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Past NFIB/Iowa Legislative Victories

Author: Tony Malandra Date: August 19, 2010

2010 NFIB/Iowa Victories

Defeated legislation proposing an end to Iowa’s right-to-work laws
For over 60 years Iowans have enjoyed the right to work at any job without having to first join a labor union. While many feel this law is common-sense, organized labor will attack this law and weaken it allowing unions to garnish wages even if you are not a member.

Stopped additional health-insurance mandates, keeping healthcare premiums low
A health-insurance mandate is a legislative requirement that an insurance company or health plan cover specific healthcare providers, benefits, or patient populations. While mandates make health insurance more comprehensive, they also make it more expensive. In some markets, mandated benefits increase the cost of health insurance by as much as 45 percent. According to a study conducted by the Association of Health Insurance Plans, as many as one in four individuals who are without coverage are uninsured because of the cost of state health-insurance mandates. NFIB succeeded in preventing the passage of any costly new mandates.

Defeated legislation expanding unemployment compensation benefits
NFIB worked to defeat legislation that would have expanded unemployment benefits to an employee if he or she were forced to leave employment because their spouse was transferred to another area with the spouse’s employer.  The proposal would have given the Labor Commissioner the power to decide on a case-by-case basis what “forced” means.

Stopped legislation requiring all employers to offer paid sick leave to all employees
NFIB successfully defeated a bill requiring all employers to offer paid sick leave to all employees including part-time employees. This is good news for employers as the original bill called for 5.54 hours of paid sick leave for 40 hours worked. No other state in the union has passed a similar bill and thankfully Iowa falls in that category.

Defeated legislation that would have created a new enjoyment of life category in certain lawsuits, increasing insurance liability costs
NFIB worked to defeat legislation that would create a new enjoyment of life category in certain lawsuits. The impact would be an increase in general liability insurance for all businesses.  Some estimates claim a $1,200 increase for a typical small business. Small businesses in Iowa do not need higher liability insurance costs

Stopped unnecessary increases in public construction projects
NFIB successfully defeated legislation designed to create state mandated wage and benefits packages for all public construction projects. These mandates would increase the cost to contractors as well as property tax payers.

2009 NFIB/Iowa Victories

Defeated legislation proposing an end to Iowa’s right-to-work laws

For over 60 years, Iowans have enjoyed the right to work at any job without having to first join a labor union.  While many feel this law is common sense, organized labor will attack this law and weaken it allowing unions to garnish wages even if you are not a member.

Stopped additional health-insurance mandates, keeping healthcare premiums low

A health-insurance "mandate" is a legislative requirement that an insurance company or health plan cover specific healthcare providers, benefits or patient populations. While mandates make health insurance more comprehensive, they also make it more expensive. In some markets, mandated benefits increase the cost of health insurance by as much as 45 percent. According to a study conducted by the Association of Health Insurance Plans, as many as one in four individuals who are without coverage are uninsured because of the cost of state health-insurance mandates. NFIB succeeded in preventing the passage of any costly new mandates.

Defeated legislation that proposed adding an annual cost-of-living increase to the minimum wage

NFIB successfully fought to keep automatic annual increases to the minimum wage from harming small businesses.  This legislation would only make the current minimum wage law worse.

Defeated legislation expanding unemployment compensation benefits

NFIB worked to defeat legislation that would have expanded unemployment benefits to an employee if he or she were “forced” to leave employment because their spouse was transferred to another area with the spouse’s employer.  The proposal would have given the Labor Commissioner the power to decide on a case-by-case basis what “forced” means.

Defeated legislation creating wage and benefits mandates for construction projects

NFIB successfully defeated legislation designed to create state mandated wage and benefits packages for all public construction projects.  These mandates would increase the cost to contractors as well as property tax payers.

Worked to cut taxes for seniors, saving Social Security recipients $118 million and providing an incentive for retirees to stay in Iowa

NFIB worked to pass a phase-out of the Iowa state income tax for Social Security recipients, thus leaving $118 million that would otherwise have gone to the government in the pockets of senior citizens. This law also provides an incentive for retirees to remain in Iowa.

