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From the Desk of Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer, February 10, 2012

Bills are quickly moving in the Iowa House. We are wasting no time putting Iowans back to work. In order for Iowa employers to create quality jobs and careers in the state, they must know that our economy is stable. We will continue to focus on crafting legislation that will increase jobs in the state, find savings in the budget, and create certainty for all Iowa job creators.

The House has already passed numerous pro-jobs bills to the Senate in a bi-partisan manner. HF 2104 will allow employers to more accurately calculate their unemployment history. Passing the House 97-0, this legislation will free up money for job creators to hire more employees or invest in their business. The bill does not decrease a company’s unemployment obligations, but allows employers to speed up their recovery.

Another bill aimed at improving Iowa’s business climate, HF 2103, is a bi-partisan bill targeted at helping new employers do business in Iowa. The legislation reduces the length of time new employers pay an ‘introductory rate’ for unemployment taxes. Under current law, this introductory rate is not based on the employer’s history and often forces new employers to subsidize existing employers. With the passage of this legislation, new employers will spend less time paying a tax rate set by the state, and more time paying the tax rate they have earned.

With a vote of 92-0, the House has also passed HF 2042, a bill requiring all administrative rules that are created by state agencies to be accompanied with a ‘Jobs Impact Statement.’ Administrative rules are regulations drawn up by government bureaucrats to implement laws passed by the Legislature. The statement requires every proposed rule to detail the impact it will have on state agencies, local governments, the public, and Iowa businesses. Furthermore, the statement must assess whether or not the proposed rule will have a positive or negative impact on private sector jobs and employment.

The House will soon be considering HF 2085, a bill that relates to employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs). The bill provides an incentive for a business owner to sell all or a portion of a company to an Iowa-based ESOP. Passage of this bill will result in employees of a company having ownership in the company, and provide them with a retirement plan.

As the legislative session moves forward, we will continue to pass legislation that will make it easier to be a job creator in the state and signal that Iowa is open for business. We will pass a budget that spends less than it takes in and does not appropriate one-time funds for ongoing expenses. We will reform Iowa’s burdensome property tax system and ensure that significant and genuine relief is delivered to all property taxpayers in Iowa. Finally, we will go over the budget line-by-line to find savings and increase government efficiency.

In addition to these pro-jobs bills, this week the House passed legislation in response to concerns involving Iowa’s child abuse registry. Legislation was enacted last year that required a work group to examine Iowa’s child abuse registry and the speed of the appeal process. In most cases, placement on the child abuse registry is appropriate. However, in some instances, innocent individuals have been placed on the registry. Nonetheless, the damage to their personal life and employment has already been done. Placement on the abuse registry is public record, and the process to remove an innocent person has taken over a year. HF 2226 will provide a balance between protecting Iowa’s children and the due process rights of the accused.

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