The Rozenboom Report – April 15th, 2022

by Senator Ken Rozenboom

At this point in the legislative session we start saying goodbye to retiring Senators. Redistricting led to a higher number of retirements this year than we normally expect. Retiring members were thanked for their service, and members from both parties shared stories about their service together.

From my perspective, the 2022 session has been a success, but we still have a lot of work left to do. The House and the Senate passed an historic tax relief package and sent it down to the governor’s office for her signature, and we protected girls’ sports.

The governor introduced a key workforce bill early in session, addressing a number of updates to Iowa’s unemployment program. One of the features of the bill 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 it’s my hope the House will take that bill up soon.

Another piece of the governor’s agenda the Senate adopted was her education reforms. Since the Covid disruption in our education process parents have been more involved in their children’s education and, in some Iowa schools, parents have deep concerns about curriculum. Also, some school boards have not been responsive to those concerns which is leading to a greater demand for school choice. 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. Again, it’s my hope that the House will take this bill up very soon.

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 decrease in Iowa history is workable because of the commitment to fiscal discipline state government has made over the last five years. It is imperative that we 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.

This week, the Senate passed Senate Joint Resolution 2006. This is a proposal for a constitutional amendment requiring a super majority (two thirds) to implement new taxes or increasing the income tax rate for Iowans. 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.

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 Iowa legislature’s commitment to fiscal responsibility is in stark contrast to the reckless policies implemented in Washington, D.C. Just this week it was reported inflation hit a record 8.5 percent, with everything from meat and fish to dairy and produce rising in price. And gasoline prices are far higher than they were just 15 months ago. These rising prices are hard for Iowa families and create problems with the household budget. Planning and saving are more and more difficult. It’s my hope that in this election year we send a loud message to Washington to reverse the current political agenda that is devastating the middle class.

Posted by on Apr 15 2022. 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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