Conference Registration Open
Registration Opens Today for the State's Premier Business Conference
Today is the big day: Registration is now open  for the 2018 Taking Care of Business Conference, June 5-7, at the Coralville Marriott Hotel & Conference Center.  No other event in Iowa attracts as many decision-makers looking to learn, network and share ideas. Register now.
Legislative News
Senate Unveils Tax Plan
Sen. Randy Feenstra (R-Hull) on Wednesday released SSB 3197 , a tax reform bill that will lower individual and corporate income tax rates. Click here to read the Senate Republicans' summary of the legislation. The legislation will result in more than $1 billion in tax relief annually. A few key provisions of the bill include:
  • Elimination of Federal Deductibility
  • Automatically couples with federal taxes
  • Allows for complete deduction of the new qualified business income 199A
  • Reduces the corporate tax rate from 12% to 7%
  • Sunsets many tax credits
  • Modernizes the sales tax code and puts Iowa in a position to collect online sales tax
  • Changes how Iowa's financial institutions are taxed
  • Increases pension exemption
  • Changes the definition of manufacturer in the Iowa code
A subcommittee was held on the legislation Thursday morning, and we expect the bill to move through the full Senate Ways and Means Committee meeting this afternoon. During the subcommittee, many business and economic development groups spoke favorably about the bill. Labor groups and some individuals affected by tax credit elimination raised concerns. Some Democratic Senators raised questions about the fiscal impact of the bill on the state budget. We expect a lot of debate during the committee meeting and conversation about the state budget and how the tax reductions would affect state revenue and state-funded programs and services.
 
In addition to this bill, the Governor's bill-- SSB 3195 --was released last week and was covered in last week's newsletter .  
 
The ABI Tax Committee will have a conference call on Monday, February 26, to review and gather feedback on both the Senate and Governor's proposed tax reform bills. If you're on the Tax Committee, you've received a brief bill summary in an email from Nicole Crain. If you're an ABI member and would like to join the Monday Tax Committee call, contact Michelle Vollstedt at mvollstedt@iowaabi.org to RSVP. You can also provide any feedback you have on the legislation to Nicole Crain at ncrain@iowaabi.org .

Pro-jobs Legislation Advances
After funnel week, ABI's lobbying team shifts its focus to ensuring bills ABI wants to see advance make it onto the debate calendar, drafting amendments to legislation that still needs work and talking to legislators about ABI's priority bills.  This week several pieces of legislation ABI was advocating for on behalf of members passed the House and Senate.

HF 2383 conforms Iowa alcohol testing law to Federal Motor Safety Carrier regulations, clearing up a grey area in Iowa law. The legislation passed with bipartisan support of 95-2.
On Wednesday, the Iowa Senate passed  SF 2262 by a vote of 49-0, which allows Iowa manufacturers of specialized work vehicles, like highway helper trucks, utility trucks and ambulances, to cleanly pass the manufacturer statement of origin (MSO) to the retail buyer. Currently, Iowa code requires these manufacturers to sell their newly manufactured vehicles as used vehicles, creating a significant barrier to doing business. ABI worked with the Iowa Auto Dealers Association and DOT to come up with a solution to eliminate this legal impediment.  SF 2262 is now eligible for debate in the Iowa House.

Other bills of note to Iowa businesses also advanced. Keep reading for more information about those bills.

Waverly Roundtable to Be Held Friday, March 2
ABI, along with United Equipment Accessories, will hold a breakfast legislative roundtable on Friday, March 2. The no-cost event is open to ABI members and will feature Sen. Craig Johnson and Rep. Sandy Salmon. To know how much food to provide, we simply ask you RSVP to Michelle Vollstedt at mvollstedt@iowaabi.org by Wednesday, Feb 28. In addition to the Waverly roundtable, we're excited to add a new legislative roundtable on Friday, March 23. The meeting will be held at International Paper in Cedar Rapids and is once again open to ABI members. This meeting will feature legislators in the Cedar Rapids area and will be a lunch meeting. If you'd like to attend the Cedar Rapids meeting, please contact Michelle Vollstedt.
 
Iowa Business Day on the Hill is Tuesday, March 13
Don't forget to register for Iowa Business Day on the Hill! The morning will feature a legislative update and a guest speaker. After the briefing, members will have the opportunity to visit the Iowa State Capitol and speak with legislators. There are many pieces of legislation that will affect Iowa businesses including tax reform, workforce and employment policies. Sen. Feenstra will be the guest speaker at the IIPAC lunch.
From the Desk of...
A Response to Sexual Harassment: Cultivating a Culture of Civility


Anne Barry
Aureon HR

Sexual harassment accusations have been dominating the news lately.

