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The first week of session involved speeches by legislative leaders, the chief justice, governor and we also heard from the Iowa National Guard.  These speeches are important aspects of the legislative session and give us a good idea about the goals of each caucus and branch of government. Traditionally, the first week of session also included committee meetings focused only on introducing the committee to the public and do not include any substantial legislative action regarding policy.

Governor Reynolds and Senate Majority Leader Whitver presented bold agendas for the 2022 session. Both speeches included tax relief as a priority. In recent years and after careful budgeting, the state budget has enough in reserves and surpluses to begin the process of reducing the taxes of Iowans.

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I also really appreciate the following line from Governor Reynolds.

“But in the small towns, around kitchen tables, in the fields and back-offices, Iowans understand that we in this building don’t fund anything. They do. And right now, they’re paying too much. Last year, the state ended with a $1.2 billion surplus, on top of nearly $1 billion cash reserves. That’s good. We kept spending down. But it also means that, despite the historic 2018 tax cuts, we’re still taking too much from Iowans’ paychecks. That needs to stop. Now.”

The governor proposed a flat tax of 4 percent, less than half of the current top Iowa income tax rate. Her plan is a great start. It makes Iowa more competitive, and the Senate looks forward to working with the governor on our shared goal of tax relief.

It is an exciting time to be in the Iowa Senate and deliver on the promises made to Iowans. I look forward to keeping you updated as our work progresses.

This week, Gov. Kim Reynolds awarded nearly $37 million in Child Care Challenge grants to projects that will create nearly 5,200 new child care slots across Iowa. I had the opportunity to contact Discoveries Learning Center in Denver, Fairbank Community Daycare (Little Island Child Care Center) in Fairbank and The Right Place Child Care, LLC in Jesup and notify them of their financial awards for their individual projects.

The program was originally launched in November with $10 million. After receiving an overwhelming number of quality applications, the program was expanded. Iowa Workforce Development and the Iowa Department of Human Services will allocate $26.9 million in DHS federal funds, $3 million appropriated by the Iowa legislature for the Child Care Challenge Fund, and $6.7 million in federal ARPA funds.

To share your ideas with me please email me, or attend one of my forums.

Saturday, Jan. 22: Arlington Community Center at 9 a.m.

Saturday, Jan. 29: Sumner Public Library at 9 a.m. – Readlyn Community Library at 11 a.m.

Author: Craig Johnson

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