This week in the House, Maj. Gen. Tim Orr, adjutant general of the Iowa National Guard presented his Condition of the Guard address to the House and Senate. Maj. Gen. Orr described some of the challenges facing Guard members including looking for professional opportunities, less resources from the Federal government, and an “increasing complex and competitive security environment.”
He also highlighted the governor’s Home Base Iowa program which he believes will offer more opportunities for Iowa’s military families. The bills which make up this program have begun to work their way through the legislative process and are getting hearings in the House and Senate.
I always appreciate Maj. Gen. Orr’s address and update on the Guard. I am thankful for all of the hardworking men and women in the Iowa National Guard, their families, and for the sacrifices they make.
As tax season is upon us, I wanted to highlight a change on your tax forms.
One of my guiding principles is to return unused tax dollars to Iowans. This means, once the state has honored the previous spending commitments and funded shared priorities, any remaining tax collections are an overpayment by the taxpayers. It is your money and should be returned. Last session I supported using some of that overpayment in key one-time investments, saving some and sending the rest to the hardworking Iowans who sent it in in the first place.
As part of the property tax relief bill which was signed into law last year, the Legislature created the Taxpayers Trust Fund Income Tax Credit which is the mechanism for returning the overpayment of taxes. After the budget reserves are full and the rainy day fund is secured, any unused tax dollars are returned directly to your pockets.
Currently, there are no other states in the country that have an automatic refund of unused tax dollars set up like Iowa’s. To receive the tax credit, you simply complete the information on this year’s tax form.
I will continue to focus on spending less than the state collects, paying off debts, and sending the rest back to the hardworking taxpayers who sent the state their money in the first place – spend some, save some and send some back. Iowa is currently scored as one of the best managed states in the nation as a result of the fiscal discipline we have shown these last years.
Additionally, I have also committed to focusing on creating opportunities for and encouraging hardworking Iowans to get the training needed to fill the jobs available. There is very little that strengthens families more than education and training. It is important the Legislature send a message that encourages Iowans to pursue training and education in fields that are in demand.
Last year the Legislature made an assurance to Iowa students and families by freezing tuition at state universities.
The Legislature increased resources at the state’s community colleges by 22% or $34.5 million over the last three years and created the skilled worker initiative.
When it comes to K-12 funding, Iowa spends about $10,000 per K-12 student every year and the state share of education funding is at its highest level in the last 30 years.
By making these investments, the Legislature is not only committed to increasing educational opportunities for Iowans, but also limiting the amount of debt young people and families are saddled with upon graduation.
This year I will once again work to expand these opportunities to Iowans.
Thank you to those who have been sending me their thoughts on bills coming before the Legislature, I appreciate hearing from you. If you would like to weigh in, please contact my office at (515) 281-3521 or email me at email@example.com