Legislative Update 03/23/2017

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Quote of the Week

"The important thing about tax reform is you make the tax code less complicated, easier for people to understand."
~~Grover Norquist

Legislative Update


It’s about the middle class in Iowa!  Many have talked about the bold agenda that Iowa Republicans are advancing this year in the Iowa Legislature.  Our efforts have returned a voice to the Iowa Taxpayer and limited government that has been unprecedented.  These efforts have been done with two things in mind.  First, to ease burdens on business to allow for economic growth and expansion and second, to allow for economic growth in the middle class.  The things we have accomplished to date have given us a strong foundation in which to build a strong middle class economy.  No economy has thrived in the United States or in Iowa without a strong and thriving middle class. 

The important part, and probably the hardest thing to accomplish, has yet to be done.  That part is comprehensive tax reform in Iowa.  A lot of discussion has been held in regards to tax credits and tax exemptions.  Those credits are needed to make Iowa attractive to people and business.  We can’t have a strong middle class on the backs of those same folks so that we can offer tax credits to others to entice them to move to Iowa. 

Corporate Taxes
Iowa ranks 47th in the Nation in the corporate tax rate.  This rate that puts our state nearly last in the ranking leaves us in a very non-competitive position nationally, but even when looking at our neighboring states, we are the most taxed corporate rate.  To put it another way, the closest state to Iowa in the Midwest is Illinois and they are ranked number 44 in the nation in corporate taxes. 

Personal Income Taxes
Iowa ranks number 33 in the nation in personal income taxes.  When looking at our neighboring states, two of them are higher than us; Minnesota and Wisconsin.  South Dakota, which just became the “most moved-to state in the nation,” happens to be the number one state in the nation in personal and corporate taxes. 

Sales Tax
Iowa ranks in the middle of our nation in sales tax rates at 21st.  When compared to our neighbors we sit as one of the lowest sales tax states in the region.  Many feel the sales tax or a consumptive tax is the fairest tax, in that you pay a tax only when you buy something.  In Iowa, we do not pay sales tax on items that are typically thought of as necessities such as food and prescribed drugs. 

Property Tax
Iowa ranks 40th in property taxes and once again we are leading in the wrong way on this tax issue.  Of our neighboring states, we are the leader, except for Illinois.  When looking at being competitive for business and individuals who are looking at buying property this is a negative and is one of the main reasons for some of our tax credits and tax relief for economic reasons. 

State Business Tax Climate
When we boil this all down, and determine where Iowa lies as a competitor in the nation, Iowa ranks number 40.  That leaves Iowa in a negative climate from the start when trying to lure business and industry to our great state.  When we look at the region, only one other state, Minnesota, has a worse business climate than Iowa.  South Dakota, a major competitor for NW Iowa jobs and business is ranked number 2 in the nation.  Its small wonder why those business and industry move or relocate where they do. 

I bring all these statistics and figures to show one thing; we need tax reform in Iowa and now, despite the slowdown of our economy, is the time to do it.  The question do we do this and keep vital programs and services?  I favor repealing most, if not all tax credits, cutting our budget, reduce and flatten our tax rate for individual and corporate taxes, and increasing the sales tax by a penny.  Doing these things will bring most of our taxes down to a more competitive rate and spur our economy like nothing else we have done thus far this year.

This year we have made our state’s foundation strong and firm that will provide the base we need, in which to move on from here.  Now is the time to work on the rest of the solution to making our middle class strong and vibrant which will in turn make our states economic prospects strong and vibrant.  It will be an uphill climb and a tough prospect but not one that is impossible.  I would be happy to answer any questions or thoughts on this.

As always, I appreciate the faith you have in me to represent you in the Statehouse.  I vow to bring our NW Iowa values to the concrete of Des Moines and represent you in the best way I can. 

Representative John H. Wills

Legislative Priorities 


House Republicans are committed to these principles to produce a balanced and sustainable state budget:

  1. We will spend less than the state collects;
  2. We will not use one-time money to fund on-going needs;
  3. We will not balance the budget by intentionally underfunding programs; and
  4. We will return unused tax dollars to Iowa’s taxpayers.
The House Republican position on government spending is reasonable, sustainable and based on simple common-sense budgeting principles.
Photo of the Week
For the next several weeks, we would like to include a "Photo(s) of the Week" and publish those photos in our newsletter to show Iowans our beautiful district.  

If you would like submit a photo, simply click this link for submission John Wills and
please include your description of the photo.
This week's photo...

Center Lake

2017 Legislative Forums

March 25 – 8:00am – Eggs & Issues – Frontier Bank, basement meeting room, 301 1st Ave, Rock Rapids, IA 51246

News from Around the District

Registration underway for 35th Annual Walleye Weekend

Registration is underway for the 35th Annual Walleye Weekend, set for May 6 & 7 in the Iowa Great Lakes.

Kara Matheson, Event Coordinator with the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber says registration is available online and at local bait shops:  "It's the 35th year this year, so the big grand prize if you catch one of the 10 tagged walleye is $35,000.  You can get signed up online, or we will have entry forms in the different bait shops around the area as well if you want to sign up in person."

She notes that anglers can also register for the extended contest:  "On Friday, there's going to be a kick off dinner and fishing seminar, and then the actual fishing tournament starts at 12:01 am on Saturday, and goes until noon on Sunday.  So, you have those two days to catch one of the tagged walleye, and then you can actually, when you register, you can register for the summer extended contest, and that allows you to fish past that weekend actually through September 1st.  Then you still have a chance to catch one of those walleye and get a percentage of the entry fees."

For details and registration click here.

