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Advocacy Articles

Chamber hosted Iowa’s Governor

The Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce hosted Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds for a luncheon Friday, January 12, 2018 from 12-1:00 p.m. The governor’s visit was part of the condition of the state tour with scheduled visits across Iowa.

Governor Reynolds serves as Iowa’s 43rd Governor. She is a former state senator and county treasurer and, prior to taking office on May 24, 2017, served as Iowa’s 45th lieutenant governor from 2011-2017.

“We were honored to have Governor Reynolds here in Dubuque,” said Molly Grover, President and CEO of the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce. “This was a great opportunity for members to engage with Iowa’s CEO!”

The luncheon was held at Hotel Julien Dubuque and was exclusive to Chamber members to attend.


Air Service Forum Luncheon

Members of Congress support Historic Tax Credit

Chamber President writes Sen. Grassley on HTC

Dear Senator Grassley,

On behalf of the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce representing 1200 members and 50,000 jobs in the Dubuque Area thank you so much for co-sponsorship of the Cassidy amendment.  Thanks to your leadership and advocacy the Historic Tax Credit was restored to 20% in the Senate Finance Committee tax reform bill which will prove economically beneficial to the cities and towns across Iowa and our nation.

As you know the Historic Tax Credit has been a transformational economic development tool for Dubuque.  We are hopeful that the tax reform bill with the HTC provision will be accepted by the House and we can continue to advance Iowa’s economic growth and prosperity.

We will be asking all our legislators for their support of the Senate version of HTC as the final bill is conferenced.

On a closing note, we cannot begin to express our gratitude for your hard-working, professional and talented staff.   They have been more than accommodating and helpful during this important process.

Our sincerest appreciation,

Molly Grover, President
Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce

Historic tax credit faces an uncertain future

For more than three decades, the federal Historic Tax Credit (HTC) has successfully implemented a national policy of preserving our historic resources. It is the most significant investment the federal government makes toward the preservation of our historic buildings.

Despite a proven track record of stimulating economic growth and preserving our architectural heritage, however, the historic tax credit faces an uncertain future. As pressure builds to reform the nation’s tax code, several influential tax reform proposals recommend a repeal of this essential credit.

The federal historic tax credit was not included in the Republican leadership’s outline for tax reform. Urge lawmakers to send a message to the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees: the historic tax credit must be retained in a reformed tax code.

Click below for more information and to watch a short video on the topic.

Protect Federal Historic Tax Credits

For more information:
Barry Gentry, Chamber Senior VP

Between 2002 and 2016, the Dubuque community has leveraged $34 million in Federal Historic Tax Credits to complete over $202 million in rehabilitation and reuse of its historic treasures, helping to revitalize much of Dubuque's downtown. The investment in redevelopment of Dubuque’s historic buildings has also created thousands of jobs in Dubuque, generated over $100 million in local, individual, and business net income and contributed over $20 million in tax revenue to local, state and federal coffers. There currently is over 1 million square feet of vacant and underutilized space in historic buildings in Dubuque that could be redeveloped. These much-needed redevelopment projects will not happen if the Federal Historic Tax Credit is eliminated.

  • The Dubuque Chamber realizes the importance of the Federal Historic Tax Credits and how it has created vibrancy in our city. 
  • The Chamber is hoping to compile a minimum of 70 letters to forward to Congressman Blum, who is helping to advocate for the protection and continuance of this very important economic tool.


Save Historic Tax Credits


WHEREAS, the State Historic Preservation and Cultural & Entertainment Tax Credit Program, also known as the State Historic Tax Credit Program (SHTC), in its current form, was enacted by the Iowa General Assembly in 2000 to attract capital to historic rehabilitation projects that help stimulate Iowa’s local economies; and

WHEREAS, the SHTC, in conjunction with the Federal Historic Tax Credit Program (FHTC), has been a powerful tool for driving economic development in the State of Iowa, in particular the Dubuque community; and

WHEREAS, the SHTC leverages three private dollars for every dollar of state support. SHTC projects are catalytic, generating additional real estate investment in nearby properties that spur an area-wide revitalization cycle. The SHTC also leverages hundreds of millions of dollars of funding from the FHTC that would not otherwise be utilized if the SHTC program did not exist; and

