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Tax relief to be addressed in 2020 legislative session

A view looking up at the dome within Iowa State Capitol Building from its rotunda.
A view looking up at the dome within Iowa State Capitol Building from its rotunda.

DES MOINES –áThe 2020 Iowa legislative session is slated to begin Monday and the governor and top lawmakers are detailing their top priorities for the year.

At the annual AP legislative forum Tuesday, both Democratic and Republican leadership signaled potential bipartisanship on issues like tax relief, child care, criminal justice reform, marijuana and workforce development.

Tax relief

Both Republican and Democratic leaders believe the 2020 election year session will feature a discussion of state tax policies inclusive of income, sales, property and business taxes.

Gov. Kim Reynolds and Republicans – who hold the majorities of 32-18 in the Iowa Senate and 53-47 in the Iowa House – ultimately want to build on tax-relief efforts they started in 2018 in an attempt to ease the tax burden of their constituents, simplify portions of the tax code and make the state more competitive with other states.

Sen. Tom Shipley, R-Nodaway, wants to see his district – which hinges on the Nebraska border, to be more competitive with the neighboring state, who said one of the largest issues is the rates of property tax in Iowa versus Nebraska.

“Our rates are still higher than Nebraska,” said Shipley. “But you got to figure out ways to replace revenues. You can’t just always cut expenses. You have to find another source of revenue, too.”

When asked if he believes state-wide tax-relief will be passed this session, Shipley said he thinks it can be done.

“It’s just a matter of what it’s going to look like. That stuff gets really complicated and takes a long time to work on.”

We’re going to continue to work on mental health, children’s mental health specifically. That’s one big issue that we’ll want to get restarted down the path and we want to continue to improve upon it.

From my perspective, ... we’ve got to do some things to help with flood relief along the Missouri River. That’s part of my district also and some of those people still haven’t been in their home since last March. People don’t understand the problem is still very much in play over there.

Criminal justice

For Reynolds, criminal justice reform will remain a priority; especially her push for a Constitutional amendment that would automatically restore convicted felons’ voting rights once they serve their time.

House Minority Leader Todd Prichard, D-Charles City said Reynolds’ failure to use an executive order to push the legislation through is a “black eye on the issue.”

“This hesitation is preventing people who have the right to vote and time is of the essence,” he said.

Despite Prichard’s frustration, Reynolds said her office has made the issue a priority and will review the backlog of 347 applications ahead of the Feb. 3 caucuses.

Legislative coffees

The Creston Chamber of Commerce is hosting three legislative coffees 8 a.m. Feb. 8, March 4 and April 11 at the Creston Restored Depot, 116 W. Adams St.

During this event, constituents of these districts will be able to address and question Iowa House Representative Tom Moore (District 21) and Iowa Senator Tom Shipley (District 11) on the issues that matter to them most.

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