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District 72 Update

January 18, 2018
By State Rep. Dean Fisher - R-Montour , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

The second year of the 87th General Assembly gaveled into session on Monday, January 8 with great anticipation for another landmark session.

On Tuesday, we heard Governor Reynolds deliver her first Condition of the State address. The governor delivered an excellent speech that outlined several new initiatives, including tax reform and establishing mental health crisis access centers across the state as well as many other priority issues. I believe that Iowa is in good hands with a strong Governor that understands the needs and priorities of Iowans.

Recent studies have shown that Iowa is the third best managed state in the nation due to strong fiscal management, our AAA credit rating, low government debt and our well-managed pension systems. We are also rated number one in the nation for middle class families thanks to our low cost of living, affordable college tuition, and low child care costs. Iowa also leads the nation in high school graduation rates and we are a leader in K-12 education funding. Our unemployment rate is the lowest in 17 years at 2.9%, with many employers eager to hire mid-range skilled workers such as welders, electricians, and other trades. The Iowa Workforce Development website lists 55,000 job openings with many of those openings in high demand and high paying jobs. We have made much progress in making Iowa the best state in the nation to live and raise a family, but there is room for growth as well, so we will not rest.

Article Photos

State Rep. Dean Fisher
R-Montour

Regarding K-12 funding, Iowa has invested an additional $735 million since 2011 in education, bringing total annual spending on K-12 to $3.2 billion from the state general fund. We are fourth in the nation in K-12 funding increases, demonstrating our commitment to education. I anticipate that Supplemental State Aid for next year will be addressed early in the session.

Medicaid is another topic that is receiving considerable discussion already in the session. Governor Reynolds acknowledged in her address that mistakes were made in the rollout of the managed care program and made a commitment to make it right. When she took over as Governor earlier this year she appointed a new director of the Human Services Dept., Jerry Foxhoven, and a new manager for the Medicaid program. With 40 other states successfully using managed care for Medicaid there is no reason why Iowa can't utilize this method effectively as well. The past government-run system wasn't focused on making people healthier, which made managing Medicaid costs and reducing fraud and error difficult.

House Republicans are also eager to address our tax code this session. We intend to make it simpler, fairer, and more competitive with other states. Iowa's income taxes are amongst the highest in the nation. House Republicans will remain focused on improving our position as the best state in the nation for middle class families as we move forward with sustainable tax reform. The recent federal tax reforms are also an incentive to reform taxes. If we don't reduce income tax rates this session, Iowans will pay more in state income taxes due the fact that we have federal deductibility. We intend to let our citizens keep 100% of their federal tax reduction.

I always enjoy seeing my constituents down here at the capitol. I would encourage you all to spend a day here to take a guided tour of this beautiful building and spend some time observing committees and subcommittees at work or the legislature in debate. If you visit, be sure to let me know so we can connect.

As always, please feel free to contact me at dean.fisher@legis.iowa.gov or 641-750-3594.

 
 

 

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