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Threats to Iowa’s economy in 2018


Briefly, what do you believe the biggest threat is to Iowa’s economy in 2018?

Zachary Mannheimer
principal community planner, McClure Engineering Co.
4 – improve slightly
Whether or not the Legislature can solve the water quality crisis, fund our school systems and balance the budget without falling into a partisan battle.

Ryan Peterson
president, Impact7G, Inc. 
4 – improve slightly
A stock market correction could lead to a significant decrease in consumer and business spending.

M.E. Miller
executive director, 50-50 in 2020
3 – stay about the same
Lack of skilled workers and an environment that will attract them to move to Iowa.

Michael Sadler
assistant vice president, CenturyLink
4 – improve slightly
The Iowa Legislature must take steps to further improve Iowa’s tax climate, making us competitive on both the corporate and individual side.

Lori Day
president, FocusFirst Inc. 
4 – improve slightly
Uncertainty has a destabilizing impact. Businesses are poised for growth; however, significant growth requires confidence in the urgency, competency and actions of the government sector to effectively and collaboratively solve increasingly complex challenges.

Tyler Dingel
senior vice president, CBRE|Hubbell Commercial 
4 – improve slightly
There are certain markets, commercial real estate segments, that are being overbuilt and creating a bubble. Investors need to do their homework before chasing returns based on past performance.

Kevin Lentz
president, Performance Marketing
4 – improve slightly
Our unpredictable president mainly — and a rudderless and leaderless Congress that is not sure whether to support him or run.

Kirk Leeds
CEO, Iowa Soybean Association
3 – stay about the same
Beyond the continuing challenges in agriculture, I think the biggest threat is some kind of international event impacting the global economy.

Bob Gagne
executive vice president/chief lending officer, Bank Iowa
3 – stay about the same
The continued poor agricultural economy, which impacts ag-related business and rural small town businesses. Also, multifamily developments have been expanded and may be overbuilt in larger metropolitan areas. If an economic downturn does develop the loosening of credit underwriting standards that has occurred the past two years may haunt the banking sector.

Steve Jacobs
president, BCC Advisers
4 – improve slightly
Potential for farm credit problems due to multiple years of low commodity prices.

Scott Berry
vice president, Stanbrough Realty
5 – improve dramatically
The lack of available and willing workforce, particularly in traditional hard labor jobs and high tech jobs.

Russ Frazier
president, Anawim Housing
3 – stay about the same
Without an available workforce that has access to affordable housing, transportation and other vital services our economy will most likely struggle to remain status quo.

Michael Helak
market president, U.S. Bank
4 – improve slightly
As a state, the economy is heavily dependent on agribusiness. Strong production, good demand, yet lower prices will continue through 2018, consistent with what we saw in 2017. Unexpected rapid rise in rates would be a detriment.

Kevin Pokorny
owner, Pokorny Consulting
3 – stay about the same
Insufficient state revenue to sustain needed services, and trade barriers to Mexico and Canada for ag products.

Michelle Book
CEO, Food Bank of Iowa
2 – regress slightly
The biggest threat to Iowa’s economy is the continued decline of rural prosperity.

Chris Sackett
managing partners, BrownWinick Law Firm
3 – stay about the same
A macro-economic downturn caused by crisis. The kind we cannot predict or control and therefore cannot effectively plan for.

Dan Corron
sales and leasing associate, Denny Elwell Co. 
2 – regress slightly
Politicians always talk about “jobs,” but what that number truly represents is: Do more or fewer people have money to spend? There is something to be said about the student debt issue. The economy has relied on the single- and double-income-no kids-population to buy houses, cars, and have some discretionary spending but they are drowning in debt. They have jobs, but they don’t have money to spend.


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