Last week Governor Branstad rolled out his "Jobs Plan" for putting Iowans back to work. A major part of his plan is the restructuring of the Iowa Department of Economic Development.
The Iowa Partnership for Economic Progress, under the leadership of Debi Durham, will eliminate the alphabet soup of incentive programs, develop a customer service attitude, use best practices of public and private sector, and create a 501c3 non-profit organization to house the Iowa Innovation Council.
Other major proposals are the lowering of both commercial property taxes and corporate income taxes. Both came up repeatedly on the campaign trail. The challenge is how to pay for the reductions. I will keep you up to speed as the proposal unfolds.
I held my second subcommittee meeting regarding SSB 1098, a bill establishing the reportable damage to a new car. The original bill would have set 5% of the dealer's cost as the threshold. However, the Attorney General's office raised concerns and drafted an amendment with tiered disclosure requirements. The subcommittee requested that all interested parties sit down and reach a compromise. Ultimately an agreement was reached with 4% as the new standard for reportable damage. The bill will move to the full committee next week, and then the senate floor.
The Ways and Means Committee was introduced to Courtney Kay-Decker, the Governor's nominee for the Director of the Department of Revenue. Her nomination was approved and added to the individual calendar for confirmation.
A bill relating to the Endow Iowa tax credit passed through the committee. It will increase the amount of tax credits that are available under the Endow Iowa Program. The amount available for the program will increase from $2.7 million to $3.5 million.
In Labor and Business we met with the Governor's Workforce Development nominee, Teresa Wahlert. Director Wahlert shared her background and took questions. She is an impressive nominee who brings energy and new ideas to the position. She will play an important role in accomplishing Governor Branstad's job creation goals.
I wanted to take a moment to let all of you know how much I appreciate your attendance at my recent town hall meetings. Two weeks ago in Pierson, I had over 30 people attend our meeting; one of the largest crowds yet. I would encourage you to take time to meet with your legislators, and I hope all of you are able to attend a forum at some point. There are a number of town halls left, including those scheduled for March, which are listed at the end of this newsletter. I look forward to seeing you.
Last week was a great week for visitors. I had realtors from Sioux City and Cherokee, and students from Marcus, Meriden, Cleghorn and Cherokee community schools. It is always a pleasure to see my good friend Joan Ballantyne from Cherokee.
Thank you again for giving me the opportunity to serve as your senator. Please feel free to contact me with questions, comments and ideas. You may reach me at 712-898-2505 or send an email to email@example.com. Please forward my newsletter on to your family and friends. If you would like to be added to my email list send me your contact information. Until next time, have a great week.
March Town Halls
Saturday, March 5
· Sergeant Bluff Town Hall, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., Community Center, 903 Topaz
· Sioux City Town, Hall, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Morningside Public Library, 4005 Morningside
Saturday, March 12
· Larrabee Town Hall, 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Fire station, 106 N. Main
· Cherokee Town Hall, 11 a.m. to noon, Western Iowa Tech, 200 Victory Dr.
· Quimby Town Hall, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., City Council Chambers, 101 E. 2nd