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Iowa’s legislative strengths

Published: Tuesday, June 4, 2013 2:13 p.m. CDT

(Continued from Page 1)

Strong Economy

Iowa has the third highest commercial property taxes in the nation and the 16th highest residential property taxes in the nation. Iowans were very clear they wanted property-tax reform and relief this year at the statehouse.

The Legislature passed tax relief and reform that:

• Includes property tax relief for all classifications of property.

• Is meaningful, inclusive and reliable reform so taxpayers can count on relief from year to year.

• Limits assessment growth from 4 to 3 percent on ag and residential taxpayers

• Includes a 10 percent rollback on taxable value for commercial and industrial property.

• Is approximately $560 million in property-tax relief once fully implemented.

• Ensures residential taxpayers receive as much relief as commercial taxpayers.

• Develops a permanent mechanism for the taxpayer trustfund tax credit, giving the overpayment back to taxpayers.

*Additional legislation making Iowa’s economy strong*

For the first time in a decade the Homestead Tax Credit is fully funded. The House led the way for the passage of a tax credit helping beginning farmers succeed. Finally, the House invested resources in jobs and economic development initiatives aimed at getting Iowans back to work and improving Iowa’s economy.

Strong Budget Leadership

Three years ago, Iowa faced a $900 million budget shortfall. As the 2013 session ends, Iowa is spending less than it collects for the third consecutive year, our budget reserves remain full and the ending balance is projected to be $600 million. This is a significant departure from how government operated in the past when legislators and governors spent more than the state collected.

The Legislature stuck to the core budgeting principles of:

• Do not spend more money than the state takes in.

• Do not use one-time money to pay for on-going expenses.

• Do not intentionally underfund entitlement programs to balance the state’s budget.

• Return unused tax dollars to Iowa’s taxpayers.

The bipartisan budgets passed this session:

• Result in 3 percent growth over fiscal year 2013, which is less than the 3.5 percent projected revenue growth.

• Spend merely 88 percent of what the state is allowed to spend.

• Fully fund property-tax credits for the first time since 2002.

• Fund the regents universities to a level where student tuition is frozen for the 2013-14 school year.

*Additional legislation displaying strong budget leadership*

The House also led the way on debt reduction by using a portion of the ending balance to pay off $114 million in commitments earlier than required while also fulfilling our obligations in regards to pension funds. Additionally, the House made substantial investments in water quality and one-time infrastructure projects at the regents universities.

The Debt Reduction bill:

• Pays off $114 million in state debt years earlier than required.

• Fulfills a promise made by previous legislatures to the Judicial Retirement System and the Peace Officer’s Retirement System by making a $110.2 million payment to bring both pension funds to the obligated 80 percent threshold.

• Makes an investment of $34.1 million to one-time infrastructure projects at Iowa State University, the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa.

• Invests $20 million into water-quality initiatives through Iowa Department of Agriculture.

I continue to appreciate the opportunity represent each of you in the Iowa House of Representatives. May you each have a blessed and safe summer.

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