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Legislative Update 2/05/2015

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WILLS
State Representative

"Government's first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives."  Ronald Reagan

Legislative Update

Friends,
We are finally taking action on some bills during the last few weeks.  I wanted to give you some input on bills that I have sponsored or am co-sponsoring to date.  (Just click on link of the Bill) 
First I have sponsored the following bill and asked for fellow representatives to co-sponsor.  That bill is HF 141 and is a bill mandating drug testing of applicants for and certain recipients of assistance under the family investment program.
Some bills that I have co-sponsored are:
  • HF 58 provides prerequisites to the performance of an abortion.
  • HF 92 which is an act relating to the justifiable use of reasonable force and providing a remedy.
  • HF 105 provide that peace officers and retired peace officers qualify as classroom driver education instructors.
  • and HJR 4 a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Iowa specifying marriage between one man and one woman as the only legal union that is valid or recognized in the state.
These are conservative and meaningful bills that reflect our NW Iowa principles and I am happy to present them for you. 
 
Warmest Regard,
John

 
2015-16 House Republican Budget Principles

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.

Legislative Forums
 

February 7, 2015 
Spencer

9:00am-10:30am

Council Chambers

420 2nd Ave. West 

Arnolds Park 

11:30am-12:30pm

Maritime Museum

243 Broadway Street
February 21, 2015 

Spencer

9:00am-10:30am 

Council Chambers

420 2nd Ave. West 

Arnolds Park 

11:30am-12:30pm

Maritime Museum

243 Broadway Street
February 28, 2015
Rock Rapids
8:00am-9:30am
Forster Community Center
404 Main Street
 

March 7, 2015 

Spencer

9:00am-10:30am

Council Chambers

420 2nd Ave. West 

Arnolds Park 

11:30am-12:30pm

Maritime Museum

243 Broadway Street

March 21, 2015 

Spencer

9:00am-10:30am 

Council Chambers

420 2nd Ave. West 
Arnolds Park 

11:30am-12:30pm

Maritime Museum

243 Broadway Street
March 28, 2015 
Rock Rapids
8:00am-9:30am
Forster Community Center
404 Main Street

Priorities from the House

Budget Comparison Shows K-12 Education Remains State’s Top Funding Priority
 

As the 2015 legislative session continues to discuss how much funding should go to Iowa schools, it may be helpful to look at how much of the state’s budget goes to Iowa schools when compared to the rest of state government.  The results will be surprising for anyone listening to the “information” being put out by various school groups.
At the start of Tom Vilsack’s tenure as governor, the state of Iowa spent $4.7599 billion from the General Fund for FY 2000.  The graph below shows how that money was distributed:

That year, K-12 education funding consumed 38.57 percent of the General Fund.  That amount is the state aid amount plus the categorical funding streams that have now been rolled into the school funding formula.  The second largest individual program in the budget was support for the Board of Regents institutions, which received 14.59%.  Medicaid was the third largest program, at just 8.83 percent of the General Fund. 
Fast forward to what Governor Branstad has proposed for the General Fund budget in FY 2016.  A pie graph breakdown of his proposal show some interesting changes in how the state’s money is spent:

Contrary to the rhetoric being used by the education community, K-12 education would have a larger share of the state budget in FY 2016 than in it did in FY 2000.  The Governor’s budget would spend 40.98 percent of the General Fund on K-12 education through Supplemental State Aid and the Education Reform funding streams.  So the growth in state funding in schools is not just in total dollars, but also in its share of Iowa’s budget too.
The most striking change over 15 years has been the dramatic growth in Medicaid.  The actual dollar amount going from the General Fund has tripled during this time, and the program’s share of the total budget has gone from 8.83 percent in FY 2000 to 18.55 percent in the proposed budget for FY 2016. 
Medicaid’s growth has not been at the expense of K-12 education, but other programs have been impacted.  The Regents’ share of the budget fell from 14.59 percent to 8.20 percent.  The rest of state government - including the Courts system, economic development, public health, agriculture and others - have seen their share of the state dollars go down from 17.83 percent to 11.37 percent.  These programs have shouldered the brunt of Medicaid’s growth.
The fact that over 40 percent of Iowa’s General Fund goes to local schools should not be a surprise to Iowans who have always made education a top priority.  And for FY 2016, House Republicans have already committed 50 percent of the new state revenue to increase state aid to Iowa schools.  What should be a concern to everyone is the significant growth in the share of Iowa’s budget consumed by Medicaid.  In the near future, the growth in that program will dictate how much new money Iowa schools will receive. 
 

