From Rep. Sharon Steckman –
After passing the scheduled date for adjournment last week, lawmakers moved closer to an agreement this week as the final pieces of the state budget were sent to bi-partisan conference committees to iron out their differences.
Over the next week, conference committees on the budget and other key issues in health care, property taxes, and education will continue to negotiate and try to reach agreement. Each conference committee is comprised of five members of the House and five members of the Senate and is also evenly split between Democrats and Republicans.
Once the conference committees find common ground on their bills, the House and Senate will approve each agreement and then it will be sent to the Governor’s desk. While there are a host of issues to be resolved, the only bills required to be approved before adjournment deal with the state budget.
When the Legislature went into overtime this week, state lawmakers stopped getting paid; however, they will continue to work until agreements are reached.
Job Creation Initiatives to Continue
After action by the Iowa Legislature this week, a state job creation initiative credited with creating over 500 jobs while keeping 1,855 jobs in Iowa will continue next year.
The Targeted Jobs pilot program began in 2006 with the goal of helping border communities retain and attract jobs that would otherwise move to neighboring states. The cities in the program are Council Bluffs, Sioux City, Burlington, Fort Madison and Keokuk.
Senate File 433 extends the Targeted Jobs program until 2018, improves oversight, and expands where the projects can be used in the pilot cities.
Since its inception, the targeted jobs program has been responsible for $138 million in capital investment, the retention of 1,855 jobs and the creation of 574. For every dollar of tax credit claimed, eight dollars was invested.
Under the program, a withholding agreement between the city and the employer allows 3% of the gross wages paid by the business to be directed to the city on a quarterly basis. The city must then match these funds dollar for dollar. The funds can be used for most expenses incurred by a business related to their project. Businesses have typically used these funds building expansions and improvements, new buildings, and relocations.
SF 433 now goes to the Governor for his approval.