Policy Perspectives
May 3, 2015
Professional Developers of Iowa's Bill Tracker is HERE 
An End and A Beginning

 

Friday, May 1st marked an end and a beginning for the 2015 Legislative session. It marked the end of the 16th week of the session, the 110th Session Day (of 110 scheduled) and the last day that legislators will receive per diems for service this year. It marked the beginning of OVERTIME. From now through the end of session, legislators are basically volunteering their time.

 

We ended the regularly scheduled session without a single appropriations bill signed into law and with an impasse over allowable growth funding for schools still very much intact. However, there are definite signs that we are closing in on the finish line, one being that all except one of the eleven appropriations bills have been written and are advancing through the process. See our Appropriations Bill Tracking Table below:

 

 

Appropriations Bill

Senate Bill Number

House Bill Number

Status

1

Federal Block Grant

 

HF 630

Passed House4/15

Passed Senate 4/29

To Governor

2

Transportation

 

HF 637

Passed House 4/21

 

Passed Senate Appropriations 4/29-on calendar

3

RIIF

 

HF 650

Passed House Approps 4/22 - On calendar

4

Administration and Regulation

SF 498

HF 659

SF Passed Senate 4/29

 

HF 659 passed House 4/30

5

Agriculture/Natural Resources

SF 494

 

Passed Senate 4/27

 

Passed House Appropriations 4/29-on calendar

6

Economic Development

SF 499

 

Passed Senate 4/29

 

Passed House Approps 4/30-on calendar

7

Education

SF 493

HF 658

SF Passed Senate 4/29

 

Passed House 4/30

8

Health and Human Services

SSB 1288

 

Senate HHS passed spreadsheet 4/30

 

Pending passage out of Senate Approps 4/30

9

Judiciary

SF 496

 

Passed Senate 4/29

 

Passed House Approps 4/30-on calendar

10

Justice System

SF 497

 

Passed Senate 4/29

 

Passed House Approps 4/30-on calendar

11

Standings

Senate expected to start

 

 


By the end of next week, it is likely that both chambers will have had a vote on every appropriations bill except Standings, and that most of those bills will be forced into a conference committee. After that, we will enter what a couple legislators called "the Black Hole," meaning that most legislative activity will grind to a halt while the Governor and leaders from the House and Senate negotiate the terms of what they will accept in the final package. Once we emerge from the Black Hole, session can wrapped up very quickly, probably within 48 hours. However, the Black Hole is the unknown; they could announce next week that they have a deal, or they could make that announcement on June 25th. Who knows?

 

Since the remainder of the session now becomes a giant question mark, this will be the last regularly scheduled legislative update of the session. From here on out, we'll be relying on sending alerts to keep you posted on what is happening through the end of session.

 

Waiting for debate to start, caucuses to conclude, amendments to be drafted, legislators often have to figure out a way to lighten the mood. Here you'll see Senator Joe Seng playing his accordion to welcome another morning in the Iowa Senate. Shortly after this photo was taken, there were more than dozen pages, Senators and staff crowded around him taking photos.
It's All About The Budget  

The budget is the big hold-up now that stands in the way of the Legislature adjourning for the year. It starts with their inability to agree on first what tax dollars are currently being spent in THIS fiscal year and then spills into the questions of what numbers they are allowed to spend next year. Their resulting calculations put them about $166 million apart on their overall budget targets, meaning that the Senate and Governor have submitted budget bills that collectively spend $166 million more than the House.

 

This means that across the different General Fund appropriations bills, the House is finding $166 million of cuts to whatever numbers are in the Senate bills. The bulk of that $166 million comes from the two largest budget bills, the Health and Human Services budget ($104M in cuts) and the Education budget ($48M in cuts). Though the cuts in the other bills are much smaller, they amount to bigger percentage cuts in many cases because those state programs are much smaller.

 

In particular, you'll want to keep an eye on the following:

 

Economic Development Budget (View HERE in more detail)

The Senate bill largely funds IEDA at existing levels, per the Governor's request. They add in $500K for HomeBase Iowa marketing. The Senate bill funds Iowa Workforce Development at essentially last year's level, but increases funding for labor services by $843,877 for additional wage enforcement staff. The Senate bill also increases COG funding by $50K.

 

The House bill CUTS IEDA Administration by $795,913 below last year (which is $1,045,913 below the Senate and Governor's level) and removes the $500K for HomeBase Iowa. In committee, the House moved to restore $700K to IEDA Administration by taking it from the Demonstration Fund that is used for IEDA projects. The House increases IWD funds for labor services by $175K less than the Senate's increase.   The House bill strips out the increase in COG funding and eliminates the$1M for STEM internships.

 

Rebuild Iowa's Infrastructure Fund (View HERE in more detail)

Only the House version of the RIIF Bill is available, but the Senate should be putting together their version this week. The House version contains $5M for CAT, $500K for Regional Sports Authorities, $1M for Great Places, $9.6M for lake projects to improve watersheds, $2M for low-head dam mitigation, $5M for state park infrastructure, $3M for trails, and $3M for the Railroad Revolving Loan Grant program.

