Living expenses and clerical support end Tuesday. We still do not have an ending date. Rumors are floating around that we should be prepared, this week, for a “long” week, possibly staying into the weekend.
The only budget bill not reaching the House is Health and Human Services. With 18 of the 100 Representatives retiring, we are hearing lots of retirement speeches. It is very interesting to hear how this experience has affected their lives.
School start date
This was a heavily debated issue this week on the floor of the House. Many families, businesses and tourism groups want a uniform start date to help increase profits and sales tax receipts for Iowa.
Many teachers, school boards and school administrators, want “local rule” and argue longer summer breaks can hurt student achievement. I heard from constituents that were both supporters and opponents.
The House bill, HF-2462, states Iowa schools would be able to start on the fourth Monday of August, but no earlier. With the failure to pass the amendment that aligned college start dates with K-12, I voted against this bill.
The bill passed the House, with bipartisan support, by a 56 to 44 vote. The Senate passed its own version of education reform last Monday but it was on a party-line vote. It remains to be seen what the end result will be.
This governmental financing tool has been used for years by many cities and counties to spur economic development and to expand services. The program basically captures property tax revenues and directly allocates those funds for specific purposes, instead of having these taxes going into the general fund and be eventually split between the cities, counties and schools.
Recently, many feel there have been blatant abuses. So, HF-2460 was written to try to eliminate these perceived abuses. One of the primary changes has to do with getting a consensus between the three taxing entities; city, county and school board. I believe this legislation adds more oversight while not taking away the use of this tool.
The bill passed the House, with bipartisan support, by a vote of 54 to 43, with three not voting. After passage, the bill was sent to the Senate.
Sales tax exemption for Iowa Department of Public Health
HF-2448/SF-2333 is a bill I managed on the floor to provide a sales tax exemption for the sale of tangible personal property or services to substance abuse treatment or prevention programs that receive block grant funding from the Iowa Department of Public Health. It passed with 94 votes favoring and six not voting.
Firefighter tax credit
Over the last 10 years, similar bills have been filed but none were passed. On Wednesday, in our Ways and Means committee, I led a bipartisan effort to provide volunteer firefighters and emergency medical services personnel with an individual income tax credit equal to $50 per year for voluntary services.
If signed into law, the tax credit bill, SF-2322, will become effective Jan. 1, 2013. The bill is now eligible to be debated by the full House.
Fee increases for vehicles
Trail fees for snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles and watercraft will be increased to generate funds to increase the amount and improve the quality of public trails used for such activities. The bill, HF-2467, passed the House by a vote of 89 to 3 with eight not voting.
It was sent to the Senate on Wednesday.
On the home front
Won’t be long before the crops go in.
I spent much of last weekend spraying pastures with my four-wheeler and have to continue spraying this weekend.
I also have to haul three loads of hogs to the Farmland plant in Monmouth, Ill. With the addition of another bottle calf last week, I have to thank Brooklynn for stepping up and helping out.
Brian Moore, a Republican from Zwingle, represents Iowa House District 25 in the Iowa Legislature.