Every week since the New York Times piece on Harvey Weinstein, more and more people have come forward to share their stories and expose those who have sexually harassed them.

The amount of sexual harassment claims that have been revealed over the past couple of months is astonishing. However, this increased awareness is allowing for more victims to vocalize and report what happened to them, which is encouraging and is hopefully a pivotal cultural shift around this topic.

The past couple of months I've been thinking about this topic and why, after Title VII was passed so many years ago, we're still hearing about these stories. One component that we may need to rethink is related to understanding what types of cultures are inhibiting people from sharing concerns or speaking up when they witness something discriminatory or harassing in nature. While most organizations have training and policies on anti-harassment and anti-discrimination topics, there are still individuals who don't report. Therefore, it is likely important for us to go a step further and focus on creating a culture of civility. Keep reading.
Top News
Patagonia Founder and Owner, Noted Conservationist to Appear at Sustainable Business Event
Yvon Chouinard, founder and owner of Patagonia, and Craig Mathews, conservationist and owner of Blue Ribbon Flies, will be guests at the 2018 Contemporary Issues Forum, Feb. 28, 7:30 p.m., at Coe College.  Together, the two social entrepreneurs founded 1% for the Planet in 2002. The format for the event will be a moderated discussion. The forum is co-promoted by the Iowa Sustainable Business Forum Buy tickets

Financial Assistance Available to Participate in International Trade Shows or Missions
The Export Trade Assistance Program (ETAP) offers financial assistance to eligible Iowa companies participating in international trade shows or trade missions. The Domestic Trade Assistance Program (DTAP) is applicable for qualifying international trade shows held in the U.S., when exhibiting to explore or expand international markets. Review the  eligibility requirements and eligible expenditures  and instructions on registration and application . Application must be made a minimum of 45 days in advance of an event. Eligible companies may use the programs up to three times per application period and receive up to $4,000 per eligible event.

Renewable Chemicals Production Tax Credit Available
The application-filing window is now open for the Iowa Renewable Chemicals Production Tax Credit. Applications will be accepted online  from  February 15 to March 15, 2018 , for chemicals produced in 2017. The credit is $0.05 per pound of renewable chemical produced, up to $1 million for startups and $500,000 for established businesses. The program incentivizes the production of 30 high-value chemicals derived from biomass feedstocks.
 
Design Professionals Encouraged to Enter Bellagio Hotel Design Competition
Creative Edge Master Shop in Fairfield  is encouraging design professionals to enter the Bellagio Hotel Design Competition to create a 10-foot diameter inlaid marble medallion for the lobby of one of the most famous hotels in the world. Submissions are due by Feb. 28.  Creative Edge Master Shop, a contest sponsor, designs and fabricates architectural and industrial products using computer-controlled, waterjet technology.

Seminar for Top Decision-makers Coming to Pella, Algona and Cedar Rapids
Iowa Farm Bureau's Renew Rural Iowa will present "The Journey to Your Vision" seminar on March 9 in  Pella , May 11 in Algona and May 16 in Cedar Rapids . Every business faces peaks and valleys as it progresses through stages of growth. Do you know what stage your business is in and how you can reach the next level? Attend this valuable seminar to stack the odds in your favor by understanding the stages of business growth, their unique challenges and methods to overcome them. The seminar is complimentary, but pre-registration is required.

One Week Left to Apply for In-demand Manufacturing Training Scholarships 
Elevate Advanced Manufacturing, a non-profit spreading the word about career opportunities in manufacturing, is offering 15 $500 scholarships to Iowa high school seniors interested in studying a manufacturing-related career at one of Iowa's 15 community colleges.  Examples of eligible training programs include  welding, computer numerically controlled (CNC) machining, industrial automation, industrial maintenance, robotics, tool and die, and transportation and logistics.  The application deadline is March 2.  Download the application .

Van Meter Named to Training Magazine's 2018 "Top 125"
For the third consecutive year, Van Meter, an electrical and automation distributor, was named to Training Magazine's "Training Top 125" list. The international ranking is conducted annually to assess and recognize excellence in employer-sponsored training and development programs.  Van Meter claimed the 96th spot for 2018 (up from 106 in 2017), joining companies like Aetna, Inc., DaVita, Edward Jones, Best Buy, MasterCard, New York Community Bancorp, Walmart and more. Van Meter was one of only two Iowa- based companies recognized in 2018. Read the news release.
Governor's Club Sponsors