Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Politics

February 4, 2013

This Week in the Iowa House

Des Moines —  

Since the economic downturn that hit in 2008, Iowa's vibrant economy has helped build unprecedented revenue growth and surplus funds for the state.  We've generally outperformed the rest of the nation the last five years with a lower unemployment rate, quicker recovery, and fiscal discipline that has generated today's record surplus.

We laid the foundation for growth back in 2008 when the national downturn first hit Iowa and we've run a surplus every year ranging from $335 million in 2009-2010 to well over $800 million today.  I was serving in House leadership at the time and we made tough choices that have helped our economy over the long run.

Now that we're in a strong position, there are a lot of ideas floating around about what to do with these surplus dollars. We can't - and shouldn't - spend every extra dollar we have but we also can't over-promise on tax cuts that will put us in the hole a few years down the road, especially with a world economy still anemic and farmers perhaps facing another year of drought.

We've all committed to commercial property tax relief of some kind.  The Governor has recommended shifting $400 million from property taxes over to our general fund and spending an additional $149 million for education reform. House Republicans have proposed draining all of the surplus and using it for tax cuts.

While some of these ideas have merit, the reality is we can't do all of that.  We need a balanced, targeted approach that keeps our economy growing and invests in the middle class.

While there is indeed some room for tax relief, we can't ignore our critical needs either.  Our schools have been squeezed pretty hard over the last several years and are still struggling to keep up with rising costs.  Businesses are facing a skilled worker shortage right now and it will only get worse if we don't keep tuition at community colleges and our universities affordable.  The redesign of our mental health system also requires additional resources and too many of our roads and bridges are in need of critical repairs.

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Politics
  • Tom Hoefling.jpg Hoefling's gubernatorial campaign focused on grassroots

    Longtime political activist Tom Hoefling of Lohrville is hopeful that his grassroots campaign, nurtured with the conservatism of Iowans, will gow into a term as Iowa's next governor. 

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Van Wyk.jpg Van Wyk's Jasper County voter registration canceled

    Following a hearing Thursday afternoon, Jasper County Auditor Dennis Parrott has canceled the voter registration of former Republican House District 28 Candidate Jon Michael Van Wyk. 

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sinclair and Heartsill.jpg Legislators report to Knoxville

    The final Legislative Coffee of 2014 was held Friday afternoon in Knoxville, with Rep. Greg Heartsill and Sen. Amy Sinclair in attendance. 

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Heartsill mug Heartsill reports on oversight hearings

    Rep. Greg Heartsill, a member of the House Government Oversight Committee, has been hearing testimony from Mike Carroll of the Iowa Department of Administrative Services and former State employees who received confidential settlements. 

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Megan Suhr.jpg MC Democrats to hold Education Forum

    The Marion County Democrats will hold its latest educational forum on Wednesday, April 9, with a focus on educational issues. 

    April 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Grassley and Pella folks.jpg Pella representatives meet with Grassley

    Representatives from the Pella area are on their annual trek to Washington, D.C., this week. Sen. Chuck Grassley recently shared what they discussed with him. 

    March 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • raceway concept drawing.jpg Raceway Rebate passes subcommittee

    The proposed $2 million sales tax rebate for Knoxville Raceway (HSB 678) has just been approved by a House Ways and Means Subcommittee.

    March 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • raceway concept drawing.jpg House Subcommittee Hearing on Raceway Monday

    A House Ways and Means subcommittee will hold a hearing regarding a proposed sales tax rebate, worth up to $2 million, for the Knoxville Raceway on Monday, March 24. 

    March 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • courthouse.jpg Incumbents for Marion County offices file paperwork

    By the end of the day Friday, the incumbents for the four Marion County elected offices up in November will have filed their paperwork to seek reelection. 

    March 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Loebsack and seniors.jpg Loebsack visits Knoxville Senior Center

    Rep. Dave Loebsack addressed Medicare, the Older Americans Act and other issues over lunch Thursday at the Knoxville Senior Center. 

    March 20, 2014 1 Photo

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