(AP Photo/Iowa House)
Iowa currently has the second highest commercial property taxes in the country. It also has the 16th highest residential taxes in the nation. So the main goal of the bill is to reduce the tax burden on all classes of property, especially commercial rates.
A second goal is to make sure that there is not a tax shift from one class to another. I believe these two goals have been met with this legislation. The bottom line is this: if we do nothing, Iowans will be looking at a $2.5 billion property tax increase over the next ten years. Most of that would fall on homeowners. This is not acceptable and that is why I supported the bill.
The Senate Transportation committee passed a $.10 per gallon tax increase on fuel and sent the bill to the Senate floor for a vote. If the Senate passes the bill, it will come over to the House where its fate is uncertain.
At this time, I just don't sense there are 51 votes for passage in the House. I am sure that before this issue is settled, there will be deals cut and a whole lot of 'horse trading'. I can't predict how this will turn out.
From time to time, someone will ask me questions about the Iowa Lottery. I've found some numbers that may answer some of those questions. In 2011, the Lottery raised $68 million for worthy causes in our state. Iowa lottery players took home $159 million in prizes including two Hot Lotto jackpots. Total lottery sales were $271 million, with scratch games leading the way with $165 million in sales. Lotto games came in at $88 million and pull-tabs generated $18 million in sales. Since it's beginning in 1985, lottery proceeds have exceeded $1.3 billion and have been used for General Fund purposes, veterans' programs and community attractions and tourism.
The Vice President of China visited Iowa this week and was feted at a State Dinner here at the Capitol. This man will ascend to the presidency soon, so this event was a pretty big deal. As usual, we were told how to act so as not to offend the Chinese delegation. For example, avoid giving them cut flowers or clocks as these are symbols of funerals or death. Avoid scissors or anything sharp, because these symbolize a severing of relations. Do not use red ink, as this means an end to a relationship, and never give a man a green hat because this means adultery. So, John Deere never passes out their green and yellow hats, but farm equipment they sell to China still carries the company's traditional colors.
You may reach me at the Capitol during the week by phoning me at 515-281-3221, or at home on weekends at 712-434-5880. You may write me at the State Capitol, Des Moines, Iowa 50319. My home address is P.O. Box 398, Aurelia, Iowa 51005. If you have email, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.