From the CEO: What legislative and policy issues matter most to you?
Thursday, September 21, 2017
It’s fall, the season of kaleidoscopic leaves, clashing football helmets … and legislative agendas?
That’s right. As bright as a homecoming queen’s smile, polished brochures listing every conceivable cut, rollback, expansion or extension come pouring out of industry groups, think tanks and action committees. Simultaneously, lawmakers and reporters in the know screw down expectations by reminding us that “there is a budget shortfall” and “it’s an election year.”
This is to the good. We are blessed to live in a Republic that provides unfettered access to elected officials. Yes, it’s noisy out there, but heard from the proper distance, all those shouts meld into a lovely chord.
The Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation has a unique part to play in the choir. Many legislative issues cut across all four of our counties: tax policy, water quality, education funding, highways and rail, and natural gas supply.
Simply raising these subjects on occasion with lawmakers may be insufficient. A coherent regional voice is needed. Toward that end, the Corridor recently sent a request for information to several Iowa-based lobbying firms. We want to know the cost to have a sustained presence in Des Moines and how we would measure impact.
A paid advocacy program could inure benefit to our business and government partners. The Corridor might, as appropriate, register support for positions taken by our members. Engaging government staffers on routine and recurring matters may also power influence at more critical junctures. Finally, there is the inarguable importance of networking. In a 24-7 social media world, a handshake and a familiar face are rare differentiators.
So, we throw a few questions out to members: What looming legislative and policy issues in our state are most important to you? Are there specific tax breaks to retain? Regulations to relax? And to what extent would this initiative broaden the Corridor’s value proposition for your organization? Send your thoughts to Kiley by emailing him.