Policy Perspectives
April 3, 2016
Professional Developers of Iowa's Bill Tracker is HERE 
Winding Down
The start of April brings the beginning of the end for the 2016 legislative session of the 86th Iowa General Assembly. Monday, April 4th will mark the 85th session day of the 100-day scheduled session, a mere 15 days from the deadline by which legislative per diems expire for the year. They can (and do) go into overtime often, but this year many legislators believe they will finish near the 100th day (April 19th).
With that said though, the Legislature still has a lot of heavy lifting to do. There are typically ten budget bills every year, and none of those have been drafted yet. However, leadership from both chambers have been meeting multiple times a day which could indicate a willingness to agree on joint spending levels for each of the budget bills. If that happens, bills could be drafted and begin moving very quickly.
At this time, it is appropriate for us to note that this publication, which typically comes out every two weeks during session, will NOT be published two weeks from now IF it looks like the Legislature could adjourn in the near future. If that is the case, we will instead wait and publish AFTER they adjourn for the year. In the mean time though, keep an eye out for timely alerts requesting you to take action.
Education Funding
The key development of the past two weeks that cleared the way for the budget negotiations to begin was the agreement that school funding will grow by 2.25% next year (equal to about $153.8 million). The 2.25% increase is predicted to increase the statewide per pupil funding from $6,446 to $6,591.
Since education is the largest piece of the state budget, small movements up or down in that number represent a large shift in available revenues. K-12 funding makes up over $3 billion of Iowa's $7.351 billion budget, or roughly 42%. When coupled with appropriations to the State's universities and community colleges, education accounts for about 55% of Iowa's finances.
Water Quality
In addition to the budget bills, the other key issue that will need to be resolved is what to do about water quality. This a very complicated issue at the Capitol, with dozens of organizations having a different take about all or parts of the issue.
The Governor's proposal still marries the 1-cent sales tax for schools with water quality, however neither legislative chamber is moving language that connects those issues. The Governor's approach, however, to the water quality part of his bill, is a section the House is looking at.
The House Ways & Means Committee this week passed legislation (HF 2451) to convert the current sales tax Iowans pay on their water bills into an equal excise tax and then divert those funds toward a program that would help cities upgrade their water and wastewater treatment facilities. Those funds - about $28 million/year - currently go to the State's General Fund. That bill will likely have more sections added to it this week when the House Appropriations Committee takes a turn at the bill.
There are numerous other initiatives out there, including one in each chamber to specifically target three of the most vital watersheds. In addition to that, a number of groups that have backed the 3/8-cent IWILL proposal are trying to make the case for funding the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund to address water quality, since 60% of those funds would go toward water quality and the other parts of the fund would address Quality of Life needs that are proving to be a critical need as Iowa competes with the rest of the nation and the world for workforce.  
A Few PDI Issues

Tax Increment Financing (TIF)
The House was poised to take up the TIF Bill (HF 2435) this past Thursday for debate, but instead did not debate any bills that day. Instead, HF 2435 has been added to the Debate Calendar for Monday, April 4.   We are hoping they will reconsider and instead not debate HF 2435 in the House this session. 

We need PDI members to continue to call and email their House members and let them know you would prefer they not take any action on TIF legislation this year.  To supplement the talking points we have sent in previous alerts, we are including below the three bullet points that were sent out by the Iowa League of Cities, in case that information is helpful in preparing your message to legislators:
  • The bill terminates the Urban Renewal Area (URA) rather than just individual TIF districts within the URA. There are important reasons to maintain the URA outside of the TIF district.
  • The bill does not include protection for existing obligations and could impact cities that have outstanding debt in one of these types of TIF districts. The Legislative Service Agency (LSA) report shows 12.8 percent of current existing debt that was reported in December matures after 2036.
  • The bill prohibits the construction of public buildings with all future TIF revenues. Public buildings can lead to economic growth or stabilization in a slum or blighted area. Businesses often request infrastructure to serve their economic development projects, and some public improvements can act as the key anchor to a valuation increase. Cities report that public safety buildings, such as police and fire facilities, as well as public buildings that serve economic development areas, such as parking garages, are often necessary to incentivize and service quality TIF projects. Public buildings that are not paid through TIF revenues will likely be paid for through property taxes.
Not sure who represents you in the Iowa House?  Click HERE.

Renewable Chemical Production Tax Credit
The Renewable Chemical Production Tax Credit bill (SF 2300) passed the Iowa House on March 28 with a vote of 95-1 (with 4 absent) and was sent to the Governor.  The Governor plans to sign SF 2300 into law this Wednesday, April 6. 

