Iowa House of Representatives
Address: State Capitol, Des Moines, IA 50319
Phone: (515) 281-7330
IOWA House Republican Newsletter
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Recap of Week 12
This week I had several visitors. Among them were members from both the DBQ and Jones County Farm Bureau, and the Dyersville Chamber of Commerce. This week was the 2nd funnel week. Any bills that haven’t passed on the floor of the House (with the exception of bills in Appropriations, Ways & Means, & Oversight committees) are dead for the session. The Ag committee met for the last time for the session. Looking back we passed some good bills in this committee and we will continue to work on ideas over the interim.
Last weekend I attended the ‘Re-Open Iowa for Business’ Rules and Regulations tour meeting in Dubuque. The event was very constructive and it was great to hear from constituents. On April 2nd, I will be hosting a public forum in Farley with Rep. Lukan. The event is being held at the Farley Memorial Hall from 8:30am – 9:30am. Please come with any questions, comments or concerns you may have.
As always, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (515) 281-7330. Also, if you are ever in Des Moines make sure you stop by the Capitol to visit.
Sincerely, Lee Hein
House Passes Department of Economic Development Reorganization
On Monday, the House passed HF 590. The bill, referred to as IPEP (Iowa Partnership for Economic Progress), reorganizes the Department of Economic Development into a new public Authority (Economic Development Authority), a private non-profit Corporation (Economic Development Corporation), and a vision board (Partnership for Economic Progress).
HF 590 went through a number of different forms, and was heavily worked on in subcommittee, committee, and the
House floor. A number of Republican and Democrat, amendments were accepted. The bill changes the status quo in regards to state economic development efforts. It also puts in place a number of safeguards, which include:
• mandating that the Authority Board have two individuals from each Congressional district
• requiring that members of the Authority Board and the Partnership Board receive Senate confirmation
• adding four legislative ex-officio members to the Authority Board
• prohibiting the Director of the Authority to receive any money or valuable thing outside of his/her salary
• requiring a report of all gifts or grants that the Authority receives
• prohibits an individual from concurrently being employed by the Authority and the Corporation
• providing for a two year cooling off period in which an individual working for the Authority cannot work for the Corporation for two years, and vice versa
• requiring an annual report of the Corporation be prepared to present to the Authority
• requiring an annual financial audit of the Corporation
• requiring an annual report of the Corporation be submitted to the Governor, General Assembly, and Auditor of State
• requiring an annual report of the Authority be submitted by the Director to the Authority
• requiring that deliberation or meetings of the Corporation board of director be conducted in accordance with Open Records and Open Meetings laws when the topics pertain to the performance of functions delegated by the Authority
• prohibiting dual representation of a company/corporation from being represented on both the Corporation Board and the Authority Board
• adding language at the request of the Treasurer, the Attorney General, and the Governor’s transparency advisor
• adding a requirement for the new Authority to adopt rules that prevent favoritism and pay-to-play tactics
• providing for a legislative review of the Authority in 2014 and a report of findings and recommendations in 2015
• adding the requirement that the Corporation submit its 990 form to the General Assembly
The new makeup of the economic development arm of government will allow for a more timely and flexible approaches to economic trends in Iowa.
House Republicans Unveil Conservative Spending Outline for FY 2013
During the campaign Governor Branstad promised to push for a biennial budget. House Republicans have heard that call and this week unveiled an austere budget for FY 2013.
Since FY 2013 is still 15 months out, House Republicans are taking a conservative approach to the state budget. The increase to the budget subcommittee areas is only 0.78 percent compared to the House Republican budget targets for FY 2012. If the December 2011 REC estimate allows for additional spending, it will allow for increases in priority areas during the 2012 session.
In addition, instead of using the bulk of the new revenue for new expenditures, the blueprint will fulfill commitments to the property taxpayers and fix budget problems left by the previous administration.
Of the total increase in expenditures, $60 million is used to shift notwithstandings from the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund (RIIF) to the general fund. The big ticket items are tuition replacement ($25 million), technology funding ($17.5 million), lake dredging ($8.6 million) and flood prevention ($3.3 million).
The targets also account for an additional $65 million to fully fund the property tax credits, which is dollar-for-dollar property tax relief. The credits – homestead, agriculture land and family farm, military and elderly disabled – haven’t been fully funded for over a decade. This will increase the total funding of the credits from $145 million to $210 million for FY 2013.
The last component is a built-in increase for Medicaid. Since Medicaid is a federal entitlement program, it must be funded at a certain level. The average increase for Medicaid (not counting the use of one-time funds or other funding sources) is about $45 million per year. The House budget targets build in $45 million for the FY 2013 increase with the knowledge that the number may need to be adjusted in 2012.
In total, general fund expenditures for FY 2013 will increase by $222.6 million compared to the House Republican FY 2012 budget targets, an increase of 3.77 percent. This conservative rate of growth will be criticized as not nearly enough. However, it represents the House Republican philosophy that a certain rate of growth is government is needed for priorities and the rest should be returned to the taxpayers.
House Republicans believe that the taxpayers should have a seat at the table and ongoing spending must be aligned with ongoing revenue to ensure that the budget is sustainable in the future.