Ames, IA – The Ames Chamber of Commerce has released its 2019 State Legislative Priorities.
The 2019 State Legislative Priorities are focused on economic development and population growth for the State of Iowa. At a glance, the Ames Chamber of Commerce priorities include strengthening the economic development environment, workforce recruitment and retention, protection of the property tax backfill, investment in Iowa’s transportation and infrastructure, and the extension of the Secure an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE) school infrastructure penny sales tax. An overview of the priorities is available at www.AmesChamber.com.
- Economic Development Environment: Protect and strengthen Iowa’s income and property tax systems and the corresponding financial assistance tools. The state needs to provide adequate resources to Iowa Economic Development Authority, Iowa Workforce Development, the Iowa Department of Education, K-12 education, Iowa State University, Des Moines Area Community College, and institutions of higher education throughout the state to address Iowa’s workforce and economic and community development efforts. Economic development assistance programs and tax increment financing need to be protected and strengthened to keep Iowa competitive and continue to bring significant capital investment and high-quality jobs to the state.
- Workforce Recruitment and Retention: Workforce and housing are the primary challenges facing employers throughout Iowa. Iowa must attract and retain the best and brightest and grow the state’s population. To do so, the Governor and Legislature should explore new means of recruiting and retaining workers, while coordinating with economic development organizations and professionals statewide. Due to the high demand for the Workforce Housing Tax Credit Program, it needs to be reformed to best serve Iowans. To improve the Program, the appropriation should be increased to $40 million, it should be removed from the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s tax credit cap, and the application process should be made competitive and merit based. Sufficient funding of Future Ready Iowa, the Last Dollar Scholarship Program and Iowa Employer Innovation Fund, and other career technical education/workforce programs is needed.
- Property Tax Backfill: The property tax backfill is a promise made to our local taxing entities and needs to be maintained. In FY2019, the backfill will provide $1.317 million to Ames Community School District, $973,210 to the City of Ames, and $667,662 to Story County. In all, that equates to $2,957,872 in local revenue.
- Transportation and Infrastructure: It is imperative that we build upon the progress made last Session to address Iowa’s water quality needs by continuing to improve the state’s water and wastewater infrastructure on a watershed basis, which will positively impact Iowans’ quality of life. We support continued Investment in Iowa’s roads and bridges, water and wastewater, and energy and communications infrastructure that utilizes long-term planning, examination of innovative funding models, and aligns with any potential federal infrastructure proposals.
- Secure an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE) School Infrastructure Penny Sales Tax: Extend SAVE to provide school districts the certainty needed to bond for new projects. With the current 2029 sunset, it is difficult for districts to pass 10-year bonds for projects. An extension of the tax could also allow schools to address other pressing needs and potentially address quality of life or other statewide issues without raising taxes.
“The Ames Chamber of Commerce is the leading voice for promoting economic growth policies and initiatives on behalf of the Ames and Story County business community,” says Drew Kamp, Director of Public Policy and Business Development at the Ames Chamber of Commerce. “To this end, we monitor important pieces of legislation at the federal and state level. By doing so, our Public Policy Program remains actively engaged in the legislative process and ultimately helps ensure the strengthening and growth of Ames, Story County, Central Iowa, and the State of Iowa’s economic and community development efforts.”
The Ames Chamber of Commerce Public Policy Program mission is to promote unity in the business community and encourage chamber involvement through informed and active participation as public policy advocates for local business and industry.
For More Information:
Drew Kamp | Director, Public Policy & Business Development | 515-232-2310 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrea Hammes Dodge | Vice President | 515-232-2310 | email@example.com