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Legislative Session Review: Iowa

By Matt Crawley | June 7, 2018

Iowa - Adjournment Graphic

The Iowa Legislature adjourned sine die on May 5, having gone 18 days past its 100-day session deadline to debate a new tax plan, which will significantly reduce tax collections annually and cut $2.1 billion in state tax revenue over the next six years. The session saw heated debate and eventual passage of a controversial fetal heartbeat abortion bill, which supporters hope becomes a model for other states, though it is already tied up in the courts. Lawmakers came together, however, to unanimously pass legislation creating a workforce development program to bring educational resources to workers looking to expand professional skill sets.

Legislative Highlights

  • Republicans hailed the legislature’s goal of developing a new tax plan as a “once-in-a-generation opportunity.” The new plan (SF 2417) will provide significant income tax cuts for individuals and small businesses — as much as $398 million in 2019 alone. Specifically, the plan cuts the number of individual income tax brackets from nine to four, with a top rate of 6.5 percent. It will also lower the highest corporate tax rate from 12 percent  to 9.8 percent.
  • The legislature also passed the Future Ready Iowa work development program (HF 2458), one of Governor Kim Reynolds’ key priorities for the 2018 legislative session. The program aims to provide 70 percent of Iowa’s workers with some form of post-secondary education or training by the year 2025 through a combination of apprenticeship and mentoring programs, course offerings, and scholarship grants. The bill received unanimous, bipartisan support, and was signed into law on April 3.
  • Additionally, the legislature passed bills that increase residents’ access to mental health services, deny state funds to “sanctuary” cities and counties, and allow small businesses to offer healthcare plans that fall short of standards set by the Affordable Care Act.

Election Preview

Iowa’s governorship is on the line this year. In yesterday’s Democratic primary, retired insurance executive and business owner Fred Hubbell beat local SEIU leader Cathy Glasson to take on Governor Reynolds in November. Available polling for the general election puts Reynolds at a slight advantage over her Democratic challenger. In addition to the governor’s race, half of the 50 state senate seats and all 100 house sets are up for election this year.

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