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Tag Archives: government

Iowa Business Leaders to Meet with Policy Makers in Washington, DC

Iowa Association of  Business and Industry Leaders Embark on First Ever Washington, DC Trip

On Wednesday, September 18, Steve Dust, CEO of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber along with eleven other ABI leaders will depart Des Moines International Airport for a three day trip to Washington, D.C. During the visit, members will meet with Iowa’s Congressional delegation and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The packed agenda also includes briefings from U.S. Health and Human Services on health care reform, National Association of Manufacturers, BIPAC, and the Immigration Reform Council. During the meetings ABI members will hear the latest political and policy insight from our nation’s capital. ABI leaders also look forward to sharing their ideas on tax reform, health care, immigration and other issues with the Congressional delegation. Look for tweets and photos by following #ABIDC13 on twitter September 18-20. Upon return, expect a full report from ABI Public Policy staff.

Alliance & Chamber Seek Investor Input to 2014 Legislative Policy Agenda

As the Government Relations Committee begins deliberating on the 2014 GCVAC Legislative Policy Agenda, I want to extend a special invitation to an Investors’ Legislative Issues Forum on Monday, September 16, 2013 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Cedar Falls from 8:00-9:00 am. This year, the Alliance & Chamber is offering an opportunity for investor involvement in legislative priority identification through this forum. Please come to hear from other investors what is on their minds as we begin crafting our 2014 agenda. Our hope is that this forum will give us an important head start and strengthen our efforts in identifying and prioritizing issues important to business in the Greater Cedar Valley as we build the Alliance & Chamber’s legislative agenda for the next session.

The October 11 Friday Forum will be at the Five Sullivan Bros. Center and the November 8 event will be at the Waterloo Center for the Arts.

Iowa Property Taxes Reduced for Commercial & Industiral Tax Payers

The persistence of Iowa commercial and industrial property owners finally paid dividends in a reduction in your property tax burden! After several tries over the last decade, the legislature and Governor came to agreement on the start to property tax reform, and provided modest tax reduction at the same time.
We appreciate those of you who contacted your legislators, encouraging them to finally act on an inequity in the tax system that has persisted – and has been an impediment to economic growth –  for far too long.

While not all was achieved that we were looking for – the rate of rollback is much less than the original proposal –  it is a start. Beyond this, it may provide the motivation for a reform of the entire system in years to come.

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, through its Government Relations Committee and our director of governmental relations Steve Firman, collaborated with a coalition that included the Iowa Chamber Alliance, Iowa Association of Business & Industry, Professional Developers of Iowa, and Iowa Taxpayers Association to continually impress upon our elected officials the need for this change.

Conference Committee Report for SF 295 – Property Tax

 

Division I—Business Property Tax Credit (“Senate Plan” element)

  • Creates a Business Property Tax Credit for property taxes due and payable in fiscal  year 2015.
  • $50 million is appropriated in fiscal year 2015 to the Business Property Tax Credit  Fund
  • $100 million is appropriated in fiscal year 2016
  • $125 million is appropriated in fiscal year 2017
  • $125 million every year thereafter
  • Each person who wishes to file a claim will obtain a form from the County Assessor.
    The  form does not have to be filed again until the property is sold or transferred.
  • The state will use the money appropriated into the Business Property Tax Credit Fund to reimburse local governments the amount of credits issued.
  • When fully phased in, at least $145,000 of property value on every business would   be equal to the residential rollback
  • Total Fiscal impact to local governments is $16 million when fully phased in.

 

Division II —Property Tax Assessment Limitation and Replacement (“House Plan” element)

  • Assessment growth limitation moves from 4% to 3% on Ag and residential immediately.
  • Commercial and Industrial will assessed at 95% of valuation starting January 1, 2013; at 90% starting January 1, 2014; and is frozen at 90% thereafter.
  • The State will appropriate money for replacement of the lost revenue. Payments will be made by IDR to county treasurers:

FY 15 $78.8 million (includes multi-residential)

FY 16 $162.8 million (includes multi-residential)

FY 17 $154.1 million (does not include multi-residential and capped at this level

going forward)

 

Division III—Multi-residential Property Classification

  •  Creates a new property classification: Multi-residential
  •  Multi-residential will include apartments, nursing homes, assisted living facilities , and  certain other rental property
  •  The existing classifications are Residential, Agricultural, Commercial, Industrial
  •  Multi-residential properties will eventually equal the residential rollback after 10 years.
  •  Total fiscal impact to local governments is $85.3 million when fully phased in.

