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 Statehouse News

Dear %%First Name%%,

It was good to see a large group of high school seniors from Pekin Community School District at the Capitol on Wednesday.  I got to visit with them before and after floor debate on a bill about succession of the position of Lt. Governor.  The students listened and viewed the debate from the gallery.  I’m glad they got to see our democratic process in action.  I talked to them about the legislative process of origination of bills and how the committee and subcommittee process works.  I also learned that after graduation this spring, many will be attending local area community colleges. My passion is supporting public education.  It’s a privilege to meet, soon to graduate high school seniors and hear their stories about continuing their education using opportunity provided by public supported institutions.

The Iowa Association of Fairs had representatives at the Capitol this week.  We Iowans’ like our county fairs.  House District 82 has the Davis County Fair, the Jefferson County Fair and the Van Buren County Fair.  All three are great examples of communities organizing and working together to showcase 4-H clubs, FFA chapters, and other youth and adult projects and talents.  Team work results in the success of these annual summer time celebrations.  I thanked local individuals that came to the Capitol to remind elected state officials about the importance of our county fairs.

There is still no word from the majority party on next year’s budget or taxes.  One hundred days of the session will be completed on Tuesday, April 17. We probably will not be adjourning on time this year.  I think we need to work together to balance the state budget and restore fiscal discipline.  Leaving money on the state’s credit card to pay for tax breaks is a bad way to budget.  The majority party decides what and when tax and budget bills will be brought to the House Floor.

It’s a privilege to represent you.  I always try to do what is right for the citizens of House District 82.

On Wednesday, April 11, 2018, Representative Phil Miller spoke with Association of Iowa Fairs members, Jim Sloan from the Eldon Fair, Gary McConnell from the Davis County Fair and Executive Secretary of Fairs Tom Barnes.

On Wednesday, April 11, 2018, Representative Phil Miller welcomed students from Pekin High School in Jefferson County to the Iowa House of Representatives.

News from the Statehouse

SAVE Fund Extended for School Infrastructure

For at least three years, schools in Iowa have been concerned about the extension of the 1 cent sales tax for infrastructure known as “SAVE.”  This week, the House reached a bi-partisan agreement and sent a bill to the Senate that would extend the SAVE program until 2050.

As part of the plan, additional funds would be used to provide greater property tax relief for property poor districts and greater property tax relief to all school districts.  Schools have used SAVE funding as a tool to pay for necessary repairs and upgrades to school properties.

The bill also addresses the revenue purpose statement of a SAVE project to the electors, and requires an additional public hearing with notice.  Using SAVE dollars for athletic infrastructure construction would be allowed for “replacement” or “upgrade,” but not include repair or maintenance of an existing facility.

Fund for Career Academies

The bill also creates a grant fund that could be used for building Career Academies.  Nearly 70% of all new jobs will require some form of training beyond high school.  Career Academies allow high school juniors and seniors to take advantage of college level courses in an advanced high school curriculum.
House File 2481 now goes to the Senate for consideration.  

Public Hearing Held on Possible Tax Reform

A special public hearing on proposed tax changes was held by the House Ways and Means Committee this week.  The public hearing was called for House Study Bill 671 regarding proposed tax changes from GOP lawmakers. Members of the public spoke out on individual income and corporate taxes, increased taxes on credit unions, and the loss of revenue and the impact on the state from the proposed reforms.

Several concerns have been made as to why the legislature would be cutting taxes for corporations when the state was forced to make midyear budget cuts because of lagging state revenues.  One of the speakers noted that Iowa schools have received record low funding in recent years while the new tax proposals would reduce state revenues and leave schools shortchanged again.

Other speakers expressed concerns with provisions that are part of the Senate proposal on taxes.  Several representatives of credit unions spoke during the public hearing to express the potential impacts of raising taxes on their institutions and how that would negatively impact credit union customers.  

Representatives of the solar energy trade association noted that the state tax credit for solar energy that is repealed in the Senate proposal has been very effective in expanding solar installations in the state.  The ride sharing company Uber, as well as taxi operators, noted that increased taxes on their service would be hardest on the elderly, senior, and disabled that often rely on their service for their basic transportation needs.

While final details haven’t been release by Republican leaders, the House Ways and Means Committee could consider the tax proposal as soon as this week.

Upcoming Events

April 21-- Fairfield Legislative Forum, 7:30am-9:00am, @Best Western, 2200 W Burlington Ave

April 28th-- Keosauqua Legislative Listening Post, 9:00am @Keosauqua Great Day Café, 202 Main St
April 28th-- Bloomfield Legislative Listening Post, 12:00 pm @Rancho Centinela, 102 South Madison

More News from the Statehouse

Preventing Food Shaming in Schools    
House Leaders Move Forward on Plan to Raise Property Taxes, Cut Local Services    
More Funding to Help Veterans Signed into Law     
Paddling Safety on Iowa’s Waters

Contact Representative Phil Miller

1009 Grand Ave
Iowa House of Representatives
Des Moines, IA 50319
902 S. Suncrest Drive
Fairfield, IA 52556
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