By Representative Dean Fisher

Week 14
We saw a significant slow down on the floor of the House as we dealt with background work on budget and tax reform issues ahead of introducing those bills.

On Wednesday of this week the House Ways and Means Committee introduced the House tax reform bill that is known as the Middle Class Tax Relief Act. This is an extensive bill that I will be unable to fully describe in this newsletter, but I will hit on a few highlights. The intent of this bill is that it be fair, sustainable, and modernize Iowa’s tax code. Iowa’s tax code is outdated in many areas, is overly complex, and contains some of the highest income tax rates in the nation. Furthermore, recent tax reform at the federal level has highlighted the need for Iowa to also reform our tax code. With the federal reform Iowans will pay $1.8 billion less in federal taxes in tax year 2018, but due to federal deductibility Iowans will pay slightly higher state taxes of $107 million in tax year 2018 and $153 million in tax year 2019. The Middle Class Tax Relief Act will reduce the burden on Iowa’s taxpayers by $1.3 billion over five years while protecting the sustainability of our budget.

Other notable bills:

Senate File 481 – Ensuring safe communities in Iowa. This bill was signed into law by the governor on April 10.

Senate Joint Resolution 2006 – Governor and Lt. Governor Succession – This bill proposes changes to the state constitution to clarify the details of how a Lt. Governor succeeds a governor that leaves office during their term, and how the Lt. Governor is then appointed. This issue was highlighted last year when Governor Branstad resigned to take the position as Ambassador to China. This bill clarifies that the Governor has the authority to fill the position of Lt. Governor by appointment.

On Thursday of this week the House was honored to have Dr. Peggy Whitson in the House chamber as we passed House Resolution 112 honoring her outstanding career as an astronaut. Dr. Whitson was born in Mount Ayr, Iowa and raised on a farm near Beaconsfield, Iowa. Dr. Whitson holds the record for being the American to spend the longest time in space, 289 days on the US Space Station, and the longest time in space for any woman worldwide. Dr. Whitson is truly a great Iowan and a great American!

As always, please feel free to contact me at dean.fisher@legis.iowa.gov or 641-750-3594.