House Republican Caucus Newsletter – August 21

newsletter thumbnailA new August 2014 newsletter is available for viewing.  Click the link below to view the PDF version:

Caucus Newsletter 8-21-2014

In this edition:

  • New Teaching System Goes Live in 39 Districts this Fall
  • Study of State Employee Health Plans Shows Iowa Taxpayers Footing Almost All the Bill
  • Judge Rules Against the Use of Telemedicine Abortion System

The Relative Value of $100 in the USA

Every Monday the Tax Foundation releases a national map with relevant data dealing with taxes, among other things.  This week’s Monday Map shows the relative value of $100 in all 50 state and the District of Columbia.  Iowa scores very well in this analysis as the real value of every $100 is actually worth $111.73.  The Tax Foundation explains:

This week’s tax map shows the real value of $100 in each state. Because average prices for similar goods are much higher in California or New York than in Mississippi or South Dakota, the same amount of dollars will buy you comparatively less in the high-price states, or comparatively more in low-price states. Using data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis that we’ve written aboutpreviously, we adjust the value of $100 to reflect how prices are different in each state.

For example, Iowa is a low-price state, where $100 will buy what would cost $111.73 in another state that is closer to the national average. You can think of this as meaning that Iowans are about ten percent richer than their nominal incomes suggest.

Check out the map below to see how Iowa compares to the rest of the country.

100 Relative Value TF


Policy Spotlight: House File 2452

Policy Spotlight

First-Time Homebuyers Savings Accounts

This session House Republicans passed House File 2452 that would have allowed first-time homebuyers to place money into a tax-free savings account that could be put towards the purchase of a home.  The bill would have allowed every Iowan whom had never owned a home to annually deduct contributions made to an interest-bearing savings account for ten years.  The deduction would have been capped at $3,000 per individual or $6,000 per married couple each year.  In addition, the interest and earnings accruing to the account would be tax exempt.

The legislation was designed to help first-time homebuyers save money for purchasing a home and provided them with roughly $10 million in tax relief over the next five years.  The bill would have been beneficial to realtors as well.  Additionally, home builders, banks and credit unions likely would have benefited from the legislation.  Even though the bill was aimed at helping only first-time buyers, its effects would have been felt more broadly.  The housing industry is an important sector of the Iowa economy and would have spurred debt-free investment in the housing market, creating greater housing demand, higher home values and more jobs in the home construction industry.

This bill passed out of the House, but unfortunately was never brought up by the Senate.


Candidate Profile: Mike Sexton

M SextonMike Sexton is seeking his first term in the Iowa House.  Mike is running in House District 10 which includes Calhoun, Humboldt, and Pocahontas Counties, and portions of Webster County.

Mike grew up in Rockwell City on the family farm and graduated from Rockwell City High School.  He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Ag Business from Iowa Lakes Community College.  Mike and his wife, Becky, started two small businesses that they currently manage.  Twin Lake Environmental Services is a consulting firm with a goal of keeping family farmers on their land.  Real Time Ag is a software company specializing in keeping producers current with regulatory reporting.

Mike was first elected to the Iowa Senate in 1998.  He chose not to seek reelection in 2002 so he could spend more time with his children while they were still at home.

Mike serves as President on the Rockwell City Lytton School Board.  He and his wife have five children and attend Rockwell City Presbyterian Church.


Candidate Profile: Brian Best

BestBrian Best, of Glidden, is seeking his first term in the Iowa House.  He is running for House District 12 which includes Audubon and Carroll Counties and eastern Crawford County.

Brian was born and raised on a farm south of Glidden.  He graduated from Glidden-Ralston High School and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Science from the University of Northern Iowa.  He earned a degree as a Certified Respiratory Therapist in 1991 and is licensed as a Respiratory Care Practitioner by the State of Iowa.  Brian has worked in the medical field since 1984.

Brian and his wife, Sharon, started a family-owned business, Bestmed Respiratory in 2001 and in 2005, they opened Western Iowa Sleep (a sleep testing facility).  Both facilities are located in Carroll.  Bestmed specializes in equipment for seniors and patients who wish to remain living in their homes.  They began their businesses with one full-time employee, and now employ five people.

Brian is currently serving on the Planning and Zoning Board.  He and his wife have four children; Haley of Iowa City, Chelsey of Davenport, Amy of Waukee, and Lori who lives in Carroll.

You can find Brian on Facebook here.


House Republicans at the Iowa State Fair


Meet Our Members – Jeff Smith

smith oath

Representative Jeff Smith is currently serving his second term in the Iowa House.  He represents Iowa’s 1st District which includes Okoboji, Rock Rapids, and Spirit Lake.

Rep. Smith is the Chairman of the Ethics committee, and also serves on the Administration & Rules, Administrative Rules Review, Commerce, Environmental Protection, and Natural Resources committees.

Jeff was born June 23, 1967, to Garth and Marilynn Smith of Plover, Iowa. Jeff has one sister, who lives in Aurora, Colorado and one brother, who lives in Levelland, Texas.

Read more »


Fisher Donates to Gilman Fire Department

fisher gilman

(DES MOINES)-  Rep. Dean Fisher (R-Garwin) recently donated $500 of his unused legislative expenses to the Gilman Fire Department who will use the money for equipment and upgrades.  This year, Rep. Fisher has donated more than $2,000 to Volunteer Fire Departments throughout his legislative district.

Pictured here is Rep. Fisher with members of the Gilman Fire Department.


Throwback Thursday!

Rep. Linda Upmeyer with the Iowa Pork Queen in 2003 prior to being elected Majority Leader.



Candidate Profile: John Wills

Wills headshotJohn Wills, of Spirit Lake, is seeking his first term in the Iowa House.  He is seeking election to the House in House District 1 which includes Lyon and Osceola Counties, and most of Dickinson County.

John grew up in Sibley, graduated from Sibley Community High School, and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Northwestern College in Orange City.  He also holds two Master’s Degrees.  John and his wife, Cami, have three adult children.

John has been involved in water quality and conservation work for more than 15 years.  He is the Vice President of the Okoboji Protective Association and works to protect water resources.  He also currently serves in the National Guard and has been in the military for 25 years, serving numerous deployments overseas.

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