Developing Public Policy to Support Growth

July 9, 2021 | Lessons in Business Growth JD Davis - Vice President, Public Policy, Iowa Association of Business and Industry,

On Thursday, June 10, ABI concluded the 2021 “Taking Care of Business Conference. Member attendees divided their time between plenary sessions, small group workshops and networking. For the associations’ public policy staff, all phases of the conference put an intense focus on business growth and a consensus that a lack of workforce participants is a key limiting factor to such growth.

Governor Kim Reynolds addressed the group and noted her action to end a $300 dollar a week federal unemployment payment that is added to Iowa’s already generous jobless benefits was taken to encourage potential workplace participants to return to gainful employment.

ABI workshop participants learned that, due to their strong advocacy, the legislature took great strides during the 2021 session to remove known

impediments to workforce participation. Notably, childcare was addressed to make it more affordable and more available for parents and employers will have new tools to solve childcare issues for their own workforces. A new commitment of resources was made to solve workforce housing issues and allocating it in a manner that will pay attention to housing needs in more rural areas where many of Iowa’s small manufacturers are located.

While the actions of the Governor and the legislature were seen as positives by conference attendees, employers at the conference struggling to find workers gave anecdotal evidence to a strange dichotomy in the Iowa economy.

At the same time, Iowa is noted as the #1 state for recovery from the economic effects of the pandemic, Iowa’s workforce participation rate is at a decades-long low. This means we must do more. But what? The opportunity to shape that response is upon us.

As every year, starting next month, ABI will convene a series of public policy committee meetings. Any member of ABI can participate in the committees and their recommendations become the policy priorities we will press upon policymakers during the 2022 legislative session. The committees are organized to cover economic growth, workforce, environment, tax and workplace issues.

The August dates for these meetings have been set and you can learn more and sign up to take part at: The public policy team hopes you will take part so that we can best represent those policies that will best help our members find greater success, lead the Iowa economy and create wealth for all Iowans.