The Rozenboom Report – April 2nd, 2021

by Ken Rozenboom

This week we received more good news about Iowa and the economy. The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Iowa’s economy grew 6.3 percent in the last few months of 2020, faster than many of our neighboring states. Coupled with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, this is great news as Iowa recovers from the pandemic. It also demonstrates why pro-growth policies are important. They help grow our economy, open up jobs so people can work, and ensure we are prepared when difficult times hit. We will continue advocating for pro-growth policies at the Capitol and make this state the best for living, working and raising a family.

This Friday marks the next important legislative deadline of the year, the second funnel. In order to be considered for the rest of the year, policy bills needed to be out of their original chamber and through committee in the second chamber. In other words, we spent time this week looking at policy bills sent to us from the House.

Noncompete agreements can be a barrier to the workforce, and inhibit mobility and upward advancement for people working hard to support themselves and their families. The Senate passed Senate File 496, a bill that eliminates noncompete agreements for employees making $14.50 an hour or less. It prohibits noncompete agreements for low-wage employees restricting employment by a different employer for a certain period of time, in a geographical area, or a similar role.

Access to affordable child care continues to be a challenge for many families, especially while many were working from home during the pandemic. Current law requires a child care home to register as a child development home if the child care home provides child care to more than five children at any one time. This week we passed HF 260 which allows a person or program providing child care in a child care home to care for the following number of children at any one time: five or fewer children; six or fewer children, if at least one of the children is school-aged; or seven or fewer children, if at least two of the children are school-aged.

New property assessments arrived in many Iowa mailboxes this week and those assessments were a shock for many Iowans. The Quad City Times reported average increases of 8.5 percent in Scott County, and the Sioux City Journal wrote of an increase of 13 percent in parts of Sioux City. Property assessments and local levy rates are the factors that determine property taxes paid by Iowans, and these sharp increases in value can lead to painful property tax increases for Iowans, their families, and for seniors. When assessments rise, property taxes increase even if the levy rate stays the same.

Property tax increases are especially difficult for many Iowans. Seniors on fixed incomes frequently do not have an increase in income to pay for additional taxes. Working families need new clothes for growing children and high property taxes are a hurdle for new home buyers working to attain the American Dream of home ownership. Permanent, reliable tax relief is a positive, pro-growth solution for many Iowans.

So again this session the Iowa Senate is again working to reduce the property tax burden. SF 587 eliminates the property tax levy on mental health and shifts that funding responsibility to the state level. Eliminating this levy not only means over $100 million in reduced property taxes, it also has a compounding effect in future years because as property assessments rise, the elimination of the mental health levy will reduce the increase of property taxes when assessments rise.

The 2021 legislative session is rounding the corner, and heading down the home stretch. During the next few weeks, there will be a lot of floor debates, appropriations bills and long nights. Stay tuned.

Posted by on Apr 2 2021. 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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