With the first month of 2023 concluded, the Iowa Business Council’s (IBC) state legislative priorities are beginning to take shape. The IBC is a nonpartisan business association whose members represent some of Iowa’s largest employers. In total, the 21 members of the IBC account for more than 150,000 employees and more than $9 billion in payroll across Iowa.
In 2023, our state legislative priorities are aligned around our founding mission to enhance economic vitality for all Iowans. In total, our priorities reflect a path towards continued economic competitiveness that will lay the foundation for future economic opportunity.
While IBC priorities include longstanding and “traditional” business policy items, such as increasing our competitiveness in the tax code, we also take great care to consider what other areas the IBC should engage in that may surprise policy observers.
For the first time in our organization’s history, the IBC has elevated mental health as a top legislative priority. Our board recognized over the course of the pandemic that the mental health and wellness of Iowans should be an issue business leaders engage in as we work towards a healthy, thriving and growing workforce in Iowa. Specifically, the IBC is part of a large cohort of nonprofit stakeholders across the state working to identify policies to increase the supply of mental health professionals while simultaneously exploring innovative programs to recruit and retain practitioners. Examples include joining national mental health compacts, enhancing student loan repayment programs and exploring additional public funding mechanisms.
The IBC is committed to working with the entire General Assembly and the Governor in a nonpartisan way on efforts that increase our ability to become more competitive and create opportunities for Iowans. As we look to grow our total population and increase our economic expansion, the IBC’s legislative priorities provide a comprehensive way forward to future achievement.
2023 IBC legislative priorities include:
Competitive tax policy: The IBC will focus on the recent income tax reform legislation to ensure competitive tax policies extend to all types of Iowa businesses. The IBC will also work to make Iowa’s property tax system more competitive.
Mental health: The IBC recognizes the great strides the state has taken to increase mental health investment and services in recent years. This year, the IBC will work to capitalize on this momentum and partner with a broad coalition of stakeholders to work toward increasing the supply of mental health professionals in Iowa while also exploring public funding mechanisms that will enhance mental health service and quality.
Tort reform: The IBC supports overall tort reform efforts including medical malpractice caps and reasonable limitations on non-economic damages in civil cases.
Workforce initiatives: The availability of a talent pipeline is critical for long-term economic prosperity in Iowa. The IBC will continue to advocate for initiatives that grow Iowa’s workforce including work-based learning programs, child care and housing for all.
Joe Murphy is the president of the Iowa Business Council.