Thank you to all those PDI members that called and emailed on behalf of this legislation!  An IEDA staff member told PDI board members that they are already getting inquiries about the program.  We look forward to the implementation of this new program in the months ahead.
Enhance Iowa
The Senate Appropriations Committee made some minor changes to Senator Dotzler's Enhance Iowa bill ( SF 2280) and passed it out of committee on Wednesday.  As a refresher, in years when the State's ending fund balance exceeds $100 million, this bill would authorize $25 million to be allocated to Quality of Life programs, including Community Attraction and Tourism (CAT), River CAT, trails, state parks, watershed protection, and sports tourism.
Senator Dotzler shepards the Enhance Iowa bill through the Senate Appropriations Committee, March 30, 2016
SF 2280 faces an uncertain future in the days ahead, since the House has indicated a reluctance to act on legislation that commits money from the State's ending fund balance.  However, the bill being alive and making forward progress at this late point in the session is a good sign for supporters.   If you have input, now would be a good time to call or email your legislator!

Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP)
Those of you that are supporters of REAP and/or members of the REAP Alliance should be aware that the Alliance put out an alert to all members this week asking for them to contact their legislators right away in support of REAP.  With budget negotiations being undertaken right now, there is concern that REAP's $16 million appropriation might be in jeopardy.  (REAP is supposed to be funded at $20 million, but has been capped instead at $16 million in recent years).   Cuts to REAP would have a devastating effect on county conservation, parks, and a host of other Quality of Life programs.  If you want more information about REAP, go HERE

Legislators got a glimpse at their election future in mid-March, when the candidate filing deadline hit. Thirteen legislators will step down this year, but another 44 got a by this time around. At least so far, because parties can field candidates after the deadline through convention (but only if no one announced they were running).
Legislators Retiring - Senators (1) & Representatives (12)
   Sen. Dick Dearden (D-Des Moines)
   Rep. Deb Berry (D-Waterloo)
   Rep. Darrel Branhagen (R-Decorah)
   Rep. Josh Byrnes (R-Osage)
   Rep. David Dawson (D-Sioux City)
   Rep. Nancy Dunkel (D-Dyersville)
   Rep. Ron Jorgenson (R-Sioux City)
   Rep. John Kooiker (R-Boyden)
   Rep. Linda Miller (R-Bettendorf)
   Rep. Brian Moore (R-Bellevue)
   Rep. Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha)
   Rep. Quentin Stanerson (R-Center Point)
   Rep. Sally Stutsman (D-Iowa City)
Legislators Running Unopposed (so far) - Senators (8) & Representatives (36)
   Sen. Mark Costello (R-Imogene)
   Sen. Randy Feenstra (R-Hull)
   Sen. Dennis Guth (R-Klemme)
   Sen. Tim Kapucian (R-Keystone)
   Sen. Janet Petersen (D-Des Moines)
   Sen. Ken Rozenboom (R-Oskaloosa)
   Sen. Mark Segebart (R-Vail)
   Sen. Amy Sinclair (R-Allerton)
   Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad (D-Des Moines)
   Rep. Terry Baxter (R-Garner)
   Rep. Bruce Bearinger (D-Oelwein)
   Rep. Timi Brown-Powers (D-Waterloo)
   Rep. Dennis Cohoon (D-Burlington)
   Rep. David Deyoe (R-Nevada)
   Rep. Cecil Dolecheck (R-Mt. Ayr)
   Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-Dubuque)
   Rep. Ruth Ann Gaines (D-Des Moines)
   Rep. Curt Hanson (D-Fairfield)
   Rep. Lisa Heddens (D-Ames)
   Rep. Steven Holt (R-Denison)
   Rep. Chuck Holz (R-LeMars)
   Rep. Bruce Hunter (D-Des Moines)
   Rep. Dan Huseman (R-Aurelia)
   Rep. Chuck Isenhart (D-Dubuque)
   Rep. Dave Jacoby (D-Coralville)
   Rep. Megan Jones (R-Sioux Rapids)
   Rep. Bobby Kaufmann (R-Wilton)
   Rep. Jerry Kearns (D-Keokuk)
   Rep. Vicki Lensing (D-Iowa City)
   Rep. Jim Lykam (D-Davenport)
   Rep. Mary Mascher (D-Iowa City)
   Rep. Norlin Mommsen (R-DeWitt)
   Rep. Tom Moore (R-Griswold)
   Rep. Kirsten Running-Marquardt (D-Cedar Rapids)
   Rep. Tom Sands (R-Muscatine)
   Rep. Mike Sexton (R-Rockwell City)
   Rep. David Sieck (R-Glenwood)
   Rep. Mark Smith (D-Marshalltown)
   Rep. Art Staed (D-Cedar Rapids)
   Rep. Rob Taylor (R-West Des Moines)
   Rep. Linda Upmeyer (R-Clear Lake)
   Rep. Guy Vander Linden (R-Oskaloosa)
   Rep. John Wills (R-Spirit Lake)
   Rep. Cindy Winckler (D-Davenport)
Legislators with Primaries - Representatives (9):
   Rep. Greg Forristall (R-Macedonia)
   Rep. Mary Gaskill (D-Ottumwa)
   Rep. Stan Gustafson (R-Cumming)
   Rep. Jake Highfill (R-Johnston)
   Rep. Dan Kelley (D-Newton)
   Rep. Jarad Klein (R-Keota)
   Rep. Kevin Koester (R-Ankeny)
   Rep. Brian Meyer (D-Des Moines)
   Rep. Jo Oldson (D-Des Moines)
There are also two open House seats with only one person running in them (same party as retiring legislator) - Rep. Linda Miller's seat and Rep. Deborah Berry's seat. As with those without opposition, the parties may still nominate someone to run in those areas where they do not have a candidate.
Other interesting things to note:
   Former legislator Andy McKean of Anamosa is coming out of retirement to run as the Republican for House District 58, the seat vacated by Rep. Brian Moore. McKean was a Representative from 1978-1992 and a Senator from 1992-2002. It's not a given that he'll win; he faces a three-way primary to get there.
   Former Rep. Joe Riding of Altoona is looking for a rematch, as he challenges first-term legislator Rep. Zach Nunn, who was elected to a leadership position this year. Riding lost to Nunn two years ago.
   Former Rep. Mark Lofgren was a State Representative from 2011-2014, and left office for an unsuccessful Congressional run. He has his sights set this time on the Iowa Senate, challenging incumbent Sen. Chris Brase of Muscatine.
   The daughter of retiring Sen. Dick Dearden has announced her plans to run for her father's seat. Pam Conner will have to face off against a primary challenger before making it to the general election ballot.

