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Rep. Prichard: Education funding needed

This news story was published on March 6, 2016.
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From Rep. Todd Prichard of Charles City –

Todd Prichard

Todd Prichard

It is hard for me to believe, but we are approximately halfway through this year’s legislative session. Time does fly. Coming into this year’s session I was asked numerous times what my priorities were for the upcoming session. My response for this session was always securing timely and adequate education funding for Iowa’s public schools.

I started the session optimistic in regards to my priority. Perhaps a compromise is possible after last year’s funding failure. Last year we failed to timely pass a funding bill for schools and it caused havoc for local districts, particularly rural ones. Then to boot, the Governor vetoed what we did pass with no possible recourse from the legislature as we had adjourned. It goes without saying that the Governor wasn’t going to call the legislature back for a special session for the purpose of overriding his veto.

One would think the legislature might have learned from past mistakes: pass education funding early. I told close friends and colleagues, “we can talk about school funding in January, but we better pass something in February, and if we are still talking about school funding in March-we have a problem.” We even had an extra day in February with the leap year, but low and behold here it is March, and we have no budget.

Those who are intimate with the workings of public education know that the time to act is now. Schools have to be funded and delay in that funding hurts programming and school operations. Over the last few weeks I have spoken with many educators and school board members about the urgency of the situation. They understand the seriousness of the situation. In fact, many members of the Charles City School board and Superintendent Dr. Dan Cox came to the legislature to state their case. Bravo to their willingness to be heard.

Representative Todd Prichard had a nice visit with some local dignitaries with the League of Cities including Mayor Jim Erb, Steve Diers, & Michael Hammond.

Representative Todd Prichard had a nice visit with some local dignitaries with the League of Cities including Mayor Jim Erb, Steve Diers, & Michael Hammond.

The ball is now in the legislature and Governor’s court. It is time to act and set the funding for Iowa schools. Unfortunately, the bill for funding education is stuck in a House & Senate Conference Committee with no real movement. The stalemate must end, a compromise must be had.

Despite the extra day in February this leap year, we have failed to pass a public school budget. This fact is extremely unfortunate. Not just for school children, but for all Iowa. Even with our rich soil and low unemployment rate, the best thing we can do to ensure a prosperous future for our state is to educate our population. I ask the readers of this article to contact the leadership in both the House and Senate to move an education funding bill, it is past due!

Iowa Leads Nation in Wind Energy

More than 31 percent of Iowa’s energy is generated by wind, the highest percentage in the country. This is the first time wind has supplied more than 30 percent of any states’ electricity.

More than $11.8 billion has been invested into Iowa wind farms, and the wind industry currently supports more than 6,000 jobs across the state. In the coming years, wind is expected to supply 40 percent of Iowa’s energy, which is enough electricity to power 6.3 million homes.

In addition to the jobs and capital investment provided by the wind energy industry, farmers and rural landowners continue to benefit from use of their land for wind turbines. They currently receive $17.1 million annually from payments for use of their land.

The other leading states in wind production are South Dakota with 25.5 percent, Kansas with 23.9 percent, Oklahoma with 18.4 percent, North Dakota with 17.7 percent, and Minnesota with 17 percent.

The United States also leads the world in wind energy. Last year, the United States produced 190 million megawatt hours, followed by China at 185.1 million megawatt hours, and Germany at 84.6 million megawatt hours.

Tax Extension for Farmers, Commercial Fishers

The Iowa Department of Revenue has extended the deadline for certain individual income tax returns. Taxpayers that receive at least two-thirds of their income from farming or commercial fishing will have until April 30th to file and pay their 2015 taxes. Tax filers impacted by this change will have until Monday, May 2nd to file or postmark their taxes since April 30th falls on a weekend.

The Department of Revenue decided to provide further time for filing returns because the federal government made changes to the federal tax code late in 2015. The Legislature has not yet passed legislation that would conform, or “couple,” with these federal changes. However, the House has passed a coupling bill, House File 2092, in January, but the Senate has yet to take action.

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3 Responses to Rep. Prichard: Education funding needed

  1. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 7, 2016 at 9:04 am

    What he’s saying is I would like to buy your vote -pay you back when I get my fat cat job. How can he lose? Teachers union is largest in America – Speaking of that – Little Marco won Purty Rico and Lying Ted Cruzz won Canada -They tied with wins in Mexico – TRUMP came in third winning only AMERICA.

    • Matt Marquardt

      Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      March 7, 2016 at 1:54 pm

      You can see the local Dem’s are now openly pandering to the teacher union. All these Dem’s ever talk about is education, more money for it from the state. I used to believe them a little until MC put kids in the picket lines and dumbed the fixed-income voters out of the last election – leading to 2 new levies that made the district flush with cash. Want proof? Look at them toss around locker room refurb’s worth $600K or more like it’s nothing. Look at them over pay the admin’s. They got plenty of money, believe me, and they want more.

      • Avatar

        LVS Reply Report comment

        March 7, 2016 at 3:38 pm

        @matt-They always want more and the sheeple give it to them. I can just hear Steckman and Ragen begging right now.