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"Education is not the means of showing people how to get what they want. Education is an exercise by means of which enough men, it is hoped, will learn to want what is worth having." - President Ronald Reagan

Update from the Statehouse 

Dear Friends,

Last week, I introduced you to my personal belief on tax policy and why moving to a more consumption-based policy like sales tax and away from reliance on income and property tax is smart for Iowa.  I laid out very logical reasons using statistics and data.  As I mentioned, The Invest in Iowa act that addresses these topics is very detailed, and I will never be able to cover the entire bill adequately in one short newsletter.  This week, I will look at two portions of the Governor’s bill: childcare tax credits and mental health funding. At the top of the list of priorities for the Governor and the legislature this year are workforce development and mental health.
Many parents in Iowa are burdened with finding and funding childcare. Unfortunately, there is a childcare shortage in the state, and many face long waitlists and potentially inadequate care. These challenges cause our workforce to suffer, because many times, one parent is unable to work due to the cost of daycare.  
The Governor’s plan takes a proposal passed by the House last session by doubling the Iowa income limits and makes the credits available to taxpayers with net incomes of less than 90,000 dollars. A taxpayer can claim only one of these credits per dependent. This proposal will encourage new daycare businesses and bring Iowans back into the workforce by having good quality, affordable daycare for children.
Currently, mental health funding is paid for by each county with a special levy on your property taxes. 
The Governor’s proposal reduces the county levy to $12.50 per capita, and the state would cover 70% of mental health funding using sales tax dollars. This would reduce property taxes in the state by $77.37 million.  
With the increased state funding to the Mental Health Disability System (MHDS), the Department of Human Services (DHS) will have the authority to ensure that regions/counties are implementing core service requirements of the adult and children’s mental health system.  If regions/counties are not in compliance, DHS may withhold up to 15% of the state expenditure to the region/county.  
I will talk more about the Governor’s proposal in the future, but I also wanted to address school funding. This week, the House passed a K-12 funding package to the tune of 108 million dollars of new funding to our schools.  This increase in State Supplemental Aid would increase our State Cost Per Pupil amount to $7,062 of state funding.  The following chart shows the total funding to K-12 education in the last 15 years.  It is important to look at facts when discussing education and not statements that some are bandying about such as Republicans underfunding education. This chart shows that education has benefited from sound budgeting principles.



As always, it is my distinct honor to represent you, the people in Lyon, Osceola, and Dickinson County. I work hard for you and to bring your NW Iowa values to the concrete of Des Moines.  


Sincerely,

John H. Wills
Speaker Pro-Tempore
House District 1
 
Forum Schedule:
  • February 15, 8:30-10:30 am, City Hall Council Chambers, Spencer
  • February 15, 11:30 am-12:30 pm, Iowa Lakes Community College, Spirit Lake
  • February 29, 8:00-9:30 am, Forrester Community Center, Rock Rapids
  • March 7, 8:30-10:30 am, City Hall Council Chambers, Spencer
  • March 7, 11:30 am-12:30 pm, Iowa Lakes Community College, Spirit Lake
  • March 14, Dickinson County Republican Convention, 9:00 am, Iowa Lakes Community College, Spirit Lake
  • March 21, 8:00-9:30 am, Forrester Community Center, Rock Rapids
  • March 21, 10:30-11:30 am, Public Library, Sibley
  • March 28, 11:30 am-12:30 pm, TBD, Okoboji
 
Thank you so much to the Iowa Lakes Community College Student Senate for sponsoring the February 15 and March 7 forums!


Iowa is the only state with two major rivers as its boarders. 
 
From District One to Des Moines
Rep. Skyler Wheeler (R-Orange City) and I were able to meet with Matt Buley, CEO of Hope Haven, Inc., last week. Buley was visiting the Capitol to meet with legislators about disability rates in Iowa. 



Members of the Iowa Great Lakes Board of Realtors came to the Capitol this week to update legislators on the status of realtors from their area. 
 
Pictured here is Rob Hinn (Spirit Lake), Angela Hinn (Spirit Lake), Brad Sanderson (Spirit Lake), Katie Slater (Okoboji) and Ben Sexton (Spirit Lake).
Kailee Jennings from Spirit Lake, a student at my alma mater, Northwestern College, came to the Iowa House this week to promote an upcoming bill that will draw awareness to the severity of child sex abuse and prevention. It was great to chat with a fellow Red Raider. 
I welcomed Shayne Mayer (Rock Rapids) with the Iowa County Attorney Association to the Iowa House. Mayer was visiting the Capitol to promote the just and effective prosecution of civil and criminal law.
Let's Stay Connected 
 
Have you caught my "Wednesday with Wills" videos from the Capitol? If not, feel free to like my Facebook page and follow along every Wednesday.

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State Representative, John H. Wills · 15732 Tradewind Dr. · Spirit Lake, IA 51360 · USA