Capitol Update: Week 7

Senate Leadership Dragging Feet on Section 179 Coupling

Early in the session the House passed a bill coupling Iowa Tax Code with the Federal Standard, Section 179 for the next year. The bill passed with broad bipartisan support in both the Ways and Means Committee and on the House Floor.  Section 179 Coupling has always moved quickly and smoothly through both Chambers and on to the Governor’s desk with broad bipartisan support.

This year similar bipartisan support remains in both the House and the Senate. What is different now is that the Majority Leader in the Senate, Senator Mike Gronstal, and the Senate Ways and Means Committee Chair, Senator Joe Bolkcom has shown little to no desire to work on this issue.  Governor Branstad has given vocal support of the Coupling and has said that he will sign the Coupling bill if it gets to his desk.

Personally, I think the Senate Leadership’s concern is that they will have less taxpayer money to spend. What they forget is that the drivers of state economic growth, small businesses, are feeling the slowdown even more acutely than the state government.  If you are concerned about your state tax bill this year especially with regards to Section 179 I encourage you to email both of the Senators listed above.  I am confident that if the Senate is allowed a vote on the matter we will see Section 179 Coupling on the Governor’s desk.

Revenue Estimating Conference Meeting Set for March 16

The spring meeting of the Revenue Estimating Conference has been set. The three-member panel will convene on Wednesday, March 16 at 10 AM.  The meeting will be held in the Supreme Court Consultation Room (Room 102).  At that time, the panel will review and revise its estimates for FY 2016 and FY 2017 state revenue.  For the first time, the REC will issue an initial revenue projection for FY 2018.

If the REC were to lower its revenue forecast for FY 2017, the Legislature would be bound to use that figure in developing the budget for next year. The estimate will also incorporate the revenue changes that resulted from the Federal tax extenders bill passed in December, after the REC had met.

News from District 96

This week the House saw a lot of bills pass the House and from here they will go to the Senate. We passed a majority of bills that had bipartisan support that are good for Iowa.

This week I was excited to be joined by Jones County 4-H members who asked a variety of questions about the Legislative Process. One of the topics we discussed was “why can’t we print more dollars instead of raising taxes,” which led to a good discussion on fiscal responsibility and economics.

I met the Young Cattlemen Association who will someday be leaders of the Cattlemen Association.   I can say this with confidence as they understand issues relating to the beef industry and I was also impressed with their understanding of the Water Quality Issue.

I also had a chance to welcome a group from Tuskegee University. George Washington Carver, renowned researcher from Iowa State University, worked at Tuskegee after leaving Iowa.  They gave us a brief update on research taking place at Tuskegee and their partnerships with Iowa State.

 

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