May 7, 2021
Governor Unveils Compromise Tax Relief/Economic Growth Legislation - Legislative Session Continues
Governor Reynolds held a press conference Wednesday to announce the elements of a significant tax relief and economic growth omnibus bill. The legislation, which has been introduced in the senate as SSB 1276, addresses a number of different topics including tax, housing, childcare, mental health, energy, and manufacturing. The bill is aimed at establishing a compromise between the House, Senate and Governor that would allow for budget agreements and ultimately provide an end to the 2021 legislative session. Some of the key components of the legislation include the following:

  • Eliminates the tax triggers as passed by the Legislature in 2018
  • Phases out and eventually eliminates the inheritance tax by July 2024
  • Increases the housing trust fund cap from $3 million to $7 million
  • Expands the workforce house tax credit program to $40 million for FY22, $35 million for FY23 and $30 million for subsequent years
  • Establishes a Manufacturing 4.0 grant program
  • Allows the IEDA to consider onsite daycare as bonus criteria under the High Quality Jobs Program, amends the criteria for a HQJP project and lowers the overall cap
  • Couples with federal bonus depreciation and decouples with the 30% interest expense limitation known as Sec. 163(j)
  • Phases out and eliminates the mental health levy at the county level and shifts mental health funding to the state
  • Implements payment parity for mental health services via telehealth 
  • Increases the income threshold from $45,000 to $90,000 for families qualifying for certain child care tax credits
  • Phases out the property tax backfill payments to local governments over several years

ABI is registered in favor of the legislation as it contains several legislative priorities of the association. The Senate is set to hold a subcommittee on the legislation this coming Monday. The House has their own version of the bill, but it is lacking some of the pieces the Senate has included. House and Senate leaders and the governor have been working to forge an agreement on tax policy and the budget over the last several weeks and will continue to do so into at least next week.
Legislative Update: TODAY 8:00 AM
ABI’s public policy team will brief members with the latest state legislative developments at 8:00 am CT this morning. There were several significant developments on ABI issues this week that you won’t want to miss hearing. The legislative update is for ABI members only. If you haven’t registered for a previous update, be sure to contact Brad Hartkopf.
House Passes Numerous Budget Bills

The House passed five budget bills by the end of debate late Thursday night. The House approved the Transportation Budget (SF 592) and that now heads to the governor. They also passed the Rebuilding Iowa Infrastructure Fund (RIIF) Budget (HF 862), the Ag & Natural Resources Budget (HF 860), the Economic Development Budget (HF 871), and the Education Budget (HF 868). The bills now head to the Senate where the chamber has their own versions of the aforementioned budgets. A tax package is likely needed to be agreed to between the House and Senate before a final budget agreement can be had.
Governor Reynolds Confirmed to Speak at
ABI’s Conference Next Month
ABI is pleased to announce that Governor Kim Reynolds is scheduled to address ABI’s annual Taking Care of Business Conference on June 9 in Coralville. Reynolds, who became Iowa’s first female governor in May 2017, has been an outstanding partner and champion for the business community during her time in office. She has spearheaded a number of important initiatives including Future Ready Iowa which aims to upskill Iowa’s workforce, and has been a leader in promoting STEM education. ABI Is thankful to the Governor for taking time out of her schedule to address leaders in the business community. If you haven’t yet registered for ABI’s conference, be sure to do so today at!
Deadline for IIPAC Recognition at Conference - May 18

