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From the Desk of Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer

From Iowa Senate Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer –

Our committees were hard at work this week, as we successfully concluded the first legislative “funnel.” As you may recall, the first funnel week of the legislative session is a deadline for legislators to pass bills out of their respective policy committees in either the House or Senate in order to remain eligible for further consideration. Appropriations, Ways & Means, and Government Oversight bills are exempt from the funnel rules.

As evidenced below, throughout the funnel and entire legislative session, we have been focused on passing legislation that improves the state’s job climate and provides certainty to all Iowans. We know that in order to create quality jobs and careers in the state, Iowa employers need to trust that our economy is stable. Here is an overview of the pro-jobs bills that remain alive after the first funnel:

House File 2042– This bill requires all administrative rules created by state agencies to be accompanied by a ‘Jobs Impact Statement’. Administrative rules are the regulations drawn up by government bureaucrats to implement laws approved by the legislature. (Status:Awaiting Senate Action)

House File 2085– This bill relates to employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) and provides an incentive for a business owner to sell all or a portion of a company to an Iowa-based ESOP. This would result in the employees of a company having ownership interest in their company and would also keep jobs in Iowa communities. (Status: Awaiting Senate Action)

House File 2103– This bill makes it easier for new employers to do business in Iowa by reducing the length of time they pay an ‘introductory rate’ for unemployment taxes. This introductory rate is not based on the employer’s history and often forces them to subsidize existing employers. New employers will spend less time paying a tax rate mandated by the state, and more time paying a tax rate they have earned. (Status: Awaiting Senate Action)

House File 2104– This bill allows employers to recover faster from the last few years of economic sluggishness and get back to a lower tax rate, freeing up money to hire more employees or invest in their business.(Status: Awaiting Senate Action)

Budget– As economic uncertainty continues throughout the country, we will take a conservative approach to the budget to give stability to Iowa’s job creators. Controlling government spending by spending less than the government takes in, demonstrates a commitment to commonsense budgeting and economic health that employers deserve. The best way to help Iowa’s employers is to keep control of government spending. (Status:Moving through House committees)

House File 2274– The state’s existing property tax system affects Iowa’s economy and is an impediment to putting people back to work. Our uncompetitive property tax system is a burden on job creators and prohibits businesses of all sizes from expanding, hiring, or even settling on Iowa. Our plan delivers significant relief and genuine reform to all property taxpayers. (Status: Awaiting Senate Action)

House Study Bill 645– This bill demonstrates our continued efforts to listen to Iowans and dig deep into the budgets, with a line by line review to cut out waste. With Iowans’ help, we will once again create a state budget that is efficient and effective. (Status: Survived Funnel)

House Study Bill 604– Iowa manufacturers have supply-chains that provide the anchor manufacturer with the products they need. Because of Iowa’s tax system, a corporation’s income tax is taxed based on sales inside the state of Iowa. This helps our large multinational corporations that see most of their sales occur outside the state, but can hurt Iowa suppliers who sell most of their goods to these larger manufacturers in the state, and thus exposing them to more state income taxes. This bill seeks to provide some relief to these Iowa suppliers that continue to grow in the state. (Status: Survived Funnel)

House Joint Resolution 2006– This joint resolution ensures future Legislatures are not able to use budget gimmicks to get around the state’s budget limitation law, constitutionally protects the Taxpayers Trust Fund from being raided, and requires a 60 percent majority to approve any new tax increases. These measures will bring stability and certainty for job creators future planning. (Status: Survived Funnel)

House File 2307– This bill makes changes to the Statute of Repose which will shorten the time a person can be sued by contractors after they’ve purchased a commercial building – currently Iowa has the longest time in the nation. This will allow job creators to put more resources in hiring or expansion rather than legal fees. (Status: Survived Funnel)

House Study Bill 614– This bill provides tort reform legislation which protects land owners if a trespasser is injured on their land unless the land owner was negligent. This legislation protects business owners from frivolous and costly lawsuits. (Status: Survived Funnel)

House Study Bill 612– This tort reform legislation protects Iowans from frivolous civil lawsuits by providing them with the potential to collect costs and attorney’s fees if the case is thrown out of court because it is not based in law or fact. This legislation prevents small businesses from being bankrupted by frivolous law suits. (Status: Survived Funnel)

In other exciting news, this week the House honored Iowa’s own Dr. Dan Shectman, the recent recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize. Dr. Shectman, a professor at Iowa State University’s College of Engineering, was awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize in Chemistry for his discovery of the existence of quasicrystals- a new atomic structure for solid materials. This groundbreaking discovery resulted in a new fundamental understanding of the very nature of matter and upended the scientific world. It was our pleasure to recognize Dr. Shectman’s extraordinary accomplishments by passing House Resolution 116 in his honor.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me with your thoughts or concerns anytime or 515-281-4618.

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