Assessment Year 2013 95%

Assessment Year 2014 90%

Assessment Year 2015 86%

Assessment Year 2016 82%

Assessment Year 2017 78%

Assessment Year 2018 75%

Assessment Year 2019 71%

Assessment year 2020 67%

Assessment year 2021 63%

Assessment year 2022 and thereafter: Residential rate

 

Division IV —Telecommunications Property

  • Determining the taxable value of each company stays the same
  • Each telephone company will receive a partial exemption from taxation on the value of the company’s property. This is phased in, with half in assessment year 2013 (FY 15), and the remainder being added in assessment year 2014 (FY 16)
  • Department of Revenue is directed to complete a comprehensive study of the telecommunications industry and report recommendations for change to the General Assembly

Assessed value        $0-$20M        $20-$55M        $55-$500M        >$500M

Exemption                    40%                    35%                    25%                     20%

 

Division V – Iowa Taxpayers Trust Fund Tax Credit

  •  Each year, beginning July 1, 2014, the balance of the Taxpayers Trust Fund exceeds $30 million a tax credit will be issued to Iowa taxpayers
  •  The tax credit will be issued to Iowans with a tax liability
  •  $60 million is the maximum amount that can flow into the taxpayer trust fund each year
  • $60 million equals a $27 credit per filer. $120 million would equal $54

 

Division VI -Property Assessment Appeal Board

  • Five year sunset – July 1, 2018, lower salaries, adding another appraiser to the   board (replacing the finance profession with state and local tax policy experience, allowing for a speedier hearing process.)

Division VII—Earned Income Tax Credit

  • Increases the Earned Income Tax Credit from 7% to 14% in tax year 2013; 15% in tax year 2014
  • The credit remains refundable.
  • The increase is effective retroactively to January 1, 2013.
  • Fiscal impact: $30.8 million in FY 14 , increasing to $34.5 in FY 15

 

Dust Optimistic About Cedar Valley Economy – Part 1

View the three part video of Steve Dust, CEO of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, on KWWL’s Steele Report here.

Click Here.

Iowans Support Path to Citizenship for Immigrants with Conditions.

Most Iowans support creating a path to citizenship for immigrants in the U.S. illegally so long as the nation’s borders are first controlled, a new Des Moines Register Iowa Poll shows. The Iowa Poll, was conducted Feb. 3-6 for The Des Moines Register by Selzer & Co. of Des Moines. Read the entire article written by Jens Manuel Krogstad of the Des Moines Register here.

The Business Case for Education Reform

By John Stineman, Executive Director, Iowa Chamber Alliance

The 2013 legislative session presents many opportunities for business —  property tax reform, economic development incentives, transportation infrastructure to name just a few issues that perennially top the agenda of Iowa’s businesses and economic development community.  Standing atop these important issues is education reform.

Education?

Yes, business considers education reform to be at least as important as the other core issues within our policy agendas.

The fact of the matter is that Iowa’s once vaunted public education system is no longer as competitive as it was just half a generation ago.

It’s not so much that Iowa has gone backward as much as it is that the rest of the country has improved at a far greater pace.  We used to be at or near the top and now dwell in the lower end of the middle of the pack.

From a strictly business perspective, we must address education reform because of Iowa’s growing skills gap.  Today in Iowa about 18% of available jobs are considered to be “low skill,” but about 38% of the available Iowa workforce is classified as “low skill.”  Middle skill job openings represent half of all open positions in Iowa, but only one-third of available workers are considered to be middle skill.

The skills gap is real, it is growing, and, unfortunately, our education system today is not geared to address it.

Beyond the immediate workforce needs, consider our education outcomes today.  36% of the “Class of 2012” that went on to higher or vocational education after high school required some sort of remedial education after high school.  This is stark evidence we are not systematically equipping our kids with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed after high school.

Of course, it’s not just about the skills gap or what kind of access employers need to qualified workers.

It’s about Iowa’s kids.  It’s about our kids and grandkids.

We’ve all chosen to live in Iowa, to raise our families here.  Making sure our kids have access to a quality education that will help prepare our kids to compete in a global economy and pursue their dreams is among our most important duties.

That’s why education reform is so important.

The reforms proposed by the Governor and now being vetted by the Iowa House of Representatives are a solid start on turning the tide for Iowa’s schools.  The reforms bring with them substantive changes that will fuel teacher leadership from mentor teachers and teacher leaders to drive innovation and energy into subject matter teachers.

The proposal elevates the profession of teaching – increasing first year pay and providing a longer student teaching period so new teachers can hit the ground running when given their own classroom.

The reform proposal expands online learning opportunities by bringing students from across Iowa together to learn online from Iowa teachers in districts that offer subjects not offered in other districts.

Teacher accountability is also important.  A statistic often cited at the Capitol is that 98% of Iowa teachers receive favorable reviews.  While there are many, many quality teachers across Iowa, it is simply not realistic to believe that only two in every 100 are in need of improvement.  Evaluations must include student performance as well as peer reviews and other measures.

The Iowa Chamber Alliance is supportive of the reforms proposed and interested in other ideas that will help improve Iowa’s schools as well.  We are hopeful partisan differences and political arguments can be set aside so that meaningful reform can be achieved.

