ABI Releases 2014 Legislative Priorities

September 26, 2013

ABI Announces 2014 Legislative Priorities

Des Moines, IA-The state’s largest and oldest business organization announced its 2014 legislative agenda building on the successes of the 2013 legislative session.  The Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) will focus its agenda by advocating for a competitive tax climate in individual and corporate income and sales taxes, and working to educate Iowa legislators about workforce needs and regulatory concerns. ABI will also encourage the legislature to eliminate barriers at the local government level that impedes streamlining government.

“Our ABI members wish to educate legislators on the importance of Iowa manufacturers and good paying manufacturing jobs in the state.” said Myron Linn, ABI Board Chair. “The legislature passed property tax relief in 2013, yet Iowa’s manufacturers are still at a disadvantage when it comes to income and sales tax policies in the state of Iowa. ABI looks forward to working with the legislature to enact policies that will encourage Iowa manufacturers to stay in the state and help make our state competitive in today’s global economy.”

“Next week is Manufacturing Week in Iowa.” stated Mike Ralston, ABI President. “We encourage Iowa legislators to meet with manufacturers in their districts next week and the remainder of 2013. Meeting with Iowa business leaders is a great experience for our elected officials to see how the 2014 ABI legislative priorities directly impacts jobs in every Iowa county.”

ABI’s legislative priorities and policies are established on an annual basis through an in-depth grassroots committee process beginning in May with regional meetings. Approximately 600 individuals participate in the development of ABI’s policies through attending the regional meetings or one of five public policy committee meetings. The policies are then refined, reviewed and approved by the Legislative Committee. The final work product is approved by the ABI Board of Directors who also sets the annual legislative priorities. The 2014 priorities can be found below.

ABI has a history of legislative success, including the most recent passage of property tax relief and restoration of the economic development tax credit cap in 2013. Other major historical accomplishments includes the passage of Workers' Compensation employer direction of medical care legislation in 1911; the landmark Right to Work Law in 1947; the Sales and Use Tax Exemption on Machinery, Equipment and Computers in 1997; Drug-Free Workplace Testing in 1998; the Insurance Premium Tax Reduction in 2002; and Workers’ Compensation Apportionment of Prior Benefits in 2004.

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The Iowa Association of Business and Industry’s (ABI) has been the voice of Iowa business since 1903, and its mission is to collectively provide a strong, unified voice to business and industry on issues impacting Iowa employers. ABI is currently comprised of approximately 1,400 Iowa members of all types and sizes in all 99 counties employing more than 310,000 Iowans.

2014 Priorities

ABI members applaud the Iowa legislature and Governor's successful 2013 session which included approval of a sound budget and property tax relief for Iowans. ABI seeks to educate policy makers and the public on policies that will keep Iowa competitive in a global economy. ABI looks forward to working with legislators in the following areas to ensure future generations of Iowans have the opportunity of economic prosperity.

Taxes Iowa legislators must continue efforts to reduce the overall tax burden on employers and individuals. Such actions should be equitable, simple, predictable, and include an element of government accountability. Key areas include:

  • Income Tax Reform of Iowa's corporate and individual income tax rates is a necessary component to maintain competitiveness with neighboring states and the global economy. ABI supports legislation that will reduce Iowa's individual and corporate income tax burden and complexity.
  • Manufacturing Definition Related to Sales and Use Tax Clarification of Iowa's definition of machinery and equipment sales and use tax policy is necessary to make certain Iowa manufacturers can continue producing products in Iowa which ensures Iowa employees have good jobs and benefits.

Workforce Iowa employers need a qualified, committed workforce. The State of Iowa should provide incentives for qualified workers, including veterans, to locate in Iowa. ABI supports continued efforts to improve the quality of educational outputs in Iowa with a persistent focus on STEM. In order to ensure the safety of all workers, Iowa needs to review policies that impede employers' ability to maintain a safe environment.

Regulatory Reform Federal and state regulations are costing Iowa businesses millions of dollars each year. Iowa's regulations should not exceed standards established by the federal government. Policy makers must review existing regulations to confirm they do not inhibit businesses from expanding or locating in the state. The legislature must provide adequate funding for state agencies to implement and run federally mandated programs.

Streamlining Government
Iowa taxpayers shoulder the expensive burden of supporting too many government entities, creating excessive bureaucracy and inefficiency.  Iowa is 8th in the country when it comes to percentage of population employed by state and local governments, while Iowa ranks 30th in population. ABI supports eliminating state legal barriers that hinder the ability of governmental units to better manage expenses and restructure governmental services.