BOBSLED TO BANKRUPTCY: Senate Republicans pass $1.2 billion tax plan
47 seconds you need to watch. Senator McCoy discussed disastrous GOP tax bill in committee.
Tune into Channel 13 News’ “The Insiders” at 10:30am Sunday, March 4th. Senator McCoy sits down with Dave Price to discuss Senate Republicans tax bill that passed and other bills being considered at the Statehouse.
IN THE MIDST OF BUDGET CRISIS, TAX PLAN IS BAD NEWS
It’s been more than 80 days since we learned that the state budget is $35 million in the hole. That problem has not been fixed, and work hasn’t begun on next year’s budget. Yet Senate Republicans insist on a tax plan that is expected to cost the state $1 billion per year.
This is fiscally irresponsible and sets up our state for an ongoing budget crisis that will sabotage Iowans’ priorities. In fact, a nonpartisan analysis shows SF 2383 is worse than we imagined.
The truth is that millionaires and large corporations will gain the most from this legislation – and at a big cost to everyday Iowans. According to the Iowa Fiscal Partnership, the legislation “would erode revenues, create structural budget deficits for years to come, and force cuts certain to imperil Iowa’s basic infrastructure and traditionally accepted responsibilities for its residents.”
SF 2383 would harm Iowa’s economy because it’s patterned after a similar plan that crashed and burned in Kansas. Fiscal mismanagement has created a crisis in Kansas that has caused massive cuts to education, public safety and other vital services.
SF 2383 does not make sense when you consider that:
An ill-conceived proposal is moving forward to break a promise of tax relief for local Iowans (SF 2081). Cities, counties, townships and school will all lose money they’re counting on, an especially devastating move for our small towns and rural areas.
No changes have been made to the huge tax breaks for big corporations.
Iowans are being forced to pay $1.75 million for a sexual harassment lawsuit that should be the responsibility of the guilty Republican State Senators and staff.
The state continues to throw millions in taxpayer dollars at the Governor’s Medicaid privatization mess that still doesn’t pay its bills on time and has jeopardized the health of vulnerable Iowans.
The Republican-controlled Legislature is shortchanging our students and schools with another year of inadequate funding (HF 2230).
College and worker training, job creation, protections for vulnerable Iowans, public safety and justice for crime victims all face more cuts to bail the state out of its budget hole (SF 2117).
STACKING THE DECK AGAINST INJURED WORKERS
The attack by the Legislature on Iowa workers continues for the second straight year. Senate File 2305 stacks the deck against Iowans injured on the job. The bill was approved February 27 on a vote of 28-22, in spite of bipartisan opposition.
I have supported efforts by the state to fight fraud and to make sure injured workers get a fair deal.
However, I oppose the new legislation because it’s unnecessary to establish a special Workers’ Compensation Fraud Unit and make workers’ comp fraud a felony. It’s already illegal to commit insurance fraud — including workers’ compensation fraud — and we already have a unit that investigates insurance fraud—including workers’ compensation fraud.
Criminal penalties and fines will be deposited into a Fraud Penalty Fund, which will help pay the salaries of investigators, so they are essentially working on commission at the expense of injured Iowans.
SF 2305 will discourage injured workers from filing legitimate claims. It’s a backdoor attempt to stop them from getting the compensation and health care they’re owed when hurt on the job.
At one time, the Insurance Journal ranked Iowa’s workers’ comp system 3rd in the nation and gave it an “A” grade. Iowa’s Economic Development Authority bragged that our state was 11 percent below the national average for workers’ compensation premiums.
Extreme legislation over the last year has upset what used to be a well-balanced system. This bill, which is now under consideration in the House, hurts hard-working Iowans and does nothing to move our economy forward or make Iowa a more attractive place to live.
ANOTHER YEAR OF INADEQUATE SCHOOL FUNDING
The Legislature has finally approved school funding for the 2018-19 school year. I opposed HF 2330 because it amounts to another year of inadequate funding, which is bad news for Iowa students, families, educators and communities.
The amount approved is even less than what the Governor recommended, is below the rate of inflation and is simply not enough to provide a top-notch 21st century education to our kids.
Education in Iowa gets a smaller slice of the state budget pie than it does in most other states, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers. In a recent report, Iowa ranks 34th in the nation in percent of state dollars spent on K-12 education, well below the national average.
Even in tough fiscal times, budgeting is about setting priorities. Parents, teachers and communities want us to make education a priority in the state budget. They increasingly tell me that local schools can only afford the bare minimum, not the world-class education our kids deserve.
MORE TRANSPORTATION DOLLARS PROVIDE FAIRER SCHOOL FUNDING
The Legislature has taken a small step in the right direction by passing $14 million in additional funding to make things a little fairer for students, regardless of where they live.
I preferred a more comprehensive plan that we developed in collaboration with the Iowa Association of School Boards and a bipartisan group of legislators. But after two years of negotiations, SF 455 finally has been sent to the Governor.
The bill reduces the gap in how much school districts can spend per student with the money they get from the state. Every school district will receive a portion of this $2.9 million effort – either to increase school funding or for local property tax relief.
In addition, a new $11.2 million fund will help school districts that spend the most to bus their students. School districts in Iowa’s small towns and rural areas are using more and more of their education funding to pay for transportation. This translates into fewer dollars for the classroom.
The one-time investment by SF 455 will not eliminate the problem, but it does provide much-needed financial assistance to 140 school districts, making the amount available to educate our kids a little more equal once they arrive at the school doors.
10 GOOD BIPARTISAN BILLS THAT ARE MOVING FORWARD
Expanding Safe Haven laws (SF 360). Passed the Senate unanimously and is now under consideration in the House.
Good Samaritan protections for seeking emergency assistance for alcohol overdoses (SF 415). Passed the Senate unanimously and is now under consideration in the House.
Guaranteed health care coverage for services provided over telemedicine (HF 2305). Passed the House unanimously and is now under consideration in the Senate.
Requiring everyone with an OWI to get an ignition interlock and eliminating temporary license restrictions (HF 2338). Passed the House unanimously and is now under consideration in the Senate.