Report, Week 4

Iowa House of Representatives
State Representative

Lee Hein

Address: State Capitol, Des Moines, IA 50319
Phone: (515) 281-7330
follow on Twitter @iahouserepubs

Income and Property Tax Relief Measures on the Move

House File 4, which calls for a 20% across the board cut to individual income tax rates, was unanimously approved by subcommittee last week. The last major tax relief measure signed into law was a 10% across the board cut in 1997.

According to a study by the Tax Foundation, Iowa is ranked in the bottom ten for individual income tax rates. Iowa received low scores due to high rates and a progressive bracket structure.

According to the Tax Foundation these states have the worst business climates: CA, MN, IA, OH, NY, NC, MD, NJ, RI, CT

According to the Tax Foundation study these ten states have the best tax climates: MT, AK, NV, WY, SD, IN, NH, TX, FL, DE

States that do not impose an individual income tax received high scores, as well as states that have a flat, low tax rate with few deductions and exemptions. States that scored poorly have complex, multiple rate systems.

The bill was approved on a bipartisan vote in full committee and now moves to the floor of the house.

House Study Bill 41, which establishes a school district property tax relief supplement for Fiscal Year 2012, was also approved on a bipartisan vote in full committee and will move to the floor of the house.

The previous two legislatures have not fully-funded allowable growth, thus pushing the burden to Iowa property tax payers. If the House passes zero percent allowable growth while fully-funding it, there still is property tax impact of $70 million.

Of that $70 million, $47 million of the increase would come from the budget guarantee. This bill would address the budget guarantee portion and protect Iowa property taxpayers from the full increase. The budget guarantee last year totaled $25 million, and the increase for FY 2012 is projected to be $22 million for a total of $47 million.

The Department of Management will notify each school district the amount they will receive and an appropriation will be made from the general fund. In addition, school districts that receive a property tax relief supplement are prohibited from levying additional property taxes, and the money must be used in the same manner and purpose that property taxes would have been used for.

Federal Health Care Law Ruled Unconstitutional

The much-anticipated ruling of a Florida court in the multi- state challenge to the federal health care reform law arrived on Monday. The Florida court threw out the entire law and

put the Obama administration‟s plans for implementation into question.

As many legal experts anticipated, Judge Roger Vinson found that the law‟s provision requiring all Americans to have health care coverage violated the Constitution‟s limits on federal power over commerce. But these same experts were surprised that the judge focused on a factor that has not been as prominent in the discussion over the individual mandate – regulating inactivity.

Vinson found that the law was setting up federal regulation of inactivity, in this situation the decision by Americans to not purchase health insurance or sign up for Medicaid. Judge Vinson made an interesting analogy in discussing his belief that Congress‟s actions went beyond the founders‟ intent:

It is difficult to imagine that a nation which began, at least in part, as the result of opposition to a British mandate giving the East India Company a monopoly and imposing a nominal tax on all tea sold in America would have set out to create a government with the power to force people to buy tea in the first place.

The Hudson ruling had found the individual mandate was unconstitutional, but allowed the rest of the bill to move forward. To the surprise of many legal scholars, Vinson threw out the whole law, because the bill lacked a severability clause.

Without the severability clause, Judge Vinson ruled that the unconstitutionality of the individual mandate rendered the whole bill unconstitutional. While Vinson threw out the whole bill, he did not issue an injunction to stop the federal government and the states from implementing the provisions of the bill. This means the Obama administration is free to continue implementation of the bill.

The decision has created confusion amongst the states as to their next move. In Wisconsin, Attorney General JB Van Hollen has said for his state the federal law is “dead.” But Wisconsin governor Scott Walker has been silent about the ruling. In other states, officials continue to move forward with implementation.

Governor Releases Plan for Iowa Partnership for Economic Progress

On Monday, Governor Branstad released his proposal to reorganize the current Department of Economic Development. The new plan, called the Iowa Partnership for Economic Progress, creates a new public-private collaboration.

The Economic Progress Authority is the „public‟ portion of the public-private collaboration. The Authority would take the place of the current department and would assume all duties and responsibilities. This includes the ability to receive appropriations from the General Assembly, to provide advice and services for the purpose of economic development, and to make awards of financial assistance.

The Economic Progress Corporation is the „private‟ portion of the public-private collaboration. The new Corporation will be a nonprofit that qualifies as a 501 (3) (c) under Federal law and a 504 under Iowa law. The Corporation is not to be considered an agency, department or administrative unit of the state. This also means that the Corporation cannot receive appropriations from the General Assembly. The Corporation is being established so that donations and bequests qualify as tax deductible under federal and state income tax laws.

The Economic Progress Board is the third component of the new arrangement. The Board is to be chaired by either the Governor or the Lieutenant Governor and contains seven other voting members who are from the private, for-profit sector of the economy. These members are appointed by the Governor, confirmed by the Senate, and will serve four year terms. This Board also acts as the governing body for the Authority as well as the board of directors of the Corporation.

Recap of Week 4

Being away from home this week has been especially challenging. With the weather as it has been I know that there is plenty of work that I could have been doing on the farm. Taking care of livestock has always been a passion of mine and I look forward to returning to the farm this weekend.

In the House I voted in favor of the bill allowing Iowans to vote on the definition of marriage. I also voted in favor of a bill protecting Iowans from the mandate and fines of the new national healthcare law which requires individuals to purchase health insurance or face penalties from the gov‟t.

This Saturday, I will be meeting with the Iowa Education Association in Dubuque for a breakfast forum. On Saturday, Feb 12, I will be attending a forum with the Jones County Farm Bureau in Olin from 9am–10am. The event will be held at Selma‟s Cafe and is open to the public. Please come with any comments, questions or concerns you may have about agriculture or any other issues affecting the state.

As always, you can contact me at or (515) 281-7330. Also, if you are ever in Des Moines make sure you stop by the Capitol to visit.

Sincerely, Lee Hein

Report, Week 3

Iowa House of Representatives

State Representative

Lee Hein

Address: State Capitol, Des Moines, IA 50319

Phone: (515) 281-7330



follow on Twitter @iahouserepubs

Governor to Unveil Proposed Budget, Budget Reform Bill Approved by Committee

On Thursday, January 27, Gov. Branstad was set to unveil his budget recommendations. One of the key provisions will be changing the budget process to a biennial (two-year) budget.

The Governor believes that approving a biennial budget will give Iowans more predictability in budgeting and limit the growth in state government expenditures. In order to accommodate the Governor, House Republicans have proposed House File 1, which reforms the state budgeting process.

The original bill was part of the House Republicans’ budget reform plan which was released in September 2009. It requires a zero-based budgeting concept to review all state programs and allow for the elimination or review of every single item of state spending every five years. This will allow the Governor and Legislature to prioritize limited tax revenue to the most important functions of state government.

The amendment approved by the Committee added the following budget reforms:

 Requires the Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) to set estimates for the current fiscal year and the next two fiscal years in order to approve a biennial budget.

 Limits the Governor’s transfer authority to one-tenth of one percent of the budget (roughly $6 million in FY 2012).

 Requires the REC to use an average of the past 7 years plus inflation in order to set its new estimates. Also establishes an expenditure limitation for gambling receipts.

 Provides that unclaimed property and forfeited proceeds be deposited into the Cash Reserve Fund (since it is one-time money).

 Creates a new provision-if revenue drops below 98 percent of the previous year, the Cash Reserve Fund can be used to fund expenditures, not to exceed 25 percent of the balance of the CRF.

 States that in the event of an across the board cut, the collective bargaining agreements will be renegotiated to prevent teacher layoffs.

 Requires the Legislature to set K-12 allowable growth in the odd-numbered sessions. The growth for the upcoming fiscal year would be set in the first 30 days; the growth for the second fiscal year would be set prior to the conclusion of the odd-numbered session.

HF 1 was approved by the Committee on a 15-8 vote. This bill attempts to smooth out revenue growth by eliminating the peaks and valleys of revenue growth and revenue drops. It also puts limits on the Governor’s transfer authority. Approving two years of spending makes it even more pressing to put limits on what a governor can transfer. The bill puts reforms in place to lessen the reliance on one-time funds and attempts to prevent large across the board cuts.

House Republicans support the Governor as he attempts to give the taxpayers a seat at the table and align ongoing spending with ongoing revenue.


Securing the Blessings of Liberty House Starts on Health Care Freedom Act

On Monday, the House Commerce Committee took the first step in responding to Iowans’ opposition to the federal health care reform bill by passing a bill that would prevent

citizens from being required to purchase government- approved health insurance.

The House Commerce Committee on Monday approved House File 111. The bill asserts the state’s rights under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution, which limits the power of the federal government. The focus of this is the

―individual mandate‖ – a requirement that in 2014 all Americans must have government-approved health care coverage or pay a penalty.

House File 111 provides that Iowans have the right to choose private health care systems or private health care plans. The bill also states that no law can interfere with an Iowan’s right to pay for lawful medical services and that no law can impose a fee, tax, or penalty upon an Iowan for declining or failing to participate in any particular health care system or plan.

The language of House File 111 is based on state law in Virginia. That state challenged the federal law last spring. In December, a federal judge ruled that the individual mandate requirement violated the Tenth Amendment’s limitation on federal power. Central to the case was the Virginia law asserting the state’s power over health insurance law.

House File 111 passed out of the Commerce Committee on a bipartisan vote of 17-6. It will be eligible for debate on the House Floor next week.

Iowa’s Unemployment Rate Falls to 6.3 Percent

New numbers released this week from the Iowa Workforce Development show that the unemployment rate fell to 6.3% in December. November’s unemployment rate had been at 6.6%. The raw number of unemployed in December was 106,500. The current national unemployment rate is at 9.4%. Iowa is better situated than some other states, but the unemployment rate is still higher than pre-recession rates. For instance, Iowa’s rate just three years ago was at 3.7%.

The 6.3% is a statewide number, but not all counties have been affected equally. Allamakee and Lee Counties are the ones that have been hardest hit by unemployment with each county being at 9.5% and 10.1%, respectively. The far northwestern counties of Lyon and Sioux have the lowest unemployment rates in the state at 3.4% and 3.7%.

Requiring Voter IDs Protects Iowa Elections

Iowa will soon be one step closer to secure elections. House File 95 requires photo IDs for all voters—including election-day registrants and in-person absentee voters. Specifically, all voters are required to show a photo ID that was either issued by the United States Government or the state of Iowa.

Typical US Government IDs include passports, military IDs, tribal identification, and federal employee cards. Proper identification issued by the state of Iowa would include driver’s licenses, non-operator’s licenses, or state employee badges. Any of these pieces of identification require an expiration date that is not expired at that time after the most recent general election.

In order to aid voters in obtaining proper identification for voting purposes, certified copies of birth certificates will be available at no charge at all county recorder’s offices as well as at the Iowa Department of Public Health. The requester must execute an affidavit saying they are requesting the copy of their birth certificate for voting purposes. The voter will then be able to go to the Department of Transportation and get a free photo identification card for voting purposes.

The purpose of House File 95 is to protect the integrity of Iowa elections. Asking voters to provide proof of identity will ensure that only votes properly cast are counted. The bill provides for situations in which a provisional ballot would be proper. House File 95 is modeled after Indiana’s photo ID law. That law was challenged and eventually upheld by the United States Supreme Court in 2008 in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board.

Recap of Week 3

This week the Agriculture Committee heard from Bill Couse of Nevada about environmentally sound farming practices and learned about his crop and cattle feedlot operation that is a finalist for the National Environmental Stewardship Award. The Ag Committee also heard from Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Karey Claghorn, who discussed the condition of Iowa’s agriculture industry, local foods, programs related to conservation and education. I also visited with constituents from NICC and Jones County Substance Abuse.

On Thursday the house debated HF 95 which requires the presentation of a gov’t issued photo ID when voting. The House also debated HF 94 which sets up an on-line transparency database to show how tax dollars are being spent. I support and voted in favor of both bills which passed the full House. On Monday, January 31, from 6:30-8:45 p.m. the Capitol will be holding a public hearing on HJF 6 which would allow all Iowans to vote on the definition of marriage. The House will debate and vote on HJF 6 later next week.


Lee Hein


State Representative Lee Hein


State Representative Lee Hein, Iowa House District 31

eMail–>Lee Hein’s home<–eMail

eMail–>State Representative Lee Hein<–eMail


  • Returning the state to a physical, fiscal sound position by keeping expenditures below revenue levels.
  • Decentralizing control of school funding.
  • Working to stop placing requirements on school districts without allocating the associated funding. [Unfunded mandates]
  • Developing favorable business environments to retain quality jobs in the state and stop the brain drain.


  • Grew up in the Monticello community
  • Graduate of Monticello high school
  • Married to wife Jackie for 26 years
  • Two children: Amy graduated from Iowa State and enrolled in law school at University of Iowa. Ben a junior at Iowa State.


  • Completed two years at Iowa State
  • Assumed responsibility of the family farm at age 25.
  • Served on the Monticello School Board for nine years [5 years as president]
  • President of the Jones County Pork Producers
  • President of the Iowa Farm Business Association


  • Pork Producers and Cattlemen’s Association
  • Cedar Valley Farm Business Association
  • St. Matthews Church

Filing Candidate Papers at The Statehouse

I became a candidate for House District 31 because I have watched the level of spending by our state’s legislature increase at an alarming rate and you and I both know that can not continue. I have managed our family farm for over 25 years and the key to the success of that operation is that we never spent more than we took in. I served nine years on the Monticello School Board, five as President. The Monticello School District is in a sound financial position because we never spent more than we received in funding.

Lee Hein’s family preparing to march in the Monticello, IA July 4th parade.
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Lee Hein’s parade walkers preparing to march in the Monticello, IA July 4th parade.
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Lee Hein’s paraders in the Wyoming, IA July 4th parade.
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Holding Lee’s campaign banner are Curt Stewart, Lee Hein, and a supporter.