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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

At the Capitol

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Overview: As your State Senator, I am your voice in Des Moines and encourage your input. Please feel free to contact me at randy.feenstra@legis.iowa.gov. If you would like to read my comments on a daily basis, you may visit my website at www.newgenerationrepublican.com.

Each legislative session it seems we fight about two big issues that require quick resolutions; coupling the Iowa tax code with the federal tax code and setting allowable growth.

Allowable Growth

This is the amount the state pays schools for each student that attends the school. In 2012/2013 the state paid $6,001 for each school student. The schools are requesting a 3-4% increase in this funding. This would give the schools an extra $180 to $200 per student.

The Governor has put a "0%" increase in his budget for allowable growth this year. This will really become a battle on where this funding will end up. The Governor has made it clear he wants to pass education reform along with allowable growth, which will complicate the issue.

The schools need to know the new allowable growth number, whether it is 0 or 4%, so they can develop their budgets which must be submitted to the state by the first of March. The pinch is on!!!

Coupling Bill

Before each of us can do our income taxes, we need to know what we can deduct based on the federal tax code. Usually the state allows Iowans to deduct the same items that are in the federal code including depreciation, tuition and fee deductions, section 179 expensing, earned income tax credit and other related tax credit thresholds. Therefore, the Legislature must pass a bill to couple the two tax codes.

This matter seems close to a resolution. All sides are in agreement as long as the cost to the state isn't exorbitant. The bill should be passed in the next few weeks!! This will help you and your accountant.

This session is also seeing two hot topics that are getting legislators fired up! They include:

10 Gas Tax Increase

This is a very challenging issue. Our roads and bridges need fixing, but do we need a lifetime gas tax that will cost each car owner $75 -$100 a year? I believe using a one-time expenditure that goes to specific roads and bridges would be a sound budget fix to this problem.

Approval of Internet Gambling

This topic is similar to legalizing marijuana. The argument is: "everyone is doing it so why not legalize it to make it safer and tax it." This is a very flawed way of thinking, but it seems many legislators are buying into this idea. I believe we should not further break down our families and society by approving these types of degenerative policies. The effects of legalizing internet gambling and marijuana would create an extreme down side to society as a whole; therefore I will be voting "no."

I will be having several forums in the next few weeks. They will be Feb. 1 in the Hawarden City Council Room from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and in Orange City in the City Council Chamber at Noon. On Friday, Feb. 8, I will be in the Sheldon City Offices from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and noon in Sioux Center at the Pizza Ranch.