Capitol Update Week 11

House Republicans Commitment to Iowa Veterans

As we continue to move through the session, House Republicans continue to work on mainstream bills that are a priority for Iowans, including the Home Base Iowa plan.

This package of legislation is designed to attract veterans back to Iowa and ensure they have the opportunities they need to be successful when they return.

Military Pension Income Tax Exemption: Fully exempt military pensions from state income tax.

Survivor Benefits Income Tax Exemption: Fully exempt military survivor benefits from state income tax.

Occupational Licensure: Directs Iowa’s occupational licensing boards to adopt rules allowing credit for military training and experience in the licensing process.

Hiring preference: Allows private sector employers to grant a preference in hiring and promoting veterans.

Plate fees: Eliminates the special plate issuance fees charged for plates associated with military service.

Monitor credits: Requires community colleges and universities to file reports on the amount of credits they are giving veterans for their service in the military.

County Veterans Affairs: Helps County Commissions of Veterans Affairs keep veterans records confidential as well as improving the policies dealing with the care and maintenance of veteran’s graves.

On Wednesday, the House passed the bill, 93 to 2, and sent it to the Senate.

Iowa’s Income Growth Ranks Tenth Highest

Iowa’s rate of personal income growth grew to the ninth-highest in the county between 2012 and 2013, according to a report released Tuesday. In those years, Iowans’ personal income grew $139 billion—representing a 3.2 percent increase from 2012. But the state also experienced a 0.6 percent decline in incomes during the first three months of 2013 as farm incomes slipped under falling crop prices. Other Midwestern states experienced a similar decline. Iowa still ranks 22nd in per capita income, sitting right at $45,000 per person, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. The national average is $44,543. Connecticut has the highest per capita income at $60,847.

The bureau’s report says that the national income growth rate slowed between 2012 and 2013, dropping nearly two points. North Dakota had the highest income growth in 2013 at 7.6 percent. The top ten states are as follows:

1-North Dakota (7.6 percent)

2-Utah (4 percent)

3-Idaho (3.7 percent)

4-Texas (3.7 percent)

5-Oregon (3.5 percent)

6-Colorado (3.4 percent)

7-Oklahoma (3.3 percent)

8-Washington (3.2 percent)

9-Iowa (3.2 percent)

10-Nebraska (3 percent)

Week 11 Recap

The Dyersville Chamber of Commerce visited the Statehouse on Tuesday. I met with Chamber members and business owners. Denise Stillman gave an update on the current status of the Field of Dreams.

Rep. Nancy Dunkel, Sen. Tod Bowman and I met with community leaders from Dyersville: Karla Thompson, Denise Stillman, Ann Cannon and Lisa Maiers.

Rep. Nancy Dunkel, Sen. Tod Bowman and I met with community leaders from Dyersville: Karla Thompson, Denise Stillman, Ann Cannon and Lisa Maiers.

On Wednesday Governor Branstad signed the corn checkoff bill. It allows the corn checkoff board to raise the checkoff cap. Under the bill, the cap can be raised one cent with a referendum vote during the next five years. After five years, the cap can be raised another cent, totaling three cents. The raise must be voted on by the corn producers in order to take effect. To clarify, the bill simply allows the cap to be raised. The corn producers have to vote to actually raise it. The bill also creates an Iowa Corn Checkoff Task Force. I’m happy the Governor has signed the legislation.

This week the House began to pass budget bills on the floor as we brought up the Judicial Branch budget. This budget funds Iowa’s court systems throughout the state. The budget appropriates $174,586,612 in General Fund dollars for the Judicial Branch. This is an increase of $5,899,865 over FY 2014. It also appropriates $3,100,000 for the jury and witness revolving fund. It adds language stating it is the intent of the General Assembly that the Judicial Branch emphasize the expansion of family treatment courts on a statewide basis.

Next week the House will debate the Agriculture & DNR budget and the Justice budget which funds Iowa corrections and law enforcement. The Standings budget and Health & Human Services budget are expected to pass out of Appropriations committee next week also. These are the six budget bills that originate in the House. The other four budget bills originate in the Senate. At this time, the Senate hasn’t passed any of their four out of committee.

I will continue to stick to my principles of not spending more than the state takes in, not intentionally underfunding entitlements, I won’t use one-time money for ongoing expenses and I will return money back to the taxpayers.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns about these topics or any others please feel free to contact me by e-mail at lee.hein@legis.iowa.gov or by phone at (515) 281-7330.

Sincerely,

Rep. Lee Hein

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