2022 ABI Priorities and Policies Set

October 8, 2021 | Responding to the Storm: How Iowa Utilities Reacted to the Derecho Brad Hartkopf, Director of Public Policy, Iowa Association of Business and Industry,

The ABI Board of Directors convened last month and established the priorities and policies for the state’s largest business organization in the coming year. A months-long, member driven process led to the recent culmination of ABI’s annual policy process as hundreds of members provided feedback on what ABI should stand for in 2022. The Board approved several top line priorities for the public policy staff to accomplish in 2022. Those areas of focus are workforce, tax reform, infrastructure and regulatory reform.

Workforce is a key priority that ABI has focused on for a number of years now. One specific feature of the workforce priority highlights the need for policymakers to reform Iowa’s unemployment insurance system. The pandemic put an unprecedented strain on the state unemployment insurance trust fund as hundreds of millions of dollars were dispersed to claimants. Had Governor Kim Reynolds not taken the extraordinarily pro-growth action of infusing federal monies into the trust fund, employers of all sizes would have seen substantial payroll tax increases in 2021 and 2022. Businesses are ready and willing to hire those seeking employment and there are currently more jobs available than people unemployed in Iowa. ABI believes reforms of the UI system are necessary to ensure the long-term integrity of the trust fund, make Iowa more competitive with our neighboring states and encourage individuals to return to the workforce.

Tax Reform is a new priority for ABI in 2022. The Legislature took significant steps to make Iowa more competitive this past legislative session by removing the 2018 tax triggers and eliminating the property tax levy for mental health services, but more can be done. The Tax Foundation ranks Iowa 40th in their annual state business tax climate index. In fact, Iowa is 46th for our corporate tax rank. In order for Iowa businesses to compete in a global economy, we must have a tax climate that promotes growth. ABI strongly supports additional efforts to enhance our overall tax structure in 2022.

Infrastructure is a very hot topic right now; particularly at the federal level. In 2021, the Iowa Legislature and Governor Reynolds implemented very robust policy legislation and appropriation levels which will allow for the facilitation and deployment of high speed broadband infrastructure across the state in the years to come. ABI will continue to prioritize infrastructure in 2022 as policymakers continue to look at ways to strengthen and modernize our physical assets.

Regulatory Reform is a priority that ABI works on regardless of whether or not the Legislature is in session. We pride ourselves on being the regulatory watchdog for businesses as we work to ensure that rules and regulations aren’t more stringent or onerous than the law prescribes.

With the 2022 priorities and policies now formulated, ABI public policy staff will begin meeting with policymakers as we look to enact the agenda put forward by our members. We appreciate and are thankful to everyone who took time to provide feedback and input during the policy process for 2022.