Alive After the Second Funnel

From Republican Leader Kraig Paulsen:
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Last week was eventful in the Legislature. It was the second “funnel” deadline and if a non-Appropriations or non-Ways and Means bill that did not make it through a committee in the other Chamber it is no longer eligible for debate as a standalone bill.

I expect this week to be rather eventful also. We seem to be moving towards adjournment for the year but several significant items remain. I continue to be disappointed by the Legislature’s lack of effort towards any bills that help put Iowans back to work. I also have some significant concerns about the budget.

Below is a list of some of the proposals that seem to have some life in them.

Budget
Budget bills are beginning to move. It is unclear what the final budget will look like. What I do know is this: the current budget year is out of balance by $70+ million and next year’s proposed budget does not match with projected revenues and therefore is currently out of balance. My expectation is that both of these will be brought into balance with some combination of federal stimulus dollars, other one time sources, and tax or fee increases. Regardless, it appears there will be significant gaps to fill when the “one time” dollars go away.

Republicans have offered over $215 million in budgetary cost savings. Click here http://iowahouserepublicans.com/republicans-offer-budget-reductions-to-the-fy-2010-budget for the complete list.

Federal Deductibility
Regarding the repeal of Iowans’ ability to deduct their federal income taxes from their state income a new version has been introduced. It is slightly improved, but continues to be a massive tax increase on Iowans.

Based on the information we received from the Department of Revenue the total tax increase on Iowans over the next five tax years equals $460 million.

Tax Year 2009: -$20 million
Tax Year 2010: -$35 million
Tax Year 2011: $154 million
Tax Year 2012: $157 million
Tax Year 2013: $149 million

Further, the plan continues to have “winners” and “losers” in every income tax bracket. Winners are those who will receive a tax cut – winners are those who will see a tax increase.

Individual Filers/ Winners vs. Losers and No Change

Tax Year | Winners | Losers/No Change | % of Winners vs. Losers/No Changes
2009 | 818,921 | 541,108 | 60%winners vs. 40%losers/no change
2010 | 825,496 | 541,506 | 60%winners vs. 40%losers/no change
2011 | 595,650 | 777,322 | 43%winners vs. 57%losers/no change
2012 | 598,747 | 778,738 | 43%winners vs. 57%losers/no change
2013 | 616,275 | 764,954 | 44%winners vs. 56%losers/no change

If we want to get serious about cutting taxes, Republicans are more than willing to work side by side with Democrats to offer REAL tax relief including the lowering of tax rates. However, we are not interested in removing one of Iowans’ largest tax deduction so that state government has more money to spend.

Marriage
In 1998, the Legislature overwhelmingly passed bipartisan legislation protecting marriage as between a man and a woman. On April 3rd the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that this provision is unconstitutional and therefore same-sex marriage is legal in Iowa.

There is now a divide between the legislative and judicial branches and Iowans should be permitted to weigh in and have the final say on this question. Two attempts were made last week to debate this question and both were rebuffed by the majority party leadership. I believe marriage is between one man and one woman and this is an appropriate question for the voters of Iowa to decide.

Repeal of Iowa’s Right-to Work law (aka “Fair Share”)
This proposal did not make it out of a committee and therefore should be dead for the year. I’ll continue to keep my eyes open so that it is not slipped in somewhere. However, it appears the votes are not there to pass it.

Prevailing Wage
This bill remains debatable in the House. However, the vote count appears to continue to be one vote short of passage. There is some talk of it being added into the Governor’s Bonding Proposal. Again, we’ll keep our eyes open and be ready to work against this proposal and the significant property tax increases that would result from its passage.

Doctor Shopping / Employee Choice of Doctor
This bill also continues to remain debatable in the House. But like prevailing wage appears to not have the number of votes necessary for final passage. It is my understanding that a working group continues to work on a compromise proposal. However, some of the differences appear irreconcilable at this point.

Collective Bargaining (Chapter 20) changes
There is no specific proposal before the Legislature similar to the Chapter 20 bill that was passed last year and then subsequently vetoed by the governor. Recall though that there wasn’t last year either until a Chapter 20 “cleanup bill” was brought to the House floor. That very same cleanup bill continues to be eligible for debate this year.

As always, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. For a full list of legislators see http://www.legis.state.ia.us/aspx/Legislators/LegislatorInfo.aspx. My contact information is kraig.paulsen@legis.state.ia.us or 515-281-3521.

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