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Ragan: A leaner, more transparent state government

From Senator Amanda Ragan –

Amanda Ragan
Amanda Ragan

Iowa is considered the fifth best run state in the country, according to 24/7 Wall Street. Our strong agricultural economy, excellent credit rating and well-managed budget give Iowa its good financial health, standard of living and government services.

This year, legislators continued our push for a leaner, more transparent government that is responsive to Iowans’ needs by:

1. Balancing the state budget without raising taxes. Iowa has a budget surplus of about $721 million. We also have $649 million in our reserve funds. That is the largest amount in state history and the eighth best in the country, according to a national report by the Tax Foundation.

2. Cutting taxes to create jobs and spur economic growth. The tax reforms we approved this year include reducing commercial property taxes for all Iowa businesses, however the reforms help small businesses the most. We also voted to put some of our budget surplus back into the pockets of Iowa taxpayer and help low-income Iowans work their way out of poverty by boosting the state Earned Income Tax Credit.

3. Standing up for citizens’ right to know. Iowans now have a free, efficient method to ensure government officials comply with Iowa’s open meetings and records laws. The newly formed Iowa Public Information Board helps citizens with questions and concerns about their rights to information. In addition, we are developing an online database that will allow Iowans to search the state’s budget expenditures and tax revenue to see how their tax dollars are spent.

4. Improving customer service and saving money through efficiencies. New initiatives include anonline driver’s license renewal system and giving Iowans the option to show proof of insurance on their electronic driving record rather than carrying the documentation.

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