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Cornfields, Common Sense and Community
April 25, 2018

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Our last official day was on Tuesday, our one-hundredth day. We debated a few bills this week, including bills on the gubernatorial line of succession and managing the spread of disease in wild animals.

We also recognized several legislators for their public service and years in the Iowa Legislature. We enjoyed being able to honor our colleagues and reminisce about each of them and their time in the Legislature.

These individuals will be missed.

Tuesday was also the last day for our clerks and legislative pages. Westhenry was the name of my clerk this year. I appreciate his hard work and wish him and the other clerks and pages the best in their future ventures.

When this year's session comes to an end, we will have finished the 87th General Assembly, and our first as the majority in the Iowa Senate. During this time, we've accomplished a great deal and fulfilled many of the promises we made the months, even years, prior.

This year alone, the Senate voted to supply our schools with additional funding for the year and start to level the playing field between urban and rural districts, passed an energy policy to eliminate backdoor rate increases, a bill to start addressing water quality in Iowa, and policy to expand online education for our state's students. We passed a bill that would define when life begins for the smallest Americans at the sound of a heartbeat. We also passed a bill that takes the first step toward enshrining the right to bear arms into the Iowa Constitution for law abiding citizens.

The Legislature passed, and the governor signed, a bill to address the collapse of the individual health insurance market. This piece of legislation gave Iowans options for their healthcare amid the rising cost of premiums in our state.

This year laws were passed to address access to treatment for mental health patients and suicide prevention training in our schools. In Iowa the stigma of mental health has light shining in with new options and new hope.

We were proud to support the governor's initiative to educate and expand Iowa's workforce. Future Ready Iowa aims for 70 percent of Iowans to have education or training beyond high school by 2025 and expand opportunities for apprenticeship and internship programs.

We passed bills to protect consumers and prevent fraud within our workers' compensation system. Additionally, we moved several other pieces of legislation to remove barriers to economic growth, reduce needless regulations on job creators and level the playing field for job creators.

Soon, we hope to add comprehensive tax reform for Iowa working families to this list.

Working to Grow Iowa's Economy

The tax filing deadline passed Tuesday. While Iowans were filing their taxes and putting in their time at the office, Senate Republicans continued the fight for them to keep more of their hard-earned money. We have been working diligently this legislative session to provide Iowans with a significant income tax reduction. This is a fight we are committed to continuing until true income tax reform becomes a reality.

The reason we fight is two-fold: Iowa has the fifth highest personal income tax in the country and the highest corporate income tax in the country. In order to grow our economy and expand the workforce we must be open to addressing our tax structure. Just as important, we must have a tax code to help, not hinder, our existing workforce. We must reward Iowans by letting them keep more of their hard-earned dollars. When Iowans are utilizing these resources for home improvements, to buy a new vehicle, or spend it on their children, they are bolstering our economy. In turn, this will help strengthen our state budget and ensure vital services are being provided to Iowans.

Nearly two decades have passed since the Iowa Legislature passed a significant income tax reduction. It is time to simplify the tax code and reduce the tax burden on all Iowans.

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