There is simply too much at stake for us not to succeed in improving our schools.  It truly is the most important thing we can do this session.

For more information, please contact Iowa Chamber Alliance Executive Director, John Stineman, at (515) 226-1492 or john@iowachamberalliance.com.

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is an active member of the Iowa Chamber Alliance. Alliance & Chamber CEO Steve Dust is the current Chair of ICA board of directors. Steve Firman, Alliance & Chamber Director of Gov’t Relations is also on its board.

 

 

 

2012 Economic Census Due Feb. 12, 2013

The Economic Census is the U.S. Government’s official five-year measure of American business and the economy. It is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, and response is required by law. Forms go out to nearly 4 million businesses, including large, medium and small companies representing all U.S. locations and industries. Respondents are asked to provide a range of operational and performance data for their companies. As part of the U.S. Census Bureau’s mission to measure America’s economy, the next Economic Census will be conducted for the year ending December 2012.

The economic census is the U.S. government’s official five-year measure of American business and the economy. It provides accurate benchmark statistics that are fundamental building blocks of economic indicators, including the gross domestic product, monthly retail sales and the producer price index. The economic census gives businesses the information they need to make informed decisions that affect America’s economy.

Governor to Visit Cedar Valley

“Our Opportunity. Our Iowa.” Govenor Branstad’s Condition of the State Tour/ Cedar Valley Stop
01.24.13, 8:15 am, Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center

All Alliance & Chamber investor/members are encouraged to demonstrate the strength and vitality of the Cedar Valley business community and hear about the issues that affect you and your business by attending this special event, Thursday, January 24th. The public is invited to attend.

Highlights:

  • Providing Property Tax Relief
  • Making our Schools the Best in the Nation
  • Improving Iowa’s Quality of Life

Registration is appreciated. Click here.

Read the Govenors 2013 Condition of the State Address

“Our Opportunity. Our Iowa.” here.

GCVAC SETS 2013 CEDAR VALLEY LEGISLATIVE AGENDA FOR ECONOMIC PROGRESS

WATERLOO/CEDAR FALLS, IOWA (Jan., 2013) – The Board of Directors of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber recently adopted the 2013 Cedar Valley Agenda for Economic Progress. Assembled by its Government Relations Committee, local economic development partners, and its staff team of the Alliance & Chamber, the Agenda, assembled annually, reflects the priority issues requiring action by the Iowa Legislature to advance the business and civic interests of the Cedar Valley economic area.

The five areas of focus are: (1) economic development programs and incentives, (2) talent and workforce development and recruitment, (3) improving Iowa’s tax climate, (4) education transformation, and (5) critical physical infrastructure.

“Our Iowa agenda is focused on business climate, competitiveness, and critical workforce issues, said Steve Firman, Director of Government Relations of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber. “It’s also about making Iowa and the Cedar Valley more competitive and attractive for starting and expanding businesses of all sizes, and building a career,” Firman concludes.

The agenda was formally announced during a December 5th Pre-session Legislative Reception event for the Cedar Valley delegation of the Iowa legislature. The annual reception is traditionally co-sponsored by the Alliance & Chamber, Cedar Valley Manufacturers Associations, and REC of Butler-Bremer-Buchanan-Grundy Counties- each of which unveil their respective agendas for the session – and hosted by the Isle Casino Hotel – Waterloo. The legislators attending the event this year included: Sen. Bill Dix and Sen. Bill Dotzler, Rep. Pat Grassley, Rep. Sandy Salmon, Rep. Walt Rogers, and Rep. Bob Kressig.

The Government Relations Committee is chaired by Mike McCrary of Lincoln Savings Bank. The  Legislative Agenda can be accessed at the Alliance & Chamber Government Relations web page  Iowa Prosperity Project-Cedar Valley.

 

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is a regional economic and community development organization focused on increasing economic vitality and improving the quality of life in the Cedar Valley economic region. Cedar Valley area business and community leaders created the Alliance to align economic development efforts and increase the region’s competitiveness in the global economy. Combined, the organization represents over 900 businesses with 50,000 employees.

 

GCVAC Encourages Legislators to Work Together for Economic Growth

 “The 2013 legislative session can do a great deal to promote economic growth, but the promise it holds can only be fulfilled if the policy makers work toward a shared goal of increasing economic growth, creating more well-paying jobs,” stated GCVAC CEO, Steve Dust in a recent Courier article. Dust, along with business leaders from across the state are optimistic about the amount of attention tax issues that effect business growth are getting from both sides of the isle. Read the entire artcle by ROD BOSHART, here.

Be part of something greater - The Cedar Valley of Iowa

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is a regional economic community development corporation working to increase economic vitality and wealth in the Waterloo / Cedar Falls area and surrounding economic region. The Alliance & Chamber has approximately 800 members that represents over 40,000 employees