News from the District

Internal Revenue Code Update
In December of last year, the federal government passed an update to the Internal Revenue Code, which extends various income tax credits for tax year 2014. In Iowa, we now need to work on "coupling" these extenders so that Iowa law matches the federal code. Until Iowans and their tax preparers know what law will apply, they must wait to file returns, or are forced to filed amended returns later.
Last week, the House Ways and Means Committee passed the bill 25-0. Although this update has a meaningful fiscal impact to  the state general fund, we werepleased to see us work in quick, bi-partisan fashion.
Specific provisions of our bill include an update to the Iowa research activities credit to include revisions in the federal research credit.  Other significant federal tax changes that this bill couples with include a deduction of up to $250 for out-of-pocket expenses for teachers, tuition and fees deduction for higher education expenses, deduction for mortgage insurance premiums as deductible qualified residence interest and nontaxable IRA transfers to eligible charities.
The item with the biggest fiscal impact might also be the most important, which now allows small businesses to expense the first $500,000 of equipment cost, known as section 179 expensing.
The one piece of the federal act not coupled into Iowa law is 50 percent bonus depreciation for both individual and corporate income tax for assets. This has been the case for Iowa law since 2008.
The bill will now move to the floor for further consideration. Getting this bill to the Governor's desk quickly will be a big benefit for Iowa taxpayers and tax preparers.

 

Tour of Our District

Kettleson Hogsback

The name of this site comes from the linear plateau which resembles the ridge between the shoulders of a hog. Walk the 3 mile trail along the hog's back and see evidence of the glacier that rested here more than 10,000 years ago.

Check out this excellent birding site with nearly 300 species recorded!

Geological History

A Hogsback is a linear ridge composed of steeply tilted hard and soft rock protruding out of the surrounding landscape. The soft rock erodes faster than the capping harder rock above. A cliff forms where the two different rock types meet. The steep side slopes are greater than 30-40 degrees, and must be nearly symmetrical on each ridge. This hogsback rises 40 feet and separates Marble Lake from Hottes Lake.

Location Description

This site has shallow lakes, marshes, uplands, and woods, making it a great wildlife viewing site due to its variety. Waterfowl, Shorebirds, Gulls, Pelicans, Grebes, Osprey and 28 species of Warblers have been seen here. Also look for Vireos, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Scarlet Tanager, Indigo Bunting, Great-crested Flycather and migrating thrush in the spring and fall. Great Blue Heron and Black-crowned Night Heron have nested at Grover's Lake on the far north end of the Kettleson Hogsback area. Take special note of the Great Blue Heron rookery on the island at Hottes Lake.

Hottes Lake is an excellent site for canoeing and kayaking, an opportunity to get closer to wildlife.

The trail is great for cross-country skiing or a snowshoe hike. Get out in the winter and see the hog from a different perspective!

State of Iowa Fun Fact

IOWA STATE SYMBOL – OAK TREE
The Oak was designated as the official state tree in 1961. The Iowa Legislature chose the Oak because it is abundant in the state and serves as shelter, food, and nesting cover for many animals and birds. It is difficult to find a tract of natural woodland in Iowa that does not harbor at least one species of Oak. No other group of trees is more important to people and wildlife. Acorns, nuts of Oak trees, are a dietary staple of many animals and birds. Wild turkeys, pheasants, quail, wood ducks, raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, blue jays, nuthatches, grackles, and several kinds of woodpeckers are a few of the species that depend on acorns for a significant portion of their diet.

 

Map of the Week

The map of the week is of the Teacher Leadership and Compensation (TLC) Accepted School Districts. 

The map can be found here

Quick Links

Governor Branstad

 

Iowa Judicial Branch

 

Iowa Legislature

 

 Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey

 

Secretary of State Paul Pate

 

  State Auditor Mary Mosiman

 

State Senator David Johnson

 

State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald

 

U.S. Representative Steve King

 

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley

 

Visitors to the Capitol

Wills Hosts Insurance Agent

(DES MOINES) – Rep. John Wills (R-Spirit Lake) met with Dave Rowley also of Spirit Lake at the Capitol this week. Dave visited the Statehouse on behalf of the Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa to attend Insurance Day on the Hill.

 

Pictured here are Rep. Wills and Dave Rowley.

Legislators Host Constituents, Discuss Water Quality

(DES MOINES) – Sen. Dave Johnson (R-Ocheyedan) and Rep. John Wills (R-Spirit Lake) met with Derek Namanny and Jim Sholly from Spirit Lake at the Capitol this week. Derek and Jim visited the Statehouse to discuss water quality issues with legislators.

 

Pictured here are Jim Sholly, Sen. Johnson, Rep. Wills, and Derek Namanny.

Legislators Host Local Doctors

(DES MOINES) – Sen. David Johnson (R-Ocheyedan) and Reps. John Wills (R-Spirit Lake) and Megan Jones (R-Sioux Rapids) met with several physicians at the Capitol this week. Doctors Steve Fiala from Spirit Lake, Zak Stoulil from Pocahantas, Keith Klemme from Milford, Leah Malmstrom, Rex Jones, and Lee Malmstrom from Spencer visited the Capitol to attend Physicians Day on the Hill.

 

Pictured here are Steve Fiala, Lee Malmstrom, Keith Klemme, Leah Malmstrom, Rex Jones, and Zak Stoulil with Sen. Johnson and Reps. Jones and Wills.

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Copyright © 2015 State Representative, John H. Wills, All rights reserved.


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