The Dickey Dispatch – April 15th, 2022

by Senator Adrian Dickey

As the 2022 session comes to a close, it has been a great success from passing historic tax relief to protecting girls’ sports, but more work remains to be done before session adjourns. One of those issues is addressing the workforce shortage affecting nearly every industry in Iowa. The governor introduced a key workforce bill several months ago that mirrored many of the components of the bill the Senate Labor and Business Relations Committee passed at the beginning of session. These bills addressed a number of updates to Iowa’s unemployment program.

One of the features was a one-week waiting period before benefits were awarded. This waiting period helps combat fraud, is consistent with policies used by labor unions during strikes, and is the law in 40 other states. Last summer media reports noted an estimated $87 billion in fraud occurred across the country in 2021 in the enhanced unemployment programs initiated during the pandemic. A one-week waiting period is a reasonable step to help combat that amount of fraud. The Senate passed the waiting period and other reforms to the program and the policy currently languishes in the Iowa House. As the chairman of the Senate Labor and Business Relations Committee, this legislation was the most important issue for me this year and I am hopeful the House will pass this bill in the upcoming weeks.

Another piece of the governor’s agenda the Senate adopted was her education reforms. For the last couple years parents have been more involved in their children’s education. They have seen suspect curriculum and want a clear and consistent path to engage with their school on the concerns they have. If those concerns cannot be addressed, then parents deserve to have choice in their children’s education. The Senate passed a bill making 10,000 scholarships available to students to attend a non-public school, with the balance of the state per pupil funding not included in the scholarship allocated to operation sharing functions commonly used in rural schools. The Senate also passed these reforms, and they too are languishing in the Iowa House.

Finally, state budget negotiations are a feature of the closing days of session. The Iowa House has passed all FY 2023 budgets bills and the spending in those bills is over $72 million more than the target set by the Senate and Governor Reynolds. The largest tax increase in Iowa history is workable because of the commitment to fiscal discipline state government has made over the last five years. It is imperative to remain fiscally responsible as these tax cuts are implemented to ensure reliable and sustainable funding increases to areas like law enforcement, mental health, and education.

For the past two years, I have been a part of some historical tax reduction bills with the intention to make Iowa more competitive and bring down high rates for Iowans. Last year we had our $1 billion property tax reduction bill and we followed that up this year with our historic 3.9% flat income tax cut bill. To preserve these hard earned tax reforms, this week I voted for and the Senate passed Senate Joint Resolution 2006. It is a proposal for a constitutional amendment requiring a super majority to implement new taxes or increasing the income tax rate for Iowans. Constitutional amendments are required to pass two consecutive general assemblies. If passed by the House this year, this bill would need to pass with the same language again in the next general assembly in order to go to the people of Iowa for a vote.

The requirement for a super majority would mean any bill to raise income tax rates on Iowans would likely require bipartisan support and show a compelling need for such an increase. The requirements in SJR 2006 would protect measures like it, preventing reckless politicians from undoing that work in the future, and provide more certainty and predictability for Iowans and their families. Raising taxes on Iowans should not be easy and I fundamentally believe that it should be more difficult to raise taxes than it is to cut taxes.
Senator Ernst was in Fairfield and Sigourney this week and unfortunately I was not able to attend due to other obligations at the Capitol. However, it was great seeing her Thursday morning when she stopped in the chamber for a visit.

Next Thursday, April 21, at 5:30 p.m. is a Republican Party of Iowa event at Bridgeview in Ottumwa. I will be in attendance (unless we are debating that night) and would love to see all of you!

In closing, as I sit in this beautiful chamber wrapping up this edition of the “Dickey Dispatch,” I want to wish all of a most joyful Easter weekend and ask that you take a moment to reflect on the real meaning of this week and not get completely distracted with candy eggs and spiraled ham.

God bless,

Posted by on Apr 15 2022. Filed under 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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