GOP: House Republicans Gave Iowa Taxpayers a #BetterDeal in 2017

June 26, 2017
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One of the most important things that the Legislature can do is value each and every dollar that the hardworking taxpayers of Iowa send to their state government.  House Republicans believe that the state budget should be managed just like Iowa families and businesses manage their own.

Several bills passed this session give Iowa taxpayers a better deal than they were getting before.  One of  the biggest achievements of the legislative session were the reforms made to Iowa’s four decade old collective bargaining law that put taxpayers at a disadvantage.  Other bills that were signed into law include permanent extension of the Property Assessment Appeal Board, combining school board and municipal elections to be held in November, and passing smart sentencing reforms that allocate resources effectively and keep Iowans safe.

It’s clear that after the 2017 session, Iowa taxpayers are getting a #BetterDeal.


Reformed collective bargaining to give taxpayers a seat at the table

One of the biggest reforms passed by the Legislature this session dealt with public sector employees.  Iowa’s collective bargaining law had been on the books, with minimal changes, for more than 40 years.  The law had become outdated and tilted too far in favor of government unions at the expense of Iowa taxpayers. House Republicans took this challenge head on and never wavered because taxpayers deserve a better deal.

More local government flexibility

These changes will provide local governments with more flexibility and control over their resources.  Local officials are elected by their local voters to address the issues before those communities. Greater flexibility for school boards, city councils, mayors and boards of supervisors, along with state government officials, will allow for more effective allocation of resources. Changing the mandated items that must be bargained for allows management the ability to actually manage.

An arbitration system that works for taxpayers

Under the old collective bargaining system, taxpayers weren’t protected and were treated like an unlimited cash machine.  The new system gives taxpayers a seat at the table and ensures that they’re treated fairly.  House Republicans reformed the arbitration process to require arbitrators to consider financial and economic realities when rendering a decision.

Taxpayers are no longer the collection agent for government unions

Our reforms also ended the practice of the taxpayers serving as the dues collection agent for public sector unions.  The government and taxpayers shouldn’t be responsible for collecting the union’s dues.  If a government union has won the right to collectively bargain, it is completely reasonable to expect them to collect their own dues instead of having their employer, at the taxpayer’s expense, do it for them.


Combined school board and municipal elections

Most people know that general elections are held in even-numbered years on the first Tuesday in November.  However, many others forget that we have off-year elections for school boards and city governments.  In previous odd-numbered years, school board elections were held in September and municipal elections were held in November.  House Republicans believed it made sense to combine these elections and hold them in November to increase voter participation AND reduce election costs.

Joint school board and municipal elections will begin in 2019.


Enacted smart sentencing to keep Iowans safe

House File 579 makes smart criminal justice reforms that remove mandatory minimum sentences for a number of non-violent offenses.  The bill also imposes stricter punishment on individuals that are convicted of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer.  This will allow resources to be better used targeting dangerous criminals rather than non-violent offenders.  These reforms are both tough and smart on crime.

The bill also protects law enforcement by imposing stricter punishment on individuals convicted of attempted murder on a law enforcement officer.


Invested in key budget priorities

House Republicans treat the state budget just like Iowa families and businesses treat their own budgets.  You have to prioritize spending and live within your means.

A sluggish farm economy has made Iowa’s budget situation a little more difficult than years past with inaccurate revenue projections.  Even with these challenges, House Republicans made it a priority to invest in key programs that Iowans support:

  • K-12 Education:  We continued to provide Iowa’s students with a world-class education by investing an additional $40 million in schools, bringing total K-12 funding to $3.2 billion.
  • Community Colleges:  Iowa’s employers count on job training programs at community colleges to provide workers with the skills needed for 21st century careers.
  • Iowa State Patrol:  We provided additional funding for the State Patrol to hold an academy and train new Troopers to replace retiring ones on Iowa’s roads and ensure quick response times in emergencies.

Repealed the sunset on the Property Assessment Appeal Board

In 2005, the General Assembly created the Property Assessment Appeal Board (PAAB) to allow Iowans to protest their property assessments.  Prior to the creation of the PAAB, property taxpayers were forced to go through district which was very expensive and time consuming.  The PAAB gives taxpayers another option to dispute an assessment that they believe is inaccurate or unfair.

The PAAB was scheduled to sunset in 2021, but the Legislature repealed that to permanently keep it.  House Republicans understand the value that provides to taxpayers in terms of saving time and money.

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