Speaker Upmeyer’s Closing Remarks for the 2017 Session

This was a session in which we all came in a little unsure of how to read the message from the election. What seemed clear however, is that voters were tired of the status quo and they weren’t very interested in shoulder shrugs or finger-pointing from their representatives.

Voters wanted government to get work done and to work on their behalf. In short, the message from Iowans is that they wanted a better deal.

We took that to heart and while congress still looks like a pickup truck stuck in mud, we rolled our sleeves up and got to work.

Rather than being restrained by tradition or status quo, we accepted the challenge of doing the hard things.

We addressed budget shortfalls in January with thoughtful adjustments in spending. We didn’t use gimmicks to shift spending and we didn’t do clumsy across the board cuts that would have slashed school funding and jeopardized critical services.

The budget didn’t get any easier from there, but we signed up for a tough job, and Iowans expect us to take on those difficult tasks.

Vice President Biden is often quoted in this chamber for saying, “Show me your budget and I’ll show you your priorities.”

True words… and in the face of budget shortfalls, I am proud that Iowans can see our priorities.

They will see that above all, we are investing in our children’s education. They will see that we are investing in public safety. They will see that we are investing in our middle class through workforce training and our incredible community colleges.

We came here to give Iowans a better deal, and we delivered.

In education, we dedicated $40 million in additional money to K-12 education at a time when the budget is shrinking.

For the first time in years, the conversation on education expanded beyond the school aid number. One-size does not fit all for our communities and their schools. We listened to school districts and gave them flexibility to use their funds to address their specific needs. We empowered them to enact policies that fit their needs and to innovate by giving schools home rule authority.

Thanks to the work we have done here, those in our communities and those in the classroom are being empowered to offer our children the world-class education they deserve.

The taxpayers of Iowa got a better deal this year. With collective bargaining reform their tax dollars can be used more effectively. Good employees can be rewarded, we will no longer make the taxpayers of Iowa responsible for collecting unions dues, and taxpayers will no longer be treated like an unlimited source of income for salaries and benefits.

This is just the start of a conversation however. Our tax system is overbearing, over-complicated, and uncompetitive. Our top personal income tax rate is the fourth highest in the country. Our corporate income tax rate is the highest in the nation.

Iowans deserve a better deal!

We should put everything on the table and focus on reform that makes our tax system fairer and simpler.

How about this for a better deal? Less tax breaks for the few and well-connected, and in its place lower taxes for all Iowans!

I am committed to making Iowa the best place to raise a family and grow a business. I know those are shared goals in this chamber.

Iowans can be proud of this session and the work we accomplished this year.

Now, let’s go home, listen, and lay the foundation for another great session next year!

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Dansette