Defeated a minimum wage hike, saving jobs and keeping payroll costs down

NFIB/Iowa helped turn aside an effort to raise the state's minimum wage by as much as $2 per hour over the federal minimum, which could have impacted not only those businesses paying lower wages, but all Iowa businesses due to the inflationary upward pressure on wages earned by all workers in the state.

Defeated new health care mandates, saving businesses hundreds of millions of dollars in health insurance premiums

NFIB defeated a major effort to vastly expand last year's limited mandate on mental health to include a requirement that employers also cover costs for employee alcohol and drug abuse treatments. Defeat of this measure saved Iowa businesses hundreds of millions of dollars in additional health insurance premiums.

2.7 percent drop in workers' compensation premiums

A recent Supreme Court opinion allowed some workers to essentially "double dip" when collecting workers' compensation benefits. At the urging of NFIB/Iowa, the Legislature reinstated the "apportionment" of payment for injuries to assure that workers were not collecting twice on old injuries. This resulted in a 2.7 percent cut in workers' compensation premiums, saving over $14 million for Iowa businesses.

Blocked new taxes on business services

Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack proposed adding new services to those subject to the state sales tax, including accounting, auditing, computer rental, leasing and programming, architecture and engineering, tax return preparation, credit reporting, collections and more. NFIB convinced legislators it was really a tax on those small businesses which must go outside the company to purchase those services; estimated savings: over $60 million.

Fought for Section 179 expensing on state taxes

Thanks to NFIB, Congress passed legislation allowing business to expense up to $100,000 of new equipment purchases per year. To save money, the Iowa Legislature at first refused to "couple" with these revised federal tax code provisions, which meant not only lost tax savings but also the expense of keeping two sets of books. However, small-business owners can now take this expensing allowance on both their federal and state tax returns.

Stopped minimum wage increase

Although most businesses pay more than the minimum wage, any minimum wage hikes push salaries upward across the board. These inflationary pressures result in layoffs and higher levels of unemployment. NFIB/Iowa has been successful in stopping several attempts to raise this starting wage, believing wages are best set by free markets.

Defeated new health mandates

Special interest groups come to the Legislature asking them to mandate various benefits you must provide to your employees. NFIB/Iowa has stopped mandates for health-care coverage for mental illness, alcohol and substance abuse and, in the past, even mandates on lunch hours, coffee breaks and how employers assign overtime hours.

Defeated expansion of sales tax to new services

NFIB/Iowa worked overtime to kill Governor Tom Vilsack's proposal to apply the sales tax to several services used by small businesses. 

Health insurance mandates defeated

NFIB/Iowa was again successful in beating back efforts to mandate that employer-paid health insurance cover treatments for mental illness, alcohol and substance abuse which could have resulted in a double digit increase in premiums.

$250,000 cap on medical malpractice awards for non-economic damages

In an effort to control small business health care costs, NFIB joined health care providers in passing a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages such as pain and suffering for medical malpractice cases only to see it vetoed by Governor Tom Vilsack.

Amendment requiring a vote of the people prior to state tax increases

NFIB/Iowa added the powerful voice of small business to push for passage of a proposed amendment to the Iowa Constitution requiring a vote of the people before any major state tax increase can take effect. Having passed the 2004 Legislature, it must again receive legislative approval next session before going to a ratification vote of the people in 2006.

Defeated attempts to borrow millions for the Iowa Values Fund

NFIB continued its strong opposition to using the state's bonding authority to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars for the Grow Iowa Values Fund which would go for a collection of questionable government economic development programs.  NFIB believes free enterprise system is better at picking economic winners and losers than government bureaucrats using your hard-earned tax dollars. Would include tax increases on anyone.

VICTORY: 2002 -- NFIB/Iowa continues its success in defeating legislative efforts to mandate that all employer-paid health insurance cover treatment of mental conditions, alcohol and substance abuse, a mandate that could increase premiums by more than 10 percent.

VICTORY: 2002 -- NFIB continues to fight any increase in state sales or income taxes as an answer to the state's fiscal problems. Like the state's farmers and small-business owners, NFIB/Iowa believes the state needs to tighten its belt and live with what it's got.

VICTORY: NFIB successfully turned back legislative efforts to mandate that all employer-paid health insurance policies cover mental disorders as well as alcohol and substance abuse treatments which could have increased premiums by over 10 percent.

 

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