Minute with Mike, Week 12

By: 
Mike Sexton
State Representative, 10th District

From My Desk

There was very little debate this week, because it was the week of the second funnel. We were busy in policy committees passing bills to keep them alive for the session. For me, the most exciting thing this week was that the Senate passed my Anaerobic Digester bill out of the Senate Ag Committee, which means it is still alive!

I hope they run it on the Senate floor in the next few weeks and get it down do the Governor for her to sign it into law. We know our budget targets now so we are all working on getting the state budget put together.

We are caught in the time frame of trying to get the budget process started and trying to figure out how much money we have to do income tax reform. It is the typical chicken and egg scenario—which comes first, appropriations or tax reform?

These processes travel a parallel path so at the end they both balance out, leaving enough to run the state, yet helping reduce the tax burden on Iowans. We continue talks about the bottle bill, inheritance tax, ethanol standards, tax cuts and other important issues that have not made it to the floor yet.

Back home, the ewes are getting fat and our first lambs are due on April 20. This is the time of year when it gets tough being down here with the grass turning green and the temperature getting nicer. It is the constant reminder that we need to get home to get the equipment ready to go to the field.

Yes, spring is in the air and summer is just around the corner!

 

Child Care Bills are dying in the Senate

The House has been aggressive in addressing child care access this session, and we know there is not one single solution to this complex issue. This is exactly why the House passed ten bills to address the crisis through a multipronged approach.

Together, these bills increase the child care workforce, increase provider rates to maintain existing child care facilities, provide incentives to develop new child care facilities, and help hard-working families afford the high cost of child care.

While some of the bills passed in the House did not survive the second funnel deadline, many of these bills are still alive in the Senate and are awaiting further action. The Governor has indicated that she shares the House’s priority in increasing access to affordable, quality child care.

It’s vital for our state’s success that these bills pass the Senate so they can be signed by the Governor and become law. We need your help getting these bills sent to the Governor’s desk. Please call your Senator and tell them to pass these bills.

 

HF 185 – Governor’s Biofuel Bill

I have received a lot of emails on this bill. My thoughts are short and to the point.

90 percent of Iowa’s corn is used in two ways; livestock feed and ethanol. If you mess with either one of those you put Iowa in a financial tail spin that not only effects agriculture but the entire state. We created the ethanol industry over twenty years ago when I was in the Senate.

If we decide not to take care of the bio fuels industry in the State of Iowa I believe we have a dim future.

This week, the Iowa House Ways and Means committee passed HF 185, a bill to increase access to ethanol in Iowa. The goal of this legislation is to support an Iowa industry critical to our state’s economic success.

In its current form, the bill invests significantly into Iowa’s renewable fuel infrastructure program, boosts farm income, reduces emissions, and expands access to ethanol at the pump. Conversations on the bill’s final form are still ongoing.

This is not a mandate, it sets a standard.

 

Agriculture

On March 24, the Iowa House passed House File 694 by a near unanimous 94-aye to 1-nay vote. HF 694 has a Senate companion bill (Senate File 360) which is currently in the Senate Ways & Means Committee and HF 694 has been referred to the Senate Ways & Means Committee for its consideration.

The legislation adjusts the Beginning Farmer Ag-Asset Transfer Tax credit program. This bill comes from the Governor’s office and makes several changes to the states Beginning Farmer Tax Credit program that was reauthorized and changed in the 2019 session (House File 768). The notable and significant changes to this program proposed by HF 694 are as follows:

- It increases the number of times an agreement to transfer agricultural assets can be renewed from once to unspecified; and increases the cumulative lengths of renewed agreements from no more than 10-years to no more than 15-years.

- It removes the current restriction on the number of years an eligible taxpayer can participate in the program which is 10-years and removes the existing restriction that each annual tax certificate be restricted to one agreement. This would allow a taxpayer to receive tax credit certificate for up to 15-years and with multiple agreements with different parties.

- It removes the annual $50,000 cumulative cap of tax credit payment any one participating eligible taxpayer can receive and instead limits any one agreement to not to exceed $50,000 in any year.

- It removes language that appeared to require as part of an ag asset transfer agreement that the lease of agricultural land be included and replaces it with language that an ‘agricultural Improvement’ means any...if located on any size parcel of agricultural land.’

 

Pass It On

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We have created a Facebook page that I will be using to add comments about what is going on in the Capitol and the House floor. This page will also be used to make comments as bills are being debated on the floor.

Please go to www.facebook.com/citizensforsexton or search for "State Representative Mike Sexton" on Facebook and like it so you can stay informed about legislation we are working on.

Please let me know what you are thinking! Feel free to contact me at my legislative email at mike.sexton@legis.iowa.gov.

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