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Legislative Update 05/27/2016

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“Every election is determined by the people who show up.”
Larry J. Sabato

Legislative Update

Friends,

Election Day is just around the corner, and that means it’s time to talk about voter registration. Each state has the authority to mandate its own requirements for registering to vote. Here are some facts about voter ID laws in Iowa to ensure you are prepared to cast your ballot on Election Day! 
 
Voter ID laws differ from state to state, and are classified into two groups: strict and non-strict. Iowa’s current Voter ID laws are considered non strict; meaning that some voters without acceptable identification have an option to cast a ballot that will be counted without further action on the part of the voter.
 
Iowa Code Section 48A.5 outlines the qualifications to register to vote in Iowa.  Any person wishing to register to vote must have one of the following:
  • Possess a valid passport or identity card and registration issued under authority of the United States secretary of state, or
  • An alternative form of identification consistent with the provisions of applicable federal and state requirements 
All alternative forms of identification that are currently accepted under the Iowa Secretary of State office are:
  • Iowa driver’s license or non-driver ID card
  • Out-of-state driver’s license or non-driver ID card
  • U.S. Passport
  • U.S. Military ID
  • ID card issued by employer
  • Student ID issued by Iowa high school or college
If a voter in Iowa does not have any of these identifications, they may still be able to vote if:
  • They cast a provisional ballot
  • They sign an affidavit of eligibility
If you are unsure whether or not you are registered to vote in Iowa you can check your voter registration status here, and learn more about the entire registration process here.
 
Early voting in the state of Iowa began on September 29th and runs through November 7th, the day before the national Election Day. There are many benefits to voting early, but there are some specific procedures to keep in mind if you choose to do so.
 
Absentee Voting:
You may either download an absentee ballot online to fill out and then mail to your county auditor’s office, or request to have one mailed to you at your home address. Learn more about both of these options here. You may also choose to cast your absentee ballot in person at your county auditor’s office. Learn more about this option here. If you do opt to receive your ballot in person at your county auditor’s office, remember that you may not walk out of the office with that ballot – it must be completed and submitted in the office. If you wish to have more time while filling out your ballot, having it mailed to you or downloading it online may be the best option.
 
Voting on Election Day:
Of course the option still remains to cast your ballot on November 8th, the national Election Day. If you chose this option, make sure you know where your voting precinct is located. A list of all the precincts in Iowa, and which one you should cast your ballot at on Election Day, can be found here.
 
If you have any additional questions about registering to vote, the candidates you are eligible to vote for or the voting processes in general, make sure to visit the Iowa Secretary of State’s website. Being informed and prepared come Election Day is the best way to ensure a successful voting experience! 


State Revenue Up in September
State revenue collections increased in September, pushing Fiscal Year 2017 revenue collections into positive territory for the first time.  But the September growth was not enough to bring state tax revenue close to its projected level for the new fiscal year.

 

September’s figures show state revenue came in 2.9 percent higher than in September 2015.  This growth was able to push the Fiscal Year 2017 revenue figure to +1.0 percent through the first three months.  While showing state tax revenue is headed in the right direction, there still is a long ways to go to meet the Revenue Estimating Conference’s FY 2017 revenue projection.

 

In the specific tax categories, personal income tax receipts grew by 6.5 percent in September.  This helped move FY 2017 personal income tax growth through September to 3.9 percent.   While this is not yet at the rate projected by the REC in March, it is better than one would expect considering the headwinds the state’s economy is facing with falling commodity prices and reductions in manufacturing.

 

Sales tax receipts were up 8.6 percent for September, raising FY 2017 collections to 3.2 percent through the end of September.  This is better than what the state experienced last year and above the March REC forecast of just 2.0 percent growth in this category.

 

There is reason for concern in the area of corporate income tax.  For the month, corporate tax collections were down 8.0 percent.  Through September, corporate income tax receipts are down 11.7 percent.  This is significantly worse than the March REC forecast for FY 2017, which has been adjusted to a decline of 0.1 percent.  

 

Refund payments from the state have been significantly higher through the first three months of FY 2017.  Through September, the state has paid out $40.5 million in corporate refunds.  This is 77 percent higher than the first quarter of FY 2016, when corporate refunds accounted for $22.8 million.  Personal income tax refunds are also up significantly through the first quarter.  The state has paid out $57.9 million in refunds, which is 34.5 percent higher than the $43.1 million paid out at this point in FY 2016. 

 

The Revenue Estimating Conference will have their next meeting on October 13, at 11 AM.  They will adjust the FY 2017 estimate and revise their preliminary estimate for FY 2018, which was set in March at growth of 4.1 percent.


Sincerely, 

Representative John H. Wills

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.
The House Republican position on government spending is reasonable, sustainable and based on simple common-sense budgeting principles.
 


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