This week is funnel week at the Capitol, the busiest week of session. It’s been a flurry trying to vote bills out of subcommittees and full committees. If a bill is not voted out of committee before funnel week, it cannot be debated on the House floor. There are two committees that are “funnel proof” meaning that they can still introduce and pass bills after funnel week. Those two committees are Ways & Means, and Appropriations. The next funnel week is March 18th.
House Passes Tax Bill
Yesterday, 2/16, the House voted to pass HF 2317 out of the House and sent it to the Senate. This was a priority of ours this session. I am proud to see this bill move forward. I was very much involved every step of the way moving this bill along, and I managed this bill on the House floor. Thanks to this bill, every Iowan will keep more of their hard-earned money in their pocket. Right now, Iowa is taking in more money than it needs to run state government. The state has over-collected from Iowa taxpayers and they deserve that money back. Thanks to the Governor’s leadership, and our conservative budgeting, Iowa’s economy remains strong and will be able to maintain growth even with this tax cut. We can fund this tax cut while still funding Iowan’s priorities. It is a simple and responsible flat tax. A flat 4% tax on individual income tax across the board is fair to everyone. It puts money back into the pockets of the taxpayers that paid it into the state in what I call an overpayment.
This bill reduces income tax for retirees, as it makes all retirement income tax free. The hope is that it helps keep Iowa on the radar as a place to retire and make as their place of residence. If these folks stay in Iowa, they will continue to contribute to the Iowa economy, as well as be a part of their local community activities.
Board of Educational Examiners Reform
This week, the House Education Committee advanced a proposal to reform the Board of Educational Examiners’ procedure in handling complaints made against teachers and administrators, particularly complaints of child abuse. We have been made aware of many cases of teachers or administrators with very serious complaints filed against them not be reprimanded appropriately by the BOEE. Teachers with these allegations leveled against them often have no record of a complaint attached to their license. And even in cases where the allegations are found to be true, teachers have had their licenses reinstated after a short period of time, when those teachers do not belong in the classroom ever again. We know the vast majority of teachers are great people who are doing great work for our students. But there must be a system in place to remove the ones that are harming our children. The system for protecting our kids and ensuring their safety in school is clearly broken. We are working on a number of reforms to fix it.
I will be having a forum at Anamosa Library on February 25th at 12:00-1:00 pm