Legislative Forums
Advocate with your State Senator and Representative!! Please follow that link below to find out where legislative forums are occurring in your area!!
If you know of other legislative forums that do not appear on this list, let us know at info@ialobby.com!
Bills Being Tracked for PDI

Below is a table of the bills we are tracking for you. Please be sure to check the "Bill Tracker" link at the top and bottom of this message to see a more current version.

Bill# Title Status
Abandoned Building Program
Summary | Details 
House Appropriations Committee 
Makes changes to city eligibility requirements for receipt of abandoned building program funding assistance.
Workforce Housing Tax Incentives Program
Summary | Details 
House Ways & Means Committee 
Increases to $25 million from $20 million the maximum amount of tax credits that the economic development authority may annually allocate to the workforce housing tax incentives program.
SAVE Fund Extension
Summary | Details 
House Ways & Means Committee 
Extends the Secure an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE) fund to January 1, 2050.
Water Service Taxation
Summary | Details 
House Ways & Means Committee 
Exempts water service by a utility from the state sales tax. Creates a state excise tax on water utility sales. Allows counties to impose a local water service tax.
Summary | Details 
House Ways & Means Committee 
Extends the state sales tax of 6% until January 1, 2050, to support the Secure and Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE) fund, and modifies use of SAVE revenues to include water quality initiatives.
Academic/Career Guidance & CTE Programs
Summary | Details 
Senate Floor
Modifies provisions relating to a student plan for progress toward high school graduation, which each eighth grade student enrolled in a school district must complete. Modifies provisions related to career and technical education.
Tax Coupling and Sales Tax (Consumables) Changes
Summary | Details 
Makes several changes to state taxation.
TIF Changes
Summary | Details 
House Floor
This bills makes a number of changes to tax increment financing.
High Quality Jobs Program & Chemical Production Tax Credit Program
Summary | Details 
House Ways & Means Committee 
Relates to the administration of programs by the Economic Development Authority (EDA) by modifying the high quality jobs program and creating a renewable chemical production tax credit program.
Economic Development Authority
Summary | Details 
House Floor
Makes changes to programs and duties of the Economic Development Authority. Modifies life cycle cost analysis provisions relating to public facilities, makes technical changes pertaining to the high quality jobs program, modifies economic development authority assistance provisions under the business outreach program, modifies provisions concerning enterprise zones, and transfers certain duties to the authority under the historic preservation and cultural entertainment district tax credit program.
Water Quality
Summary | Details 
House Appropriations Committee 
Amends wastewater treatment financial assistance program and creates a water service excise tax.
Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Changes
Summary | Details 
House Ways & Means Committee 
Bans the use of TIF for public buildings, limits existing TIF's without an end date by ratcheting up the base by 7.5 percent per year, limits new TIF districts to 20 years. 
IEDA Tax Credits - Renewable Chemical
Summary | Details 
Senate Ways & Means Committee 
Makes changes to the administration of tax credits by the Iowa Economic Development Authority.
Manufacturing Sales and Use Tax Exemptions
Summary | Details 
House Ways & Means Committee 
Nullifies several Department of Revenue administrative rules and amendments relating to the manufacturing sales and use tax exemptions.
ISBDC and 2016 Award Winners Recognition
Summary | Details 
Recognizes Iowa