Tools + Policy Efforts for a Strong Economy in DSM
I had the privilege to serve on a panel for the Public Policy Issue Forum on Economic Development moderated by Deanna Triplett, Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA). The following panelists discussed the relationship between economic tools and policy.
Chris Costa, Knapp Properties
- Drew Kamp, Professional Developers of Iowa
- Carrie Kruse, City of Des Moines
Economic Development Tools
As an organization, the Greater Des Moines Partnership focuses on policies that are paramount to a strong economy, including recruitment and retention of business and talent throughout Iowa. I discussed how the City of Des Moines uses tax-increment financing (TIF) as a tool to partner on projects that will benefit the city. Every development project is unique and will have its own set of challenges and financial needs, but TIF is a primary way to incentivize specific economic outcomes and fill identified financial gaps to move projects forward. Tax abatement programs also help make development competitive on a national level. Public-private partnerships have also served as successful models to really elevate the impact and public benefits of development projects across our State making programs like Destination Iowa and the Iowa Reinvestment Act vitally important to growing and strengthening our local economies.
Kamp said growth through Professional Developers of Iowa opens dialogue and educates on priorities and policy, essentially becoming a resource, for key issues like property tax, prior to the upcoming legislative session. Legislative roundtables, bi-weekly calls and off-week emails keep information flowing to members of PDI. Leadership forums leverage people throughout the state as well.
At Knapp Properties, Costa said elected officials have a big impact on making progress on projects and ideas. Incentives like the New Markets Tax Credit, Workforce and Housing Tax Credits all benefit economic projects and help determine whether they can move ahead.
Potential Policy Changes
According to the panelists, potential policy changes needed include:
Increased flexibility on the use of TIF for residential development (it is currently limited in economic development TIF districts to 10-years and could be more flexible)
- Maintaining existing flexibility of TIF law for municipalities
- Multi-residential and residential property code clarification for Self-Supported Municipal Improvement District (SSMID) tax levies
- Destination Iowa investments made permanent for placemaking/game-changing projects
- Local opportunities: port authorities, medical malpractice, sanitary improvement districts
Watch the entire Public Policy Forum below:
The Partnership's Public Policy team engages with local, state and federal officials to create public policy that generates economic growth, business prosperity and talent development in Greater Des Moines (DSM). The Partnership is a nonpartisan organization.