Registration forms will also be available at Fisherman’s Factory Outlet, Kabele’s Trading Post, Oh Shucks, Pioneer Beach, Stan’s Bait & Tackle, and at the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce office in Arnolds Park.

Environmental Protection & Natural Resources

12 Iowa Deer Test Positive for Chronic Wasting Disease from 2016-17 Hunting Seasons

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has closed the book on its 2016 chronic wasting disease monitoring effort that collected 4,879 tissue samples from wild deer with 12 samples testing positive for the disease. Test results are pending on deer from a handful of counties and on 86 deer tissue samples from the Clayton County special deer collection effort that ended on March 5.  

The disease first appearing in the wild deer herd in 2013 and each year since, the DNR has placed extra emphasis to find the extent to which disease is in the area, and to help slow the spread by removing additional adult deer from the local population.

“We are extremely grateful for the cooperation of hunters and landowners in the region who gave us samples and who allow hunters access to their property during the collection effort,” said Terry Haindfield, wildlife biologist with the Iowa DNR for a six county region in northeast Iowa.

Because of his location, Haindfield has been in the middle of the disease since its arrival.  

“We still have some confusion among hunters knowing the difference between chronic wasting disease and epizoic hemorrhagic disease. We need to continue to explain what the diseases are so our hunters are more knowledgeable if either disease does come in to their area,” Haindfield said.

Chronic wasting disease is caused by a misshapen protein, takes 18-36 months to show clinical signs and is always fatal. Epizoic hemorrhagic disease is spread by a biting midge, is often worse during drought years and can occur throughout Iowa.  

From his experience, he said there is no easy cookie cutter approach when it comes to collecting added samples for testing.

“Each CWD-positive instance is unique – when was the sample collected, what was the sex of the animal, where was it taken, what is the terrain like – all of that is taken in to account when formulating a plan to address it,” he said.

The Iowa DNR has a goal to collect around 5,000 deer samples from across the state each year, with an emphasis in and near areas where disease has been confirmed. For the 14 counties near areas where CWD has been confirmed, quotas range from 50 samples to 500. The remaining counties have a quota of 15 samples each.

These CWD focus areas include the northeast quarter of Pottawattamie County; Keokuk County; an area surrounding the four corners where Winnebago, Worth, Hancock and Cerro Gordo counties adjoin; Wayne, Appanoose, Davis, Wapello and potions of Monroe, Jefferson and Van Buren counties; and Winneshiek, Howard, Buchannan, Delaware, Scott, Clinton, Jackson, Dubuque, Clayton and Allamakee counties. 

The disease has been found in southeastern Nebraska near the Missouri River which will begin a new focus area with a quota of 750 samples along Iowa’s western border from Fremont to Woodbury County.

Haindfield said there are some things hunters can do to help with the surveillance.

First, he said they should remove any mineral blocks and feeders that unnaturally concentrates deer and increases the chance of spreading any disease. They can also provide tissue samples to the DNR for testing and report any sick or emaciated deer to the DNR.

“Deer hunting is one of Iowa’s great traditions. We want to educate and work with our hunters so we continue to have the best deer herd in the country for generations to come,” he said.


Tour of Our District


This marker was originally set at the point junction of the States of Minnesota and Iowa, and the Dakota Territories in 1859.  It was removed in the early 1900s after virtual destruction by vandals, was repaired and re-set in 1938 by the contiguous counties at the direction of the Department of the Interior. In 1979, the marker was broken from the base by vehicle traffic, and repaired and re-set at this site in 1980, by Lyon County, IA, Rock County, MN, and Minnehaha County, SD. Also in 1980 there was a flush marker set at the original location. This Tri-State Marker was dedicated to the pioneers of Siouxland on the 26th day of October, 1980.  The marker is located at 1663 268th Street, Larchwood.

State of Iowa Fun Fact

The Iowa Legislature designated the Wild Rose as the official state flower in 1897. It was chosen for the honor because it was one of the decorations used on the silver service which the state presented to the battleship USS Iowa that same year. Although no particular species of the flower was designated by the Legislature, the Wild Prairie Rose (Rosa Pratincola) is most often cited as the official flower. Wild roses are found throughout the state and bloom from June through late summer. The flower, in varying shades of pink, is set off by many yellow stamens in the center.

Tour of The Iowa State Capitol

Instead of the weekly "Tour of the Capitol," let see what you have learned over the course of these tours.  Click here to take the State Capitol Tour Quiz.

Map of the Week

The map can be found here

Visitors of the Week

On Wednesday, Pastor Terry Simms was "Pastor of the Day" for the House of Representatives. Pictured here are Rep. John Wills (Spirit Lake) and Pastor Simms.

Rep. John Wills (R-Spirit Lake) visitors from Sibley on Wednesday were Tom Kuiper and Pastor Terry Simms.

Rep. John Wills (R-Spirit Lake) met with Mark Shiver, Kevin Schmidt, and Mark Bohner of
Farm Bureau, who were vising the Capitol.

Rep. John Wills (R-Spirit Lake) and Rep. Megan Jones (R-Sioux Rapids) met with Iowa Lakes Cooperative members who were vising the Capitol for REC Day on the Hill.

Rep. John Wills (R-Spirit Lake) met with Lyon County and Osceola County REC members during REC Day on the Hill,


Quick Links

State Representative, John H. Wills
Governor, Terry Branstad
Iowa Legislature
Iowa Judical Branch
Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey
Secretary of State, Paul Pate
State Auditor, Mary Mosiman
State Auditor, Mary Mosiman
State Senator, David Johnson
State Treasurer
U. S. Congressman, Steve King
Senator Chuck Grassley
Senator Joni Ernst
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