Newsletter: Rozenboom Report (1/31/2014)

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Senate Republicans are working with Governor Branstad to try to find a solution to the sudden increase in propane prices. Propane prices more than tripled this month, skyrocketing from $1.30 per gallon to more than $4.30 over a 10-day span. The soaring propane prices have many concerned as this issue impacts our entire state.

The spike in propane prices throughout the Midwest is being attributed to several factors, including the extended cold weather, delivery issues and ag producers requiring more propane for drying corn this fall than in previous years. A good supply of propane exists, but not in the Midwest. The Governor sent a letter to urge the U.S. Department of Transportation on Monday asking to expand the exemption to hours of service regulations to help ease the movement of propane to Iowa, which could help reduce cost and any other regulatory barriers in shipping.

The U.S. Department of Transportation granted the emergency declaration Wednesday through February 11. Exempting the hours of service regulations in Iowa and other Midwestern states will enable the trucking industry to speed up delivery service of propane and home heating fuels, which will help reduce propane prices to a more reasonable level.

Iowa veterans received a unanimous 46-vote salute Monday with the passage of Senate File 303. Standing with Iowa veterans, my colleagues and I voted to eliminate the state income tax on military pensions. Passing this bill moves our state in the right direction when it comes to competing with neighboring states that have a similar exemption already in place. This legislation will play a key role in recruiting new veterans to Iowa, which will help expand Iowa’s skilled workforce and enhance economic development opportunities across the state.

The legislation impacts veterans receiving a pension for their service in the armed forces, military reserve and National Guard. The bill would begin for the tax year starting on January 1, 2014, once it is passed in the Iowa House and receives Governor Terry Branstad’s signature. When the bill becomes law the entire state would benefit from the state income tax exemption on military pensions.

This was the first significant piece of legislation to be brought to the floor for a vote. Senate Republicans and Democrats worked in a bi-partisan manner to make the income tax exemption a reality. Everyone agreed completely that this was of great significance to Iowa’s veterans and our state. Now, we must shift our focus to all Iowans. The military pension income tax exemption is an important first step. However, I believe we can do even better. Senate Republicans believe both sides of the aisle must work together in the future to create solutions to provide all seniors a pension income tax exemption. By crafting this important legislation, we can make great strides in keeping more of our seniors living in Iowa instead of moving out of our state.

Please join me in one of our legislative forums coming up. I’ll be at the Bridgeview Center in Ottumwa at 9:30 am, Saturday, February 1, Eggs and Issues at Smokey Row in Oskaloosa at 8:30 am Saturday, February 8, and at the Chariton Valley Planning office located at 308 N 12th, Centerville, at 10:00 am, Saturday February 15.

Senator Ken Rozenboom

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