   

TIF Bill Update  

 

As the clock on the 2015 session heads into overtime, we have still not seen any more movement on HF 628. PDI is registered as opposed to the bill, and will continue to urge the Legislature to either not consider HF 628 or to amend it to allow a lot more flexibility. Please continue to weigh in with your House members about how you use TIF locally, and provide any feedback you can about HF 628.  We NEED to ensure that legislators have heard from their local PDI members about this bill!  

Bills Being Tracked

We are posting below the bills that appear in the bill tracker right now.   As these bills take a step forward in the legislative process, their status is updated in the tracker.

Bill# Title Status
HF167
Public Improvement Projects
Summary | Details
Signed

Prohibits government entities from charging a fee for access to project contract documents when such documents are provided electronically. 

HF208
Residential Property/Municipal Improvement Districts
Summary | Details
House Ways & Means Committee

Allows residential property in an improvement district within a designated historic district.

HF385
Economic Development Authority Bill
Summary | Details
House Floor

Makes changes to the programs and duties of the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

HF604
Alternative base income tax
Summary | Details
House Ways & Means Committee

Relates to an alternative base income tax.

HF615
Rural Improvement Zones
Summary | Details
Sent to Governor

Makes changes to rural improvement zones.

HF619
Eminent Domain for Lakes/Drinking Water
Summary | Details
House Floor

Makes changes to current law regarding the use of condemnation for the purpose of creating a lake for drinking water purposes.

HF628
Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Changes
Summary | Details
House Floor

Relates to TIF changes.

HF630
Federal Block Grants
Summary | Details
Sent to Governor

Appropriates federal block grants and other federal funds.

HF641
Governor's Broadband Bill
Summary | Details
Senate Ways & Means Committee

Expands broadband access in Iowa. 

HF645
Renewable Energy Tax Credit
Summary | Details
Senate Ways & Means Committee

Changes maximum amount of renewable energy tax credit.

HF650
RIIF (Infrastructure) Budget
Summary | Details
House Floor

Appropriates $119.1 million in gaming dollars from the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund (RIIF) for various infrastructure projects in FY16.  Appropriates $71.9 million in FY17.

HF656
IEDA Administration of Tax Credits
Summary | Details
House Floor

Makes changes to the administration of tax credits by the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

HSB174
Sales Tax Exemption/Manufacturing
Summary | Details
House Ways & Means Committee

Relates to the sales tax exemption for the purchase or rental of certain items used in manufacturing, research and development, data processing or storage, or recycling activities.

HSB181
Eminent Domain Challenges
Summary | Details
House Government Oversight Committee

Addresses challenges to eminent domain authority. 

HSB183
Condemnation Permits
Summary | Details
House Government Oversight Committee

Requires condemning agency to get all necessary permits before starting process of condemnation. 

HSB184
Eminent Domain/Transmission Lines
Summary | Details
House Government Oversight Committee

Legislative permission to use of eminent domain for electric transmission lines.

HSB185
Petitions for Electric Transmission Line Franchise
Summary | Details
House Government Oversight Committee

Relates to petitions for electric transmission line franchises.

HSB226
Sales tax exemption on certain construction machinery
Summary | Details
House Ways & Means Committee

Relates to sales taxes and exemptions for certain construction machinery.

HSB229
Sales tax - metered water for residential customers
Summary | Details
House Ways & Means Committee

Relates to the sale of metered water for residential customers.

HSB232
Tax credits - rural business growth funds
Summary | Details
House Ways & Means Committee

Creates a tax credit for investments through rural business growth funds.

HSB250
LOST Changes
Summary | Details
House Ways & Means Committee

Makes changes to the Local Option Sales Tax law.

SF104
Personal & Corporate Income Tax Reduction
Summary | Details
Senate Ways & Means Committee

Reduces both personal and corporate income tax rates by 20%.

SF211
Exempting Capital Gains from Income Taxes
Summary | Details
Senate Ways & Means Committee

Exempts net capital gains from state individual income taxes.

SF249
Individual Income Tax Rate Reductions
Summary | Details
Senate Ways & Means Committee

Reduces personal income tax rates by 10%.

SF257
Gas Tax
Summary | Details
Signed

Increases the gas tax by 10 cents to pay for critical road and bridge construction projects.

SF289
Secondary Road Infrastructure Appropriations
Summary | Details
Senate Appropriations Committee

Appropriates $99 million for secondary road infrastructure projects.

SF344
Construction Trades Apprenticeship Tax Credit
Summary | Details
Senate Ways & Means Committee

Creates a construction trades apprenticeship tax credit.

SF367
Endow Iowa Tax Credits/Gifts
Summary | Details
Senate Ways & Means Committee

Modifies the types of endowment gifts that qualify for the Endow Iowa Tax Credit.

