain, and employees win by bringing greater value to the workplace. A well-trained employee, running an automated process can help transform the workplace and company performance. These new workplaces can attract a new younger workforce. ABI will be building on recent policies that familiarize younger Iowans to career opportunities through school to work programs and youth apprenticeships.

When it comes to childcare, ABI continues to advocate for policies addressing the affordability and availability of childcare, as well as the support and sustainability of childcare providers. Additionally, ABI will underscore the importance of focusing on workforce housing to bring workers closer to available career opportunities.

Members can track ABI’s public policy progress through our weekly newsletters and by signing up for our biweekly Zoom updates by emailing mvollstedt@iowaabi.org. And don’t forget to mark your calendars for Business Day in Des Moines, taking place on March 6th.