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 Statehouse News

 
Dear %%First Name%%,

I believe in team work.  I believe in working together to solve problems.  The legislative session is scheduled to adjourn in two weeks, yet the majority party has not brought forward the budget for fiscal year 2019.  The state budget must be balanced, no more deficit!  Behind closed doors the majority is trying to figure out how to pay for new tax breaks at the expense of middle class home owners and farmers.  Corporate tax rates may be going down and local property taxes may be going up.  A phase out of the state’s property tax backfill to local governments may result in city and county officials having to cut public safety services.  So far the minority party has not had the opportunity to be an active participant in the budget decisions.  I know that good results happen when the process is transparent and all voices are not only heard, but have weight in the final product.

I’m also concerned that the trade situation with China is going to have a very negative economic impact on Iowa citizens.  Trade wars never worked in the 19th or 20th centuries and trade wars certainly aren’t helpful in today’s global economy.  We rely on open markets and free trade.  Damage has already been done.  The state of Iowa relies on a good relationship with China, the largest economy in the world.  As your state representative I will make sure that I am your voice to encourage our elected federal officials about the importance of working together with other nations, as opposed to creating barriers.

I will be heading home on Friday for the weekend.  I always look forward to visiting with folks back home.  Thanks for letting me serve you.  I always try to do what is right.


On Wednesday the Fairfield FFA students and advisor visited the Statehouse. Representative Phil Miller joined Representative Dave Heaton of Mount Pleasant to meet with students Blu Schults, Tyler Heston, Sofie Mineart, Jenna Wickenkamp, Hannah Clubb, Hollie Nelson and their instructor Courtney Taglauer.

News from the Statehouse


Local Officials Warn of Higher Property Taxes, Cuts in Services
 
According to a new survey of local officials released this week, Iowans could be facing steep hikes in property taxes, as well as cuts in local services like police and fire next year.  The survey was sent to gather input from local governments on a plan offered by Republican lawmakers to phase out or end the state’s property tax backfill.

Of the local officials who completed the survey, 93% said they will have to raise property taxes on homeowners and farmers if the state ends the backfill.  Here are some other key highlights from the on-line survey of local officials:

  • 90% said it will lead to cuts in services or programs they offer to Iowans.
  • 76% of city and county officials said they would have to make cuts to public safety, including police, fire, sheriff, or other law enforcement.
  • School officials said they would be forced to do the following if the backfill is phased out: raise class sizes (29%), reduce pay or benefits for teachers (24%), and delay technology upgrades (23%).

If approved, the bill would cut $50 million in payments next year to local governments. In 2013, these funds to local governments were promised by the legislature as property tax rates were reduced for commercial and industrial property.  House Study Bill 678 would scale back the backfill payments from $152 million this year down to $25 million over several years.  A similar bill in the Senate would end the backfill entirely in just two years.

The House held the first subcommittee meeting on the bill this week.


Anti-Immigration “Sanctuary Cities” Bill Passes Iowa House

Despite strong opposition, legislation passed the Iowa House that would ban and penalize any form of a so-called “Sanctuary City”, even though no such “Sanctuary Cities” exist in Iowa.  With only one Iowa organization supporting the legislation, the bill would crack-down on cities and counties who do not comply with federal immigration authorities seeking to deport immigrants who entered the country illegally or risk losing state funding.

Senate File 481, which was approved on a 55-45 vote, would ban local entities from crafting policies that prevent law enforcement officers and other local officials from inquiring about the immigration status of a person.  State funding will be restored to local governments after a 90 day lapse if it rescinds any “sanctuary” policies.

After reaching out to multiple law enforcement professionals, GOP lawmakers crafted this bill without input or feedback from them. The bill also does not take into account the misplaced fear, perceptions and instability it could cause within local communities and families.  Law enforcement are concerned that many crimes may now go unreported.

According to a new non-partisan fiscal analysis, the GOP bill could also jeopardize state funding to Iowa’s public schools.  It would put educators and our schools in the middle of immigration enforcement activities that are best handled by law enforcement. This may also lead to an increase in property taxes to supplement being penalized for not complying with the new legislation.

The bill, as amended, goes back to the Iowa Senate for further consideration.


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


Medicaid Privatization Continues to Hurt Iowans, New Report Shows    
Tuition Rises Again after Budget Cuts      
Mental Health Bill Signed Into Law     
Applications for Teacher of the Year     
Controversial Gun Rights Constitutional Amendment Approved    
Educators to Now Receive Suicide Prevention Training
Volunteers Needed for State Park Spring Clean-up        
Greater Flexibility in School Funding



Contact Representative Phil Miller

Capitol
1009 Grand Ave
Iowa House of Representatives
Des Moines, IA 50319
515-281-3221
Home      
902 S. Suncrest Drive
Fairfield, IA 52556
641-472-2511
                        
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