At the Capitol Work Begins by Randy Feenstra

Posted January 23, 2018 at 6:39 pm

There are several issues that need to be addressed this session because of what has occurred over the course of the last year. These items include changing Iowa’s tax code to conform to the federal tax changes, evaluating the Medicaid managed care, creating more school funding flexibility, passing a water quality bill and protecting religious rights for all.

Why Income Tax Changes?

After the federal government passed income tax reform in December, it created a lot of issues with Iowa’s income tax as both systems are somewhat connected. Meaning, if you take a deduction at the federal level, there is usually a similar deduction and the state level.

Working with the Iowa Department of Revenue, we are creating policy where Iowa can take advantage of some the federal tax discounts to help reduce the overall tax rate. The Wall Street Journal noted in the Dec. 17, 2017 issue that Iowa has the fifth highest individual tax rate at 8.98 percent in the nation. Families pay that rate if they are making over $71,000, which is one of the lowest income thresholds for paying the highest amount of tax in the nation. These tax rates prohibit growth in Iowa’s economy. Iowa needs to change their tax framework to help families and households.

School Fund Flexibility

Over the years, the State of Iowa has created 13 different school funding streams that can only be used for certain items in schools. These funding streams would include items like, transportation, smaller class sizes, teacher leadership, facility upkeep, etc. I am pushing toward consolidating many of these revenue streams so schools boards have the flexibility to use the money for what they deem best in their districts. Each school district has different needs.

Religious Freedoms

I am taking issue to the University of Iowa banning a Christian organization from being active on campus because of the beliefs this organization holds. I believe all religions should have the freedoms to affirm their beliefs. It’s time that this lack of tolerance ends. It’s amazing we tolerate everything in society except those that hold to a Christian religion – appalling!

Clean Water

The policy that is being worked on provides for a long term, dedicated funding source for voluntary water quality improvement efforts and creates programs to address industrial, municipal, natural, and agricultural sources of nutrient runoff into Iowa’s water ways. This topic will have a resolution in a few weeks.

Upcoming Forums:

Friday, February 2, Noon – Sioux Center Pizza Ranch

Friday, February 9, Noon – Cedar Rock Grill, Rock Valley

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As your State Senator, I am your voice in Des Moines and encourage your input. Please feel free to contact me at randy.feenstra@legis.iowa.gov. If you would like to read my comments on a daily basis, you may visit my website at www.newgenerationrepublican.com.

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