The Behn Report

Sen Jerry Behn, (R) Boone

January 19, 2018

In the Legislature

Now that we are in the second week, we’ve started to listen to presentations in our committees, and meeting with many groups and departments to discuss funding and priorities for the year. In the ways & means committee this year, we will be working on tax reform.

Wednesday was Iowa Veterans Day at the capitol and I had the opportunity to meet with veterans from my district. It was such an honor to talk to these individuals and hear their stories. I met with one from Webster City and three from Boone. They then focused on their legislative priorities for this session.

One of the tools Iowa has for veterans is the Home Base Iowa program. This was an initiative started by Gov Terry Branstad to connect veterans and service members with jobs and opportunities in our state with the hopes of easing the transition back home. This program is a great way for our state to support current and former service members and their families as they settle into life at home in Iowa.

For those who came to visit, I appreciate you coming to the state capitol and taking the time to discuss the important ways we can help those who protected us and served our country. To the men and women who have served or are currently serving, I want to sincerely thank you for your courage and patriotism. If you have questions about veteran benefits in Iowa, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Tax relief for Iowa – Last month the Wall Street Journal wrote a column identifying states with the highest top tax rates. Iowa ranked fifth on this list, ahead of notoriously high tax states like New Jersey and Vermont. Iowa’s top statutory tax rate impacts so many Iowans and creates a “sticker shock” that has a detrimental impact on job growth. Some tax deductions help mitigate that rate. However, Iowa’s income tax remains a disincentive to work and invest in Iowa.

For the last several months, we have been discussing the need for tax relief. Tax relief makes Iowa more competitive with surrounding states and in the global economy. A competitive business climate, one with low tax rates and a regulatory climate conducive to growth, encourages job creators in Iowa to expand. It entices people from outside of Iowa to take a longer look at a state with sound infrastructure, good schools, a knowledgeable workforce, and a high quality of life. The growth of career opportunities improves outcomes for Iowans. Higher demand for labor increases wages for working Iowans in a sustainable way. Wage growth helps them to reach their goals in life and to make a better future for the next generation.

As a result of federal tax reform, this week Apple announced it is bringing back hundreds of billions of dollars in earnings from other countries. It intends to invest billions of dollars in the American economy including creating 20,000 new jobs and providing bonuses to many of its workers.

As demonstrated this week, tax relief rewards work, encourages investment, and improves career opportunities. Bold change in Iowa can yield similar success and the rewards will be felt for years to come.

As always, I want to hear from you. My Senate number is 515-281-3371 and my home number is 515-432-7327 or write me at: State Capitol, Des Moines, IA 50319 or at my home address: 1313 Quill Avenue, Boone, IA 50036 or email me at jerry.behn [at] legis [dot] iowa [dot] gov.

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