Newsletter: Rozenboom Report (2/19/2016)

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We are nearly halfway through session and just passed through the first “funnel” this week. Funnel week is a self-imposed deadline for the legislature to get bills passed through standing committees in either the House or the Senate in order to keep those bills alive for the rest of the session. Funnel week helps us narrow our focus on bills that have gained support in at least one chamber. Any bills, aside from tax or appropriations bills, which do not make it through the first funnel are considered dead for this year. Many legislators have been busy trying to get their bills through to make sure they have a chance at debate and a vote.

On Thursday, Senator Joe Bolkcom (D – Iowa City) announced that Senate Democrats will not bring the “coupling” bill up for debate and vote. In his announcement, Bolkcom said, “we simply cannot afford to couple with federal changes this year and responsibly balance the state budget.” This is devastating news for small businesses and farmers across Iowa. This legislation, which normally passes the first or second week of the session, couples Iowa tax law with federal tax law. Why is this so important? Because the failure to do this will essentially result in a $96 million tax increase on small businesses and farmers, damaging our already-fragile Iowa economy. This tax penalty will discourage the purchase of new equipment, which will impact Iowa’s manufacturing industry and the jobs that manufacturing provides. Moreover, this will prevent teachers from taking a $250 deduction for classroom materials they provided from their own pocket, and it disallows homeowners from taking a tax deduction for their mortgage insurance costs.

Coupling with Section 179 works to keep Iowa’s economy strong. By conforming to the federal government on federal tax depreciation changes, we encourage our small business owners and farmers to purchase new equipment, investing back into Iowa. I am thoroughly disgusted that state spending has outpaced our revenues. This is precisely why we conservatives constantly push back against excessive spending, and why we can’t give everyone everything they demand. Agriculture was the one bright spot a few years ago when the state economy was stagnant. Now, agriculture is being stabbed in the back with this failure to do what we’ve always done in the past.

Earlier this week, the Natural Resources and Environment committee unanimously passed a resolution calling for an amendment to the Iowa Constitution that “Iowa citizens have the right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife in a reasonable manner.” The resolution further states that “hunting and fishing is the preferred method of managing wildlife resources.” If this resolution passes the Senate and the House, it must be adopted by the next General Assembly in 2017 or 2018 and then put to the people of Iowa for a vote. Why is this necessary? Because there are activists who would like to do away with those time-honored hobbies and traditions. By placing this language in the Iowa Constitution, we can prevent that from ever happening.

Thank you to all who send e-mails or call me during the session, and also to those who attend the legislative forums. Please continue to let me know what you think about legislation being considered.

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