This session was one of the most successful sessions of my time in the Iowa House. From protecting our First and Second Amendment rights to expanding access to child care and broadband we were able to tackle most if not all of the issues Iowans told us were top priorities. Yesterday, July 1, marked the day much of the legislation we passed this year became law.
Here are some of the new laws I am most proud of:
Child Care: Iowa House Republicans prioritized expanding access to quality, affordable child care this session. New as of July 1st, families making $90,000 or less (up from $45,000 in previous years) are eligible for the Child Care Tax Credits. This will make child care more affordable for many more Iowa families.
I’m sure you’ve heard me talk extensively about fixing the “Cliff Effect.” Oftentimes, families have been forced to reject a pay raise because it would result in the loss of the entirety of their child care assistance. New legislation effective this week creates an “off-ramp” so families can be phased off government assistance as parents continue to grow in their careers.
Mental Health Telehealth Parity: The extensive tax relief bill that took effect yesterday includes language to require health insurers to reimburse for mental health services provided through telehealth at the same rate as services provided in-person. This important change will expand access to mental health services for all Iowans, especially those in rural communities.
Protecting Free Speech in School and on Campus: After hearing from many parents and students about their experiences, it has become increasingly clear that there is a systemic problem of stifling free speech rights in our schools. A school’s role is to educate, not indoctrinate students into a certain political ideology.
We passed a bill that took effect this week to protect the free speech rights of students and teachers in K-12 and college. The bill requires free speech training for students and faculty and provides penalties if free speech is restricted unnecessarily.
Iowa is coming back strong
July 1st also marked a new fiscal year and closed the book on Fiscal Year 2021. With that, came the Legislative Service Agency’s latest report on the amount of revenue the state of Iowa collected through FY 21.
This report brought great news for our state. I won’t get too into the weeds, but here are a couple of the top-line numbers. Iowa brought in $1.407 billion more in revenue in FY 21 than in 2020, representing an 18.6% increase for the year. All three categories of revenue increased by double-digit amounts this year; personal income tax grew by 16.8%, sales/use tax grew by 10.6%, and corporate tax grew by 51.7%.
The bottom line is that Iowa is coming back strong. These numbers reinforce that Iowa is on the right track and well on its way to a full return to normal. I’m extremely proud of the leadership shown by Governor Kim Reynolds and Iowa House Republicans over the past year to put the state in this position. Iowa’s economy is strong and the future is bright for our great state.