Legislative News
NCCI Files 9.2 Percent Rate Reduction for Workers' Compensation
The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) is proposing that Iowa's overall voluntary and assigned risk rate for workers' compensation be reduced by 9.2 percent. This recommendation, which must be approved by the Iowa Insurance Division, would be effective January 1, 2019. You can read the filing here , which is based on premium and loss experience for policy years 2015 and 2016. If approval were granted, this would be the third straight year that Iowa would see rates downsized. (They were reduced by 3.9 percent in 2017 and 8.7 percent in 2018, respectively). The reforms instituted helped bring balance back into the system.
Department of Revenue Rules Released for Comment
The Iowa Department of Revenue has provided ABI with draft rules in light of the passage of tax reform legislation last session. The draft rules redefine who is a manufacturer versus a retailer, and what is excluded from sales tax as a manufacturing process and what is not. Facilities such as paint supply stores, grocery stores and other retailers that previously qualified for sales tax exemptions on certain processes may no longer be eligible under the rule for sales tax exemption. In addition to the manufacturing definition changes, the department has also provided us draft rules regarding the research activities tax credit. If you are interested in seeing a copy of the rules and providing feedback, please contact Nicole Crain. Please send feedback to ABI by August 24.

Empower Rural Iowa Board Announced
Gov. Reynolds announced her appointments to the Empower Rural Iowa Board today. The governor signed an executive order creating this initiative last month. Three different task forces and an executive committee will focus on investing, growing and connecting rural Iowa. The initiative will partner with the Iowa Rural Development Council and release specific legislative, regulatory and policy changes that should be instituted to help sustain and grow rural Iowa later this fall. Several ABI members including ABI board member Philip Jones were named to the task forces. Kathy Anderson, ABI vice president of member development and programs, was appointed to the Growing Rural Iowa Task Force. Thanks to all of our members for their willingness to serve on this important initiative. You can read the  press release , which lists all of the task force members. Stay tuned for more information on this subject in future newsletters.
Policy Meetings Conclude with Excellent Attendance and Speakers
Nearly 200 ABI members registered to attend our five policy committee meetings held over the last two weeks. The Workplace and Product Safety, Employment and Workforce, Economic Growth, Environment, and Tax committees met at the ABI office. The committees heard from informative speakers, reviewed and changed ABI policies for the next year, and discussed other hot topics in each issue area. The policies from each committee will now go to ABI's legislative committee for review and approval. The final step will be the review and approval by the full ABI board. Thank you to everyone who participated in this important grassroots process, and thank you to all of our wonderful speakers!
Opportunity to Provide Comments on Draft Air Quality Rules
The DNR is giving stakeholders and the public an opportunity to submit comments on a draft rulemaking proposal. The objectives of the proposed changes to air quality rules include:
  • Reducing the cost of government, while providing streamlined services to the public and regulated community.
  • Updating rules to provide regulatory certainty and flexibility.
  • Offering uniform rules by making changes that match federal regulations. This ensures that Iowa's air quality rules are no more stringent than federal regulations. It also provides the DNR, rather than the EPA, more authority in regards to implementing air quality standards in Iowa.
You can read a summary of proposed rules changes here . If you would like to offer comments or suggestions, please send those to Christine Paulson at the Air Quality Bureau, or they may be mailed to DNR Air Quality Bureau, 502 E. 9th Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50319. The deadline for submission is Tuesday, August 28.
Federal Spotlight: U.S. and Mexico Coming Closer to Agreement on NAFTA
Several news outlets have reported that U.S. and Mexico trade talks are moving in the right direction and that a preliminary agreement on NAFTA could be reached in the next few weeks. Canada is currently not involved in these specific talks. There have been key sticking points in negotiations, which include auto rules of origin, environmental regulations and a proposal by the U.S. that any deal reached be terminated after five years unless all three countries agree to renew. Mexico and Canada have been adamantly opposed to this idea. The business community is hoping that a resolution comes sooner rather than later. Mexico and Canada are Iowa's top two trading partners and play a large role in our state's economy.
Manufacturing Best Practices Road Show
See Leading-edge Manufacturing Technologies in Action
Do you hear terms like "digital manufacturing," "Industry 4.0" and "Internet of Things" and wonder how they could actually impact your factory? Do you sense something is coming, but uncertain what it all means?

ABI and  CIRAS are partnering to help Iowa manufacturers see firsthand how new digital technologies can change their manufacturing floor today. Join us on a two-day bus trip to Chicago, September 18-19, to see leading-edge technologies in action.  Tours include  Genesis Systems  and  John Deere  in the Quad Cities, and Trumpf Smart Factory and DMDII in the Chicago area.
From the Desk of...
What Customers Really Want

Andrea Olson

As successful business leaders, we feel we have a handle on what our customers want. Leveraging anecdotal feedback from the sales force, formal studies by the marketing team, data capture from customer service, and overall competitive research, there's a strong level of confidence of what customers are needing and how we can serve them.  Or are we secretly in the dark? Keep reading.
Top News
Legends in Manufacturing Nomination Deadline is Tomorrow
Tomorrow is the last day to nominate leaders in manufacturing for a Legends in Manufacturing Award.  Six awardees will be recognized at the Legends in Manufacturing Awards Dinner on October 2 in Altoona. Award categories include Under 100 Employees, 100-300 Employees, 300+ Employees, Manufacturing Export Award, Manufacturing Champion and Posthumous Awardee. Nominate a manufacturer.

Iowa Early Childhood Systems Summit Offers Business and Economic Leader Track
Hear from national and state business leaders and  organizations on how access to affordable, quality child  care affects today's workforce and the competitive and  skilled workforce of tomorrow. The summit's business and economic leader track is October 3, 12:00-4:30 p.m., at The Sheraton Hotel in West Des Moines. Registration is $65. Learn more and register.
Governor's Club Sponsors