Early Thursday, Gov. Reynolds released the following statements on the conclusion of the 2021 legislative session:
“This legislative session, I charged the House and Senate to work together to further advance Iowa’s strong recovery from COVID-19 and promote policies that strengthen our families, communities, schools, workforce and economy. I’m proud that we delivered on the promises made to the people of Iowa.
“Our fiscally responsible budget practices and balanced approach to managing the pandemic, put Iowa is in a position to cut taxes and invest in foundational priorities that ensure we remain competitive in the 21st century.
“More than $400 million dollars in tax cuts mean Iowans will keep more of their hard-earned money. The phase out of the inheritance tax will lessen the burden of passing on family farms and businesses. And by eliminating a $100 million property tax levy, the responsibility for funding Iowa’s mental health system comes off the backs of homeowners and into the hands of the state which can provide the stable, sustainable funding to ensure access to care for every Iowan who needs it.
“Iowa’s historic $100 million investment in broadband will transform our technology infrastructure into a powerful network that enables fast, high-quality connectivity to empower every community across our state, from our urban centers to our small towns.
“This legislative session, we continued our investment in K-12 education and put more control of our children’s education into the hands of their parents. We supported law enforcement, strengthened our elections, protected our 2nd Amendment rights, and upheld the sanctity of life.
“Over the last year, Iowa has been recognized nationally as the #1 state for opportunity and for having one of the fastest and strongest pandemic recoveries… and Iowans deserve the credit. Together, there’s nothing we can’t accomplish.”
Lt. Governor Gregg released the following statement:
“Governor Reynolds led the charge to make Iowa an even better place to live, work, and raise a family. The tax compromise brokered by the governor makes progress on longstanding challenges faced by the state.
“By speeding up the historic 2018 income tax cuts, incentivizing workforce housing development, and lowering property taxes, this tax reform makes Iowa an even better place to start a family, career, or business.
“With unprecedented investment in broadband, new incentives to spark housing development, and increased funding for Empower Rural Iowa programs, this session was a real success for rural Iowa.
“I look forward to seeing the positive impact these changes will have, and exploring further improvement in policy and practice to ensure opportunity and prosperity are present in all corners of our state.”
Key legislative priorities that passed during the 2020 Legislative Session:
Tax Relief for Hardworking Iowans
Reducing taxes benefits Iowa families and makes our state more competitive.
- $300 million income tax cut by removing triggers for hardworking Iowans (SF619)
- $100 million property tax relief by fully removing the mental health levy (SF619)
- Phases out the inheritance tax with complete removal by January 2025 (SF619)
Putting Students First, Supporting Parental Choice, Investing in Education
A high-quality education system that offers innovative learning opportunities and empowers parents to choose the best path for their children is the foundation of a strong state.
- Ensured every child and family in Iowa had the opportunity to attend school 100% in-person during the pandemic beginning in Feb. 2021 (SF160)
- Allows parents to make health care decisions for their children by prohibiting schools from requiring masks (HF847)
- Expands charter schools, giving parents and students greater options and flexibility while also allowing for innovation to occur within the classroom (HF813)
- Allows parents to make educational decisions for their children by expanding open enrollment opportunities for families (HF847)
- Protects free speech rights of all students in the classroom (HF744)
- Bans instruction that teaches that America is inherently racist (HF802)
- Invests a record $3.418 billion for PreK-12 education, a 2.4% increase (SF269)
- Increases Transportation Equity to buy down cost of transportation for 218 Iowa school districts (SF269)
- Further reduces per pupil equity gap to $145 (SF269)
Ensuring Universal Broadband Access
High-speed internet is as vital to our communities as running water and electricity – this became abundantly clear during the pandemic.
- Invests $100 million in broadband to transform our infrastructure into a powerful network, enabling fast, high quality connectivity across the entire state and resulting in one of the most significant broadband build-outs in the nation (HF867)
- Leverages millions more in private dollars to establish a three-tiered grant program that incentivizes providers to prioritize broadband deserts where high-speed internet is rarely offered (HF848)
Creating Affordable Housing
Creative solutions that address pent-up demand for affordable housing will encourage families to move where opportunities exist and help our communities thrive.