SF41
Secondary Road Bridge Projects
Summary | Details
Senate Appropriations Committee

Appropriates $200 million for secondary road bridge projects.

SF449
Condemnation of Property
Summary | Details
Senate Floor, Second Time

Changes the procedures and requirements for condemning property.

SF457
Public Information Board/ Closed Session Meetings
Summary | Details
Signed

Allows the Office of the Ombudsman d to get copies of the minutes and audio recordings of closed session governmental body meetings without a court order, if the purpose is to resolve complaints alleging violations of Iowa's open meetings law.

SF461
Broadband/Fiberoptic Network Infrastructure
Summary | Details
House Ways & Means Committee

Expands broadband access using a fiber optic network infrastructure and expands the duties of the Chief Information Officer in this area.

SF493
Education Budget
Summary | Details
House Appropriations Committee

Senate (SF493): Appropriates a little over $1 billion for the Department of Education (including Vocational Rehabilitation), Department for the Blind, Regents Institutions (including School for the Deaf and Sight-Saving School), State Library, workforce programs, and other related programs and services.  House (HF658): Appropriates $977.6 million for these programs and agencies, $8.6 million cut from current spending and $48.4 million below the Senate recommendations.

SF499
Economic Development Budget
Summary | Details
House Floor

Appropriates $44.3 million for economic development, cultural affairs, and workforce programs and agencies for FY16, an increase of $1.7 million. Also appropriates a total of $33.9 million from other funds for FY16, an increase of $250,000.  Appropriates 50% of that amount for FY17 (legislators will come back next year to adjust).
SR11
Study to Eliminate Iowa Income Tax
Summary | Details
Senate Ways & Means Committee

Establishes an interim study committee to study elimination of the income tax in Iowa.

SSB1104
Endow Iowa Tax Credits
Summary | Details
Senate Ways & Means Committee

Increases the amount of Endow Iowa Tax Credits that can be authorized by $1.5 million.

SSB1105
Aggregate Tax Credit Limits /EDA Programs
Summary | Details
Senate Ways & Means Committee

Reduces the aggregate tax credit limits for certain IEDA programs. 

SSB1261
Governor's Economic Development Budget
Summary | Details
Senate Appropriations Committee

Appropriates $44.5 million to economic development, tourism, and cultural affairs as recommended by the Governor.

SSB1266
Pollution Control Property
Summary | Details
Senate Ways & Means Committee

Does not allow exemption from property taxes for pollution-control property used as part of certain confinement feeding operations, unless the property is used in a small animal feeding operation.

SSB1272
Iowa Water & Land Legacy (IWILL)
Summary | Details
Senate Ways & Means Committee

Raises the state's sales tax to fund the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund.

SSB1287
Iowa Next (Take Two)
Summary | Details
Senate Ways & Means Committee

After the Governor's original Iowa Next bill died in the first legislative funnel, Senator Dotzler constructed this bill to keep the Iowa Next concept alive and through the legislative process.



Iowa Next, Take Two

 

Senator Bill Dotzler last week introduced legislation, SSB 1287, to implement a modified version of the Governor's Iowa Next proposal. The bill went to the Senate Appropriations Committee and is assigned to a subcommittee consisting of Senators Dotzler, Dvorsky and Chapman.

 

You can look the bill over at the link above or check out the one-page flowchart that Senator Dotzler provided (HERE).  Here are some of the highlights:

  • It's a 10-year program.  Every time there is at least $100 million left in the State's ending fund balance, $25 million would flow into this fund.  In recent memory, this would have occurred at least the last two years, this year and probably next year.
  • $11 million of the $25M would be siphoned off right away and go toward the items on the bottom of the chart - $2M for the Natural Resources Trust Fund, $2M for Watershed Protection (projects specifically related to recreation, ie. buffer strips up the river from a whitewater kayak course, etc.), $2M for Trails, $2.5M for CAT (supplemental, on top of whatever the Legislature gives CAT elsewhere in the budget), and $2.5 for RECAT (River Enhancement CAT, which hasn't seen ANY funding in a few years now).
  • $14M would flow into the "Next Fund" and be disseminated by the new Iowa Next Commission under the Dept. of Cultural Affairs.  IEDA would integrally involved, and would control the CAT, RECAT and Sports Tourism parts of the Iowa Next fund.
  • An unknown piece right now is how the $6M in the Cultural Trust would be used.  Senator Dotzler indicated he would like to see 10% per year utilized by giving it to museums and other cultural outlets to facilitate more collection displays and other similar events.
A subcommittee meeting will be held on this bill this Tuesday morning at 8:00AM. Whether or not this bill has enough time and/or support to make it through the legislative process is a big unknown, but Senator Dotzler does appear committed to at least trying to move a bill out of the Senate.


Publication Note    

Since the remainder of the session now becomes a giant question mark, this will be the last regularly scheduled legislative update of the session. From here on out, we'll be relying on sending alerts to keep you posted on what is happening through the end of session.  

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