Newsletter

To the People of House District 54

The Iowa House passed its first bill of the 2022 legislative session – the renewable fuels bill – on Wednesday, Feb. 2, with 81 aye votes. One reason for such smooth passage is that a great deal of work was done on this bill last session, as well as during the interim. House File 2128 is a win-win for Iowa farmers and consumers alike. E-15 fuel is cheaper, cleaner, and made right here in Iowa. It will create more demand for ethanol and save motorists money.

Also during the fourth week of session, more discussion was held about the Iowa House Republican’s Tax Plan. The House Republicans’ tax plan closely resembles the Governor’s proposed plan by lowering taxes for all Iowans to a flat tax rate of 4%. Our plan also makes retirement income exempt for all Iowans and creates a new income exemption option for retired farmers. However, our plan does not include a tax cut for corporations.

How State Tax Cuts Would Be Funded
One reason my colleagues and I believe so strongly in cutting taxes is because there is a $1.2 billion state budget surplus. The Taxpayer Relief Fund is holding another $800 million, plus the cash reserve and emergency fund are full.

Below is a brief description of each of these funds:

  1. Reserve funds. The Cash Reserve Fund and the Economic Emergency Fund receive moneys from the state’s general fund surplus. The reserve funds are available for emergency purposes. The reserve funds also are used for cash flow, so the state’s general fund can maintain a positive cash balance through the fiscal year. This reduces the state’s need to borrow funds for short-term cash flow needs.
  2. Budget surplus. Also known as the ending balance, the state’s budget surplus is simply the amount of state revenue left unexpended at the end of the fiscal year and after the reserve funds are filled to their statutory levels. The ending balance for Fiscal Year 2022 is estimated to be around $1.17 billion.
  3. Taxpayer Relief Fund. This is an account in the State Treasury that holds unanticipated state revenue. For funds to be deposited in the Taxpayer Relief Fund, actual state revenue must exceed what was projected for state tax collections by the three-member Revenue Estimating Conference. The difference between what was actually collected in tax revenue and what the REC had projected is deposited into the account once the fiscal year’s books have been closed. 

The House Republicans’ plan withdraws money from the Taxpayer Relief Fund equal to 50% of the overall revenue reduction with the other 50% of the revenue reduction covered by the state’s budget surplus.

Attracting Visitors and Workforce
We have a workforce shortage in Iowa and nationwide, so new ideas must be considered to address this crisis. During a meeting in Hampton last Friday, I was asked what I believe is key to retaining and attracting workforce. I believe we will be an even more desirable place when we lower taxes and provide more options for affordable, quality childcare.

I also believe each of us has an important role to play to help young Iowans see a future for themselves here, as well as to encourage out-of-state family and friends to move here. We must recruit others to our state because we simply don’t have enough available workers. Even if every unemployed Iowan took a job, we would still have more than 25,400 open jobs.

The pandemic has changed people’s way of thinking, and many more of them are seeking outdoor experiences. Fortunately, North Iowa includes several beautiful parks and recreational areas that provide year-round activities. In addition, Iowans enjoy a low cost of living and a high quality of life. Let’s all do our part to encourage people to live, work and play in the communities we’re proud to call home!

Constituent Visits
It always nice to get visits from home. This week more than 600 FFA students, donning blue corduroy jackets, visited Des Moines’ Capitol City for a Legislative Symposium. As an FFA alumni, I especially enjoyed meeting with members from the North Butler and Clear Lake FFA Chapters. This week I also had the chance to meet with members of the Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association, who were in Des Moines for the Iowa Ag Expo. With nearly 700 exhibitors, the Iowa Ag Expo is our nation’s third largest indoor ag show.

Special thanks to Mark Taets of Mark’s Tractor (on the far left) and Scott Taets of Dumont Implement (to my right) for taking time this week to share with me how certain issues could impact their business.

As always, please contact me about issues that are of interest to you. Feel free to send me a message via my political Facebook page or my legislative email, which is shannon.latham@legis.iowa.gov