The Behn Report

Jerry Behn (R), Boone

April 20, 2018

Our last official day was on Tuesday, our one-hundredth day. We debated a few bills this week, including bills on the gubernatorial line of succession and managing the spread of disease in wild animals.

We also recognized several legislators for their public service and years in the Iowa legislature. We enjoyed being able to honor our colleagues and reminisce about each of them and their time in the Legislature. These individuals will be missed.

Tuesday was also the last day for our clerks and legislative pages. The pages are a huge help for our day-to-day work in the Senate and it is a pleasure to get to know them throughout the legislative session. We appreciate their all their hard work during these months and wish them all the best for a great future in Iowa.

When this year’s session comes to an end, we will have finished the 87th General Assembly, and our first as the majority in the Iowa Senate. During this time, we’ve accomplished a great deal and fulfilled many of the promises we made in the months, even years, prior.

This year alone, the Senate voted to supply our schools with additional funding for the year and start to level the playing field between urban and rural districts, passed an energy policy to eliminate backdoor rate increases, a bill to start addressing water quality in Iowa, and policy to expand online education for our state’s students. We passed a bill that would recognize life at the sound of a heartbeat and a bill that takes the first step in enshrining the right to bear arms in the Iowa Constitution for those who abide by the law.

The legislature passed, and the governor signed, a bill to address the collapse of the individual health insurance market. This piece of legislation gave Iowans options for their healthcare amid the rising cost of premiums in our state.

We were proud to support the governor’s initiative to educate and expand Iowa’s workforce. Future Ready Iowa aims for 70 percent of Iowans to have education or training beyond high school by 2025 and expand opportunities for apprenticeship and internship programs.

We passed bills to protect consumers and prevent fraud within our workers’ compensation system. Additionally, we moved several other pieces of legislation to remove barriers to economic growth, reduce needless regulations on job creators, and level the playing field for job creators.

Soon, we hope to add comprehensive tax reform for Iowa working families to this list.

Working to grow Iowa’s economy – Tax Day is not a celebrated holiday such as Thanksgiving or Christmas. Traditionally, families do not gather to celebrate this annual occasion with a turkey and all the fixings. Though Tax Day may cause the same angst as last-minute holiday shopping, it often pales in comparison to other monumental occasions throughout the course of the calendar year.

The tax filing deadline passed Tuesday. Businesses did not close nor were people given holiday time off from work. Instead, Iowans scurried off to their jobs and put in a regular work day in an effort to support their families and make ends meet.

While Iowans were filing their taxes and putting in their time at the office, we continued the fight for them to keep more of their hard-earned money. We have been working diligently this legislative session to provide Iowans with a significant income tax reduction. We are committed to continuing until true income tax reform becomes a reality.

The reason we are so adamant is two-fold: Iowa has the fifth highest personal income tax in the country and the highest corporate income tax in the country. If you were an entrepreneur looking to start a business or relocate an operation, states with burdensome tax rates are not likely high on the list of desired destinations.

In order to grow our economy and expand the workforce we must be open to addressing our tax structure. Just as important, we must have a tax code to help, not hinder, our existing workforce. We must reward Iowans by letting them keep more of their hard-earned dollars. When Iowans are utilizing these resources for home improvements, to buy a new vehicle, or spend it on their children, they are bolstering our economy. In turn, this will help strengthen our state budget and ensure vital services are being provided to Iowans.

Nearly two decades have passed since the Iowa legislature passed a significant income tax reduction. It is long past time for action. It is necessary to accomplish before we adjourn.

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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