- Invests in attainable housing by increasing funding to the State Housing Trust Fund at $7 million a year (SF619)
- Builds high quality homes in rural and urban Iowa by increasing the Workforce Housing Tax Credit to $40 million for FY22 and then $35 million going forward (SF619)
- Extends and expands the Brownfield and Grayfield Tax Credits to help rebuild blighted and abandoned properties (SF619)
- Creates a Disaster Recovery Housing Assistance Fund to help Iowans who lost their homes due to a natural disaster (SF619)
Providing High-quality Affordable Child Care
Iowa has the third highest percentage of households with both (or the only) parents working. Improving access to child care will allow parents to nurture their children while remaining in the workforce.
- Increases eligibility for the Early Childhood and Dependent Tax Credits from $45,000 to $90,000 so families are not penalized for hard work and upward mobility (SF619)
- Allows an additional school-aged child in a child care home to increase access for child care across the state and flexibility on days when school is cancelled (HF260)
- Establishes a gradual phase-out for child care assistance so families can pursue higher wages without immediately losing assistance (HF302)
- Prioritizes High Quality Jobs applicants who propose to provide onsite child care options for employees (SF619)
Growing a 21st Century Economy
Supporting industry investments and incentives to help Iowa manufacturers remain competitive in the global manufacturing supply chain.
- Develops a Manufacturing 4.0 strategic roadmap for the future of manufacturing in the state of Iowa (SF619)
- Allows Iowa companies to make strategic investments in their workplaces by coupling with Federal Bonus Depreciation (SF619)
- Helps reinvest and reopen communities following the pandemic or a natural disaster by creating a Downtown Loan Guarantee (SF619)
- Extends the Targeted Jobs Withholding Credit to help border cities compete with our neighboring states (SF619)
Promoting Strong and Healthy Families
New models of care delivery based on the needs of Iowans will help to ensure that quality health care remains accessible, affordable, and close to home.
- Creates a long-term, sustainable funding stream for Iowa’s mental health system and increases mental health funding from $98 million in 2021 to $135 million by 2026, with a mechanism to allow funding to automatically increase as Iowa’s economy grows (SF619)
- Ensures payment parity for mental health telehealth services (SF619)
- Expands access to the children’s mental health waiver through increased funding (HF891)
- Provides additional funding for providers who care for Iowa’s most vulnerable, including PMICs, home and community based services, nursing facilities and home health agencies (HF891)
- Creates of a center of excellence program to encourage innovation and collaboration among regional health care providers (HF891)
- Ensures support for OB/GYNs practicing in rural communities through the Rural Iowa Primary Care Loan Repayment Program (SF129)
- Increases funding for the Psychiatry Residency Training Program (HF891)
- Streamlines the process for counties to adopt EMS as an essential service (SF615)
Supporting Law Enforcement
In Iowa, we will always back our brave men and women in blue. Supporting our police and other law enforcement officers will help to keep our communities safe and strong.
- Provides additional due process protections for law enforcement officers and protects officers, prosecutors, and judges from being targeted (SF342)
- Increases the Emergency Volunteer Tax Credit, serving as financial assistance to those that step up and serve (SF619)
- Puts in place tougher penalties for those who loot, riot, or block our streets (SF342)
Securing Our Elections, Our Constitutional Rights, and Protecting The Unborn
Iowans believe in life, liberty, and a constitution that protects it. Iowa is leading the way, and our state stands in stark contrast to the polices of Washington, D.C.
- Ensures elections are fair, secure, and free from fraud (SF413)
- Strengthens uniformity by providing Iowa’s election officials with consistent parameters for Election Day, absentee voting, database maintenance, and a clear appeals process for local county auditors
- Promotes accountability by imposing tougher penalties for election misconduct.
- A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Iowa relating to the right of the people to keep and bear arms (SJR 7)
- Allows Iowans to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights without purchasing a permit from the government (HF756)
- Bans vaccine passports (HF 889)
- Protects the free speech rights of students living on college campuses (HF 744)
- Protects the rights of the unborn by passing a constitutional amendment that clearly states there is not a fundamental right to abortion
Reinvigorating the Iowa Agriculture Economy
Farming is a way of life we value in Iowa, and we’re committed to protecting it for our families and future generations.
- Supports the next generation of Iowa farmers by expanding Beginning Farmer Tax Credit program eligibility (SF619)
- Safeguards Iowa’s livestock industry through increased funding for foreign animal disease preparedness and protects premise identification information (HF860/SF578)
- Establishes a small meat processing program to help expand Iowa’s meat processing capacity and support small processors (HF 857)
- Creates a farm-to-school program to assist schools in purchasing locally grown produce and protein (SF578)