Accomplishments of the 2013 Legislature

When we began the eighty-fifth General Assembly, House Republicans committed to focusing on ways to make Iowa strong — creating certainty with balanced budgets and promoting job creation through tax relief and reform and strong schools and communities.  As we close the session, House Republicans are proud to have fulfilled these commitments.

Strong Economy

Iowa has the third highest commercial property taxes in the nation and the 16th highest residential property taxes in the nation. Iowans were very clear that want property tax reform and relief this year at the statehouse.

The Legislature passed tax relief and reform that:

  • Includes property tax relief for all classifications of property.
  • Is meaningful, inclusive and reliable reform so taxpayers can count on relief from year to year.
  • Limits assessment growth from 4 percent to 3 percent on ag and residential taxpayers
  • Includes a 10 percent rollback on taxable value for commercial and industrial property.
  • Is approximately $560 million in property tax relief once fully implemented.
  • Ensures residential taxpayers receive as much relief as commercial taxpayers.
  • Develops a permanent mechanism for the taxpayer trust fund tax credit, giving the overpayment back to taxpayers.

*Additional legislation making Iowa’s ECONOMY STRONG*
For the first time in a decade the Homestead Tax Credit is fully funded.  House Republicans led the way for the passage of a tax credit helping beginning farmers succeed.  Finally, House Republicans invested resources in jobs and economic development initiatives aimed at getting Iowans back to work and improving Iowa’s economy.

Strong Budget Leadership

Three years ago, Iowa faced a $900 million budget shortfall.  As the 2013 session ends, Iowa is spending less than it collects for the third consecutive year, our budget reserves remain full and the ending balance is projected to be $600 million.  This is a significant departure from how government operated in the past when legislators and governors spent more than the state collected.

The Legislature stuck to the core budgeting principles of:

  • Do not spend more money than the state takes in.
  • Do not use one-time money to pay for on-going expenses.
  • Do not intentionally underfund entitlement programs to balance the state’s budget.
  • Return unused tax dollars to Iowa’s taxpayers.

The bipartisan budgets passed this session:

  • Result in 3 percent growth over fiscal year 2013 which is less than the 3.5 percent projected revenue growth.
  • Spend merely 88 percent of what the state is allowed to spend.
  • Fully-fund property tax credits for the first time since 2002.
  • Fund the regents universities to a level where student tuition is frozen for the 2013-2014 school year.

*Additional legislation displaying STRONG BUDGET LEADERSHIP*
House Republicans led the way on debt reduction by using a portion of the ending balance to pay off $114 million in commitments earlier than required while also fulfilling our obligations in regards to pension funds.  Additionally House Republicans made substantial investments in water quality and one-time infrastructure projects at the regents universities.

The Republican-led Debt Reduction bill:

  • Pays off $114 million in state debt years earlier than required.
  • Fulfills a promise made by previous legislatures to the Judicial Retirement System and the Peace Officer’s Retirement System by making a $110.2 million payment to bring both pension funds to the obligated 80 percent threshold.
  • Makes an investment of $34.1 million to one-time infrastructure projects at Iowa State University, the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa.
  • Invests $20 million into water quality initiatives through the Iowa Department of Agriculture.

Strong Schools and Communities

House Republicans are committed to improving the quality and rigor of the education our children are receiving.  Students must possess the skills necessary to succeed in college or in the workforce.

The Legislature passed education reform that:

  • Offers flexibility for school districts, innovation for teachers, accountability for parents and protection for taxpayers.
  • Brings new approaches and measureable results to the system.
  • Includes choice for parents and strengthens the role of the parent, not the government.
  • Adds modern evaluation and accountability measures to ensure Iowa students are receiving  first-rate instruction.

*Additional legislation passed to help build STRONG SCHOOLS AND COMMUNITIES*
House Republicans strengthened the state’s commitment to our private colleges through the tuition grant program.  Public and private schools were targeted for additional support through the education reform plan and school tuition organizations.  Building on previous commitments, House Republicans continued our collaboration with community colleges on workforce training and job creation.  In the final days of the session House Republicans crafted a bipartisan health care plan that focuses on making Iowans healthier without bowing to federal pressure to expand Medicaid.  Since the plan focuses on health, wellness and prevention, costs can be controlled at the state level saving taxpayers money.