PDI Legislative Agenda

2017 Legislative Agenda   (Download the 2017 Legislative Agenda brochure)

Workforce/Housing/Workforce Housing

The most significant impediments to economic growth in Iowa are a tight labor market and inadequate
housing. Together these challenges perpetuate a cycle: Businesses choose not to locate in areas of Iowa
due to insufficient numbers of workers and a shortage of housing. In turn, communities are unable to
build housing or draw new residents because of a lack of jobs. Solving the problem will require action
on multiple fronts:

  • Workforce Housing Tax Credit – The amount of credits available annually should be raised to$40 million and the credits should no longer count against the state’s business tax credit limit.Consideration should also be given to enacting a component of the program specifically assistingrural communities and excusing them from the obligation to conduct expensive housing marketneeds analyses prior to greenfield development.
  • Workforce Recruitment – While sustaining support for Home Base Iowa and ABI’s Elevate Iowa, the Governor and Legislature should explore other means of recruiting needed workers. These may include programs targeting specific professions, student loan forgiveness, income tax rebates, credits or deductions on student loan debt, and other incentives to keep people in Iowa and drive population growth. Recruitment efforts should be coordinated with economic development organizations throughout the state, much like business recruitment efforts have been for several decades.
  • Workforce Training – Ensuring access to innovative training programs and practices responsive to a rapidly changing workplace requires both adequate state funding and proper alignment of services. We look forward to the implementation of the Career and Technical Education bill from last session, a significant milestone for Iowa.
  • Brownfield & Grayfield – Given the tremendous power of the Brownfield & Grayfield program to encourage redevelopment in aged or blighted areas, the amount of credits available annually should be increased from its current level of $10 million. The program has been vastly oversubscribed in the last 5 years, which has an immediate and substantive impact on communities across Iowa.
  • As well, the Governor and Legislature should explore means of assisting communities in redeveloping abandoned buildings, potentially as housing. Current programs at IEDA and IDNR should be evaluated to gauge how the programs can complement one another to impact the greatest number of communities possible. 

State Economic Development Resources – Growth in jobs and wealth in Iowa is directly related to the
reliability and sustainability of resources for use by the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA)
and Iowa Workforce Development. After many years without an upward adjustment in their budgets to
support salary increases, both departments last year endured substantial funding cuts. To grow Iowa’s
economy, we should devote MORE resources to these departments, not force them to lay off

Enhance Iowa – Trails, parks and other quality‐of‐life amenities draw workers and businesses, yet last
year the Legislature passed the Enhance Iowa legislation without funding. The Governor and Legislature
should build on last year’s bill by establishing a funding mechanism for this program.
School Funding – PDI understands the heavy burden school funding puts on the state budget; however,
annual delays in setting allowable funding increases are damaging to schools and the entire education
system. Policy are urged to resolve the funding debate early in the 2017 session and to strive for a less
politicized process.

Minimum Wage – County‐by‐county minimum wage thresholds are unworkable and will severely hinder
business development and economic growth. Within the discussion about increasing the statewide
minimum wage rate, lawmakers should take action to preempt local government from subsequently
setting local rates.

Water Quality – Within the vigorous discussion about water quality, the Governor and legislature should
also address the critical need for funding for local infrastructure. Last year’s proposal to devote a water
excise tax to this purpose was laudable. Without funding, more rural cities will be forced to surrender
their incorporation, taking with them a large part of Iowa’s history.

Corporate Income Tax ‐ Strong consideration should be given to simplification of Iowa’s corporate
Income tax structure. The current structure is complex to investors from outside the state and
country. The simplification and reduction of the corporate income tax will entice industrial and
commercial investment, which will create new job growth. For example, the elimination of federal
deductibility for corporate income taxes coupled with lower brackets could accomplish a tax reduction
greater than what federal deductibility currently offers.

Small Business & Entrepreneurship Support – Direct technical assistance to entrepreneurs and start‐up
companies is a key component to growing Iowa’s economy. The Legislature should provide adequate
funding for small business development and economic gardening programs to foster entrepreneurial

School Funding – PDI understands the heavy burden school funding puts on the state budget; however, annual delays in setting allowable funding increases are damaging to schools and the entire education system. Policymakers are urged to resolve the funding debate early in the 2017 session and to strive for a less politicized process.

Tax Increment Financing – Local governments rely on the flexibility of TIF to address community growth
challenges, from workforce and housing shortages to aging infrastructure to redevelopment to
partnering with the States. PDI supports TIF and opposes efforts to weaken this important and flexible
local economic development tool. New TIF reporting requirements adopted by the legislature in 2012
provide the public sufficient information about local use of TIF.

For More Information Contact:
Kiley Miller, Legislative Committee Co‐Chair – 712/264‐3474; kmiller@lakescorridor.com
Tod Faris, Legislative Committee Co‐Chair – 641-932-7126; tfaris@cvrec.com
Amy Campbell, Lobbyist – 515/554‐5838; Amy@IALobby.com
Craig Patterson, Lobbyist – 515/554‐7920; Craig@IALobby.com

The Professional Developers of Iowa (PDI) is a statewide non‐profit organization of more than 340
practicing economic development professionals dedicated to expanding the economy of the State of
Iowa. For the past 42 years, PDI has successfully represented the collective economic development
interests of both the private and public sectors by providing leadership in defining and promoting
statewide economic development initiatives. Iowa is competing every day against every state in the
Union, and increasingly, against every country in the world. PDI believes that in order for Iowa to be
successful with its economic development initiatives, we must create a business climate that builds on
Iowa’s strengths, expands the state’s tax base, creates and retains high‐paying jobs, and builds the
industries of the future.

Professional Developers of Iowa ‐ growing Iowa and creating economic opportunity. 

1255 SW Prairie Trail Parkway, Ankeny, IA 50023
Tel: 515 243 4585
Fax: 515 334 1167
Email: director@pdiowa.com 
website: www.pdiowa.com