The ABI Annual Conference is back in 2021 and the association looks forward to welcoming more than 380 members to Coralville/Iowa City. As in past years, investors in ABI’s political action committee that contribute prior to May 18 will be recognized at the conference with signage and a designation on attendees name badges. More than $20,000 has been raised this year, but we have a long way to go until we reach our goal. We hope you will contribute today. If you aren’t sure whether you’ve contributed in 2021, please contact Brad Hartkopf.
Workers’ Compensation Commissioner
Confirmed to Another Term
On Wednesday, the Senate voted 46-2 in favor of confirming Joe Cortese to serve another six year term as Iowa’s Workers’ Compensation Commissioner. Cortese, originally appointed to the position by former Governor Branstad in 2015, was a lawyer in private practice for 30 years before his initial appointment. He practiced workers’ compensation with the Des Moines law firm formerly known as Huber, Book, Cortese & Lanz, where he was a partner. The Commissioner has also spoken before ABI’s Workplace and Product Safety Committee. ABI looks forward to continuing to work with Mr. Cortese in his role as Commissioner.
Regional Meetings: Postponed
With the legislative session continuing into next week and quite possibly beyond that, ABI has made the decision to postpone the regional meetings and reschedule at a later date. The Governor, Senate and House are still working on coming to a compromise on tax policy and the budget for the coming fiscal year. There will be more information once the Legislature has adjourned for the year. If you are interested in hosting an in-person regional meeting between May and July, please contact Michelle Vollstedt.
Unemployment Proposal Aims to Dramatically Expand Benefits, Increase Taxes on Employers
A proposal put forward by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) would drastically overhaul the federal-state unemployment insurance (UI) system, significantly increase unemployment insurance (UI) benefits and costs and raise state and federal UI taxes on employers if enacted into law. The Wyden-Bennet Proposal is being released in concert with President Biden’s American Rescue Plan in which $2 billion is being put “toward UI system modernization, equitable access and fraud prevention.” As Iowa currently has one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates, ABI members are diligently seeking workers to fill thousands of jobs that are available. A proposal that would expand benefits and raise taxes on employers is the wrong approach. ABI will continue to monitor the situation as it develops.
Weekly Business Report

ABI President Mike Ralston and Executive Vice President Nicole Crain discuss the latest industry and association news as well as ways to make the most of your ABI membership.
Registration is now open for the ABI CEO Forum in Okoboji on July 29 & 30.

CLICK HERE to register today!
June 8 - 10: Taking Care of Business Conference
The conference will take place in person in Coralville/Iowa City
Don't forget to register for ABI's 2021 Taking Care of Business Conference! If you are passionate about business in Iowa, this is an opportunity to meet other industry leaders, network, learn new ideas, and share insight on how to grow and strengthen the state's business climate.

CLICK HERE to register
Mark Your Calendar for “Iowa’s Best” Auction on June 1-9

Iowa's best is making our state better. Plan to bid, donate and share to help us exceed our $30,000 goal! Exceptional auction items have been brought forward by great Iowa leaders and businesses. Funds raised benefit the cultivation of Iowans through the ABI Foundation’s programs. Packages to be revealed soon! Mark your calendar for June 1-9.
CLICK HERE for more information, and
CLICK HERE to receive event updates
Taking Care of Business Conference - One Month Away
By Mike Ralston - President,
Iowa Association of Business and Industry

As you read this column, the 2021 Taking care of Business Conference, ABI’s 118th annual convention, is a month away. Ladies and gentlemen, it will be a terrific event and believe me when I say you do not want to miss it. Go now to and register for this event!

The Iowa City/Coralville area is a fabulous region, eager to host ABI members from across the state. Officials there have been working with our organization for well over a year to ensure a truly world-class meeting is experienced by every attendee. 

CLICK HERE to read more from ABI President Mike Ralston.
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ABI Members Partner with State to Host
Energy Career Roundtables
Energy producers, service providers, and other related employers are invited to join for a series of interactive virtual roundtable sessions to offer industry guidance and insight for a new project to develop promotional materials for a wide range of exciting energy careers in Iowa.
Women In Manufacturing Event
"Adapting Manufacturing to a New Normal"
Tuesday, May 18
1:00 - 2:00 p.m. CT

Join WiM’s President, Allison Grealis, as she and a panel of manufacturing leaders explore lessons learned from the pandemic and how building long-term resiliency into end-to-end manufacturing operations will be key to thriving in a post-crisis world.

CLICK HERE to register.