Executives urge Iowa lawmakers to tackle access to child care, housing
DES MOINES — The leaders of Iowa’s largest businesses are urging Iowa lawmakers to address the lack of affordable housing and child care in the state. Iowa Business Council executive director Joe Murphy says those are two key barriers to retaining and expanding Iowa’s workforce.
“The need for workers has never been more pronounced,” Murphy says. “We need to do everything we can to provide opportunities for moms and dads who are thinking about entering the workforce to make sure that they have a safe space and a safe place for their child to receive high quality child care.”
This summer, Governor Reynolds suggested she’s considering things like tax credits to companies that operate or create child care center. Murphy says the Business Council is not endorsing a specific proposal at this point.
“Whether it’s tax credits, whether it’s discounts on production materials, whether it’s trying to come up with a revolving loan fund for businesses to partner with communities — whatever it takes, we think that the access to high quality child care is one of the most critical points we can tackle this legislative session,” Murphy says.
The Business Council is supporting expansion of the workforce housing tax credit as well as more funding for the state housing trust fund. The fund this year will hand out $6.4 million worth of grants to finance local efforts to build affordable housing.
“The Business Council was founded in 1985 in the throes of the Farm Crisis and business leaders back then got together and tried to figure out ways in which they could how they could band together their intellectual capital, their monetary capital and any other capital, frankly, that they could to provide opportunities for Iowans to prosper,” Murphy says. ”
Murphy says business leaders know their employees are more productive when they have a safe, affordable place to live and a quality child care program to leave their kids while they work. One out of every six jobs in the state are tied to a company that’s involved in the Iowa Business Council. Executives from 23 of the largest businesses in Iowa serve on council.