This week was the 10th week of the legislative session and the second major legislative deadline of the year. Most of our time in the Senate was spent working on bills sent to us from the House and spending time on committee work. We talked about a number of topics, including a few familiar ones we’ve talked about before.
One bill discussed in committee this week was House File 2431 regarding home-based food establishments and the regulation of small, low-impact home-based business operations. Currently, Iowa law regulates “home bakeries,” and this bill would broaden the law to allow home-based food establishments. The goal of the bill is to help people who have decided to prepare home goods as a business or an additional source of income.
The Senate also worked on House File 2198, which is another bill regarding childcare. The bill would allow childcare center employees and substitutes who are 16 years or older to supervise school age children without additional supervision. Since the House has yet to take up the Senate’s childcare legislation, this bill was amended in committee to add the language the Senate passed earlier this year to help address childcare needs in the state. It would change the ratios in childcare centers to one childcare worker for every seven children who are two years old, and one childcare worker for every 10 children who are three years old.
On Wednesday in the Senate we unanimously approved a resolution supporting the people and nation of Ukraine. The resolution recognized the prosperous trade relationship that exists between Iowa and Ukraine and commended Ukraine for being an independent and autonomous nation that has maintained fair and free elections since 1991. Senators spoke of the horrendous acts committed by Russia, which is responsible for the loss of life, destruction, and human suffering. We stand with the nation of Ukraine, sending our prayers and support to their people.
National endorsements for tax bill continue
The non-partisan Tax Foundation released a lengthy evaluation of HF 2317, the largest income tax cut in Iowa history. Many terms have been used to describe the scope of the three recent income tax cut bills, whether it be historic, major or transformative. All those terms work to illustrate this point made later by the Tax Foundation about just how dramatic the tax climate will improve in Iowa from 2018-2026:
Before the reforms of 2018 took effect, Iowa ranked 46th overall on our State Business Tax Climate Index, a measure of state tax structure. With the full phase-in of the newly enacted reforms, Iowa would rank 15th overall, an improvement of 31 places. This would tie North Carolina for the largest improvement in the Index’s history. In the wake of historic reforms beginning in 2013, North Carolina improved from 41st to 10th overall in seven years (currently 11th).
Not only the Tax Foundation took notice of the major changes to Iowa’s tax climate. The Platte Institute, a non-partisan, pro-growth organization in Nebraska also praised the tax relief package.
It noted the significant advantage Iowa will have over Nebraska in attracting jobs and people: “If Nebraska does nothing, a person paying our top tax rate will pay about 75% more tax on every extra dollar they earn compared to their peer in Iowa.” Perhaps the most compelling part of the Platte Institute’s analysis was this statement, “But what has set Iowa apart in recent years is simply having leaders who agreed to pursue ambitious goals and accomplish them.”