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Legislative Update 1/22/2015

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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,
It is an honor to serve you in our State Capitol during the 86th Iowa General Assembly.  This being the second week of the session we have learned the desires of the state agencies, the governor, and others.  Some of those desires include dealing with bullying, freezes in tuition, rebuilding and protecting our state's infrastructure, and expanding broadband internet. 
It will take effort to accomplish anything this year with our split legislature but I think we can accomplish great things together that promote economic growth and higher paying jobs in District 1. 
I am always available for you by phone, by email, or in person.  Please let me know if you have questions or thoughts. There will be ample opportunity for you to connect with me in the future. 
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
 

January 24, 2015
Sibley
11:00am -12:00pm
Sibley Community Library

406 9th Street
January 31, 2015
Rock Rapids
8:00am-9:30am
Forster Community Center
404 Main Street
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

School Funding
State Aid to Schools over the last four years (FY 11-15) has increased $421 million or 16.6%.  If Education Reform dollars are included that number jumps to $471 million or 18.6%.  If the Governor’s plan for FY 16 is included that number jumps to $554 or 21.9%.
That is a tremendous investment in our K-12 schools over the last 4 years especially considering statewide enrollment has been relatively flat.
According to the Department of Education’s Allocation Summary documents, Iowa will spend $10,231 per student in FY 15.  That means in classroom of 20, Iowa spends just over $200,000.
If we adopted the 6% increase in supplemental state aid for education pushed by Democrats in FY 16, the state would spend 104.4% of on-going revenue. 
If the Legislature approved the 6% increase in supplemental state aid for education pushed by Democrats, revenue growth in FY 16 would need to be about 8.63%.  Add the FY 2016 funding for the Education Reform package, and revenue growth would need to be 9.54%.  Over the last 20 years, revenue growth has averaged 3.27%.
Or, if 6% Supplemental State Aid is approved, $316.7 million would need to be cut to balance spending with on-going revenue.  That’s like not funding both the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa or shifting the cost of Iowa’s mental health system to property taxpayers.
Statistics that show Iowa is in 35th place nationally in regards to per-pupil spending are questionable.  Notably that ranking comes from the NEA and its inherent union biases. The US Dept. of Education’s National Center for Educational Statistics shows Iowa in 28th place.
The result of increasing state spending to unsustainable levels and spending one-time money for ongoing expenses mixed with an economic collapse caused education funding in this state to take a $530 million loss in one single year (FY 2010).  The state is still recovering from that loss.  That recovery is only possible if we spend less than we collect. 
If you use the 35th in the nation ranking of per-pupil spending and the dollars associated with it, Iowa taxpayers would need to back over $767 million in additional spending this year to the national average.  Iowans would face a 20.55% income tax increase to support this level of spending.  If Iowa wanted to be in the top 10 in per pupil spending, Iowa taxpayers would need to pony up over $2.8 BILLION in additional spending.  Iowans would face a 76.82% income tax increase to support this level of spending.
According to a Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice study in 2013, 66% of Iowans do not think per-pupil spending is too low and 65% believe the public school system is either good or excellent.
Governor Branstad increases Supplemental State Aid by 1.25% or $50 million and provides the second installment of $50 million for the teacher leadership component of the 2013 Education reform law.  AEA funding is once again be reduced by $15 million.  This increase of $84.8 million raises State school aid funding to $3.0086 billion. 
Among the other K-12 education increases provided by the Governor in FY 2016 are $10 million for the High Need Schools program, a $1.5 million increase for the Reading Research Center, $1.0 for the Iowa Reading Corps, and $200,000 for bullying prevention.
 

News from the District

Ammunition manufacturer moving from Minnesota to Iowa

Capital Armament -- A Minnesota company that makes gun accessories and ammunition is relocating to northwest Iowa. Capital Armament Company is moving from Mendota Heights, a suburb on the southern side of the Twin Cities, to Sibley.  Mike Earll, the director of the Osceola County Economic Development Commission, says the company started moving its operations into a rented facility in Sibley on January 5.  “They’re taking some time to get things set up and ready to go and then their hope is to actually be back in production the first part of February or even, if things go well, then end of January here yet,” Earll says.  This fall, the company will move from the temporary space and into a new, eight-thousand-square-foot facility in the Osceola County Industrial Park. Capital Armament makes “specialized ammunition” with “smokeless gunpowder,” according to Earll.  “What they do is they provide this high-quality ammunition for professional shooting contests as well as for law enforcement personnel and that type of thing,” Earll says.  Six people, including the company’s three owners, will work at the rental facility when it gets up and running within the next few weeks.  Within three years, the firm’s owners hope to employ about three dozen people at the facility in Sibley.  (Reporting by Ryan Long, KICD, Spencer)

Fun Fact from District 1

Where in the World is Blood Run National Historic Landmark?
 
One of the most significant places of beauty and history in our state is located along the Big Sioux River in the northwest corner of Iowa.  The nearly 3,000 acre site straddles the river in both Iowa and South Dakota.  Its significance comes, not simply from its pastoral beauty, but because it is the ancestral home of the Ioway, Omaha, Oto and the Ponca Indian tribes.
 
Specifically the area is located about five miles east of the intersection of the three States of South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa near the newly constructed Grand Falls Casino and Resort.  It is about half way between Sioux Falls, S.D. and Larchwood, IA just to the south of Highway 9.  In fact, it is adjacent to the little community of Granite.
 
Although a majority of the site remains privately owned it is recognized not only by its national landmark designation but has been evaluated by the National Park Service as an area qualified for inclusion in the National Park System.
 
For the descendants of the Ioway, Omaha, Oto and Ponca tribes, this is a place of reverence, spiritual value, memories to celebrate the heritage of these great nations and a place where their ancestors have been laid to rest
 
Over the years the area has had and continues to experience a number of land use changes and intrusions such as: housing development along the bluff lines, on-going farm operations and gravel quarrying.  However, during the past three decades interest in the site has grown.  South Dakota has begun acquiring land for what is known as Good Earth State Park.  Plans are being completed for the initial development of that area west of the Big Sioux River and are proceeding swiftly.

If you would like to learn more about Blood Run National Historic Landmark there is a book available for purchase at:

http://www.iowan.com/shop/?blood_run_the_silent_city&show=product&productID=282986&productCategoryIDs=787

Map of the Week

The map of the week is of the Consolidated Property Tax Rate Average for School District - FY 2015. 

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

 

Legislators Host Local Homeschooled Students

 

(DES MOINES) – Sen. Dave Johnson (R-Ocheyedan) and Rep. John Wills (R-Spirit Lake) met with constituents and homeschooled students at the Capitol this week.

 

Pictured here are Eva Allan, Abram Allan, Ezra Allan, Angela Allan, Bev VerSteeg, and Gene VerSteeg with Sen. Johnson and Rep. Wills.

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