WHEREAS, the SHTC program, combined with the FHTC program, is a powerful tool that has led to the redevelopment of such vacant, blighted and/or underutilized buildings in Dubuque as the Cottingham & Butler Headquarters (former Stampfers/Security Building), the Town Clock Building, several buildings on Upper Main and the Old Main District, the Roshek Building, the Julien Hotel, Cooper Wagon Works, the Franklin School Apartments, Cathedral Square Apartments, CARADCO Building/Schmid Innovation Center, Novelty Iron Works, Linseed Lofts, the Riverview Apartments, the Francis Apartments and many others. Because of the FHTC, these buildings were returned to both full utilization and to the local tax rolls; and

WHEREAS, there remains over one million square feet of vacant or underutilized space in Dubuque buildings that need to be rehabilitated and that would qualify for the State Historic Tax Credit, including buildings on Main Street, Central Avenue, the Millwork District and the Dubuque Brewing and Malting Complex (former H&W terminal) on the far north side. Rehabilitation of most of these buildings and sites will not be financially feasible without the State Historic Tax Credit. 

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the City Council of the City of Dubuque in due regular and legal session convened, that the Dubuque City Council supports the State Historic Tax Credit program in its current form and urges Governor Reynolds and the Iowa Legislature to continue the State Historic Tax Credit program in its current form.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED by the City Council of the City of Dubuque in due regular and legal session convened, that the Dubuque City Council urges Senator Pam Jochum, Representative Charles Isenhart and Representative Abby Finkenauer to support the State Historic Tax Credit Program and to refrain from supporting any state tax reform proposal that alters or eliminates the State Historic Tax Credit Program.


Federal Historic Tax Credit Projects

A total of 257 Federal Historic Tax Credit projects received Part 3 certifications from the National Park Service between fiscal year 2002 through 2016, resulting in over $1 billion in total development. Data source: National Park Service, 2017

U.S. Chamber Responds to Court’s Preliminary Injunction Blocking DOL’s Overtime Rule

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – November 22, 2016

Contact: Blair Latoff Holmes
(202) 463-5682

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President of Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits Randy Johnson issued the following statement regarding the decision by the district court in Sherman, Texas to grant a preliminary injunction blocking the Department of Labor’s (DOL) new overtime regulation nationwide:

“We are very pleased that the court agreed with our arguments that the Obama administration’s new overtime rule was unlawful and stopped rule from taking effect on December 1. If the overtime rule had taken effect, it would have resulted in significant new costs – more than $1 billion according to the Congressional Budget Office – and it would have caused many disruptions in how work gets done. Furthermore, the rule would have reduced workplace flexibility, remote electronic access to work, and opportunities for career advancement. This is a great result.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.





Governor Terry E. Branstad « Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Contact: Governor’s Office 515-281-5211

(DES MOINES) – Today, Governor Branstad joined a coalition of 21 states and governors in filing a federal court complaint challenging the United States Department of Labor’s new overtime rule.  If implemented the new rule will more than double the minimum salary overtime threshold for public and private workers without Congressional authorization.  The rule will force many state and local governments to substantially increase their employment costs and services, including educational costs for students and parents.  Some governments may be forced to eliminate some services and even lay-off employees.  The complaint urges the court to prevent the implementation of the new rule before it takes effect, which is scheduled for December 1, 2016.

“The proposed rule would add $19.1 million of additional costs on the State of Iowa government and our public universities in the first year – a burden that would be carried by Iowa’s hard working taxpayers, parents and students,” Branstad said in comments submitted on the draft rule.  “Quite simply, the proposed rule would be an unfunded mandate upon states.”

On March 13, 2014, President Obama ordered the Department of Labor to revise the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime exemption for executive, administrative, and professional employees—the so-called “white collar” exemption—to account for the federal minimum wage.  On May 23, 2016, the Department of Labor issued the final new overtime rule.  It doubles the salary-level threshold for employees to be exempt from overtime, regardless of whether they perform executive, administrative, or professional duties.  After December 1, 2016, all employees are entitled to overtime if they earn less than $913 a week—including state and local government employees.  Additionally, the new rule contains a ratcheting mechanism to automatically increase the salary-level every three years without going through the standard rule-making process required by federal law.  Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Labor did not significantly address the State of Iowa’s concerns in the final rule and significant concerns remain about the rule’s impact on Iowa taxpayers and our institutions of higher education.

In addition to Iowa, other states and governors who joined this filing include: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.

The filed complaint can be read in its entirety here.