Take our 2017 CEO Survey
Each year, ABI develops its CEO Survey to solicit feedback on issues important to Iowa business leaders. This year's survey focuses on the ways in which Iowa companies give back. The philanthropic efforts of ABI members also will be highlighted during the 2017 Taking Care of Business Conference, and the feedback from the CEO Survey will help us develop content for the June Business Record Iowa, which will be handed out during the conference. Please take a few minutes to take this brief survey and share insight on the valuable ways your company gives back!
Legislative News
Legislative focus shifts to budget as the 100th day nears
Tuesday, April 18, is the 100th day of the legislative session and the final day Iowa legislators will receive per diem for their time at the Capitol. However that does not mean the session is over. The current focus at the Capitol is the state budget. The Legislature has until June 30 to develop the budget for state fiscal year 2018, which begins July 1, 2017. All signals point to an end to the legislative session within the next two weeks.

In addition to budget discussions, there are proposals being discussed that affect the fees business pay when filing with the Secretary of State's office and fees hotel and food establishments and processing plants must pay for Department of Inspections and Appeals inspections. ABI is working to ensure the fees that are paid by businesses will improve the services businesses receive from the respective state agencies. For questions about pending budget and fee proposals, contact Jessica Harder,  jharder@iowaabi.org, or Nicole Crain,  ncrain@iowaabi.org

Progress continues on budget bills
Several budget bills have been introduced and moved through an initial legislative step. Here is the most recent status of the budget bills as of Thursday morning. The House and Senate Appropriations Committee both have full agendas and plan to take up several of the bills below this afternoon. 

Transportation (SF 497)  : Passed House and Senate, sent to Governor

Agriculture and Natural Resources (SSB 1195)  : Passed Joint Appropriations Subcommittee

Administration and Regulation (SF 507)  : Passed House Appropriations Committee and Senate  Appropriations Committee

Education (HSB 200)  : Passed House Appropriations Committee

Economic Development: Expected to be debated in House and Senate Joint Appropriations Subcommittee Thursday

Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund (RIIF) (HSB 204) : Passed out of House and Senate Joint Appropriations Subcommittee Thursday

Health and Human Services: The second largest budget bill, this bill is expected to be introduced in the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Thursday and is typically one of the last bills debated.

Standings: The end of session budget bill that includes policy provisions and more than $3 billion in funding has not yet been introduced. 

Tax credit overhaul expected to move forward Thursday
An amendment was released late Wednesday to  HSB 187, tax credit legislation that affects many of Iowa's existing tax credit programs. You can read the 30-page amendment  here. The amendment increases taxes for many Iowa businesses who take advantage of existing incentives. ABI has long stated that any reduction in credits should be a part of a comprehensive tax reform plan. At this time, there is no tax reduction that businesses would receive from the amendment and we continue to oppose the amendment.
A few highlights of the proposed amendment are, among other things:
  • lowers the cap of economic development tax credits from $170 million to $128 million
  • lowers the amount of the Research Activities Credit from 6.5 to 5.5 percent
  • eliminates refundability of Research Activities Credit, allows an eight year carryforward
  • allows refundability only for new businesses or claimants who have not previously claimed the research activities credit for up to five years
  • sunsets the High Quality Jobs program
  • lowers the renewable chemical tax credit
The amended bill could pass out of the House Appropriations Committee this afternoon. ABI Tax Committee members will receive an update after the committee meets. If you would like to join the Tax Committee and receive these updates, contact Michelle Vollstedt,  mvollstedt@iowaabi.org.

Legislation moving forward
As the end of session approaches, bills continue to move through the legislative process. The following bills saw action this week:

SF 260: Codifies common law and limits the duty of care for property owners as it concerns the liability of trespassers. The House passed this bill 96-0 on Monday. It has already passed the Senate.
ABI position: For
HSB 196: 
Makes minor changes and increases the flexibility for funds used in career and technical education (CTE) programs in schools. This bill is a clean-up from the CTE modernization legislation that was supported by ABI and passed the Legislature in 2016.
ABI position: Undecided

HSB 197 : Makes permanent the Property Assessment Appeals Board (PAAB). It also changes the burden of proof in property tax protests from the taxpayer to the assessor, provides for the assessor to reimburse the taxpayer if they win for their costs and adds taxpayers to the conference boards. The legislation is expected to pass out of the House Ways & Means Committee on Thursday and is eligible for floor debate early next week. Some amendments may be expected from the floor.
ABI position: Undecided

HF 314 : The bill adds a definition for "utility maintenance vehicle" and "utility services" to the Iowa Code. The House passed this Senate-amended bill 96-0 on Monday.
       ABI position: For

HF 69: The bill increases penalties for trespassing and makes the act a scheduled fine. The bill passed the House with a vote of 95-0. The Iowa Senate debated the bill on Thursday and two amendments were accepted. One amendment relates to when notice is considered to be given to a trespasser, and the other amendment deals with a peace officer's ability to arrest someone when they refuse to leave the property. The bill passed the Senate 44-5 and now goes back to the full House for their consideration of the bill as amended by the Senate.
ABI position: Undecided 
SF 506:  This is a bipartisan piece of legislation creating an expansive medical marijuana program in Iowa to treat many medical conditions and provide for in-state manufacturing and sale of medical marijuana. The Senate Appropriations Committee passed the bill Wednesday, and it is expected to advance out of the Senate Ways and Means Committee today. The bill will then advance to the Senate floor. It is uncertain the future of the legislation in the House. In press interviews, Rep. Clel Baudler (R- Greenfield) and Speaker of the House Linda Upmeyer (R- Clear Lake) both said the Senate bill is too expansive.
ABI position: Undecided

HSB 180: This bill will increase business filing fees for the Secretary of State's office to make them more in line with surrounding states. The fee money in the bill as amended in committee would go half to the general fund and half to the Secretary of State. ABI is working to ensure the fee money will go to assist businesses and enhance the technology used by the Secretary of State. The bill passed out of the House Ways and Means Committee and moves to the House floor.
ABI position: Undecided

Governor signs more than 30 bills this week
Gov. Terry Branstad continues to review and sign legislation. Gov. Branstad has seven days to act on legislation once it is sent to him unless the legislation is a budget bill, which he has 30 days to review. This week, Gov. Branstad signed several more pieces of legislation that will encourage growth in the private sector and increase competition among government construction projects. Click here learn more about bills that could impact business.

Unemployment rules proposed
Iowa Workforce Development has filed rules containing both technical and some substantive changes to revise several rules chapters pertaining to the unemployment system, including updates for use of electronic filing and payments, calculation of vacation pay, and changes to the schedule for repayment of overpayments. If you have feedback on these rule changes, please contact Jessica Harder, jharder@iowaabi.org.

Federal Spotlight: Iowa's federal elected officials hold district meetings
Congress is on recess until April 24, and during this time, Iowa's delegation is back in the state meeting with constituents. Congressional leaders have indicated they want to tackle major policy initiatives this year, including tax reform. It is important for business leaders to make sure your opinions are heard on how federal tax reform could affect you and your employees.

Find information on each lawmaker's meeting schedule below:
Sen. Chuck Grassley
Sen. Joni Ernst
Rep. David Young

Reps. Rod Blum, Steve King and Dave Loebsack do not have events listed on their websites, but you can contact their offices or follow them on social media to learn more. Engaging with your elected representatives at the state and federal levels is the best way to make sure your voice is heard.
From the Desk of...
Finding the Right Space in the Cloud: Things to Consider

Tim Ernst
Partner and ERP Practice Group Leader

Many companies are migrating to the cloud for good reasons with potential cost savings, increased flexibility, and greater ease of use at the top of the list. The thoughts toward migration typically arise when a company is running on an old version of hardware or software, upgrades are no longer available, support is going away and it is time to decide: do I purchase a upgraded version of what I have or is it time to look at what the cloud has to offer?

Companies need to consider several things when moving software or IT infrastructure to the cloud:
  • Public or private cloud? Rather than going with a public cloud configuration, some companies may decide to go with a private cloud, especially if the business load is predictable. If cost savings is high on the list, going with a public cloud may be the way to go, as storage costs are lower due to price competition in the marketplace.
  • Software as a Service (SaaS) software has now surpassed traditionally licensed software. Many companies are seeing a lot of benefits with SaaS as cost to purchase is lower and replacement cycles are much shorter, meaning it is easier to keep up with the latest versions of software available. SaaS applications are usually well suited for common operational functions such as accounting, employee and HR management, sales and customer management, etc. Keep reading...
Top News
Sukup to Acquire SBC Building Systems ( Successful Farming )  
Sukup Manufacturing is expanding its building product line with the acquisition of Pennsylvania-based SBC Building Systems. SBC is capable of creating and shipping up to 600 tons of complete steel buildings per week. 

Ralston named to EPIC Advisory Board (Iowa Women Lead Change)
ABI President Mike Ralston has joined the Advisory board for the EPIC Corporate Challenge (EPIC), a public-private partnership in support of Iowa women in leadership. It brings together Iowa businesses to formally commit to grow and retain women at all levels of company leadership, and other important goals. 

Agenda released for May SMART conference   (SMART Economic Development Caucus)
Now in its 32nd year, the Iowa SMART Economic Development Conference is Iowa's largest conference devoted to economic development. 
Governor's Club Sponsors