The Rozenboom Report – February 22, 2018

by Ken Rozenboom

In the Legislature

With the first funnel date behind us, this week was full of floor debate. We passed a number of bills, most on a bipartisan vote, and sent them to the House for their consideration.

Senate File 2177 is an important bill for consumers, especially since the Equifax breach last year affected over one million Iowans. This bill removes the ability for consumer reporting agencies to charge a fee to freeze someone’s credit, another fee to temporarily unfreeze their credit, and a third fee to permanently unfreeze their credit. In the past this process could cost a consumer up to $66 in fees. Under this legislation these companies would have to provide this service to Iowans for free.

Additionally, the bill updates the code to reflect changes in technology so companies will now be required to allow consumers to ask for a freeze by mail, telephone, email, or through a secure online connection. If passed by the House and signed by the governor, it would be effective immediately.

Training Educators on Suicide Awareness

Sadly, suicide is the third leading cause of death for children ages 5-14 in our state. Teachers interact with our children almost daily, and SF2113 helps equip them with the tools to recognize the signs of suicide and depression, and helps keep our students safe.

This bill requires one hour of training for educators on suicide awareness when a teacher is renewing their license. It will help ensure those providing services to students are able to recognize the signs of depression and suicide in children, teens, and young adults.

Repealing an Old Statute

Senate File 2229 is an interesting bill because it repeals a statute, regarding mechanic’s liens, enacted in 1855. It was brought to our attention by constituents over the interim. This policy was no longer necessary due to changes in other provisions in later years. Bills like this one are a great example of some of the things we look into when we’re not in session and things our constituents bring up during those months.

Tax Relief for Iowa Families

Over the years Iowa’s tax code has become a collection of tax deductions, exemptions and credits. The result is that our state has the fourth highest top individual income tax rate in the nation (8.98%) and the highest corporate tax rate in the nation (12%).

On Wednesday of this week Senate Republicans revealed a significant tax reform plan, called Iowa Working Families Tax Relief Act. The goals of the plan are to reduce the tax burden on Iowa families and to simplify the tax code. The proposal cuts overall individual income tax rates by 30 percent, meaning that families will receive an average tax reduction of $1,000 a year.

This money can be saved for a college education. This money can be re-invested into your own business or a local business. This money can be put back into your community.

The plan modernizes Iowa’s sales tax plan to collect revenue from on-line shopping transactions that place an unfair tax burden our main street businesses, and it sunsets most tax credits over time. The reform plan eliminates federal deductibility and automatically couples to new federal tax code changes. The plan increases the pension for Iowa seniors from the current $6,000/$10,000 to $10,000/$20,000. Changing the tax code is a complicated matter, and this plan has many other provisions as well.

This proposal is the first step in the legislative process to re-write Iowa’s complex tax code. Certainly the House and Governor will weigh in on this legislation, and we recognize that public participation is critical to the process. The final legislation must be enacted in a thoughtful manner, and must be sustainable for state government. The proposal has passed out of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, and is now eligible for debate on the Senate floor.

Upcoming Forums

I will be at Eggs and Issues in Oskaloosa on Saturday, February 24 from 8:30 to 9:30. And next Saturday, March 3, I will be at Bridgeview in Ottumwa from 9:30 to 11:00.



Posted by on Feb 23 2018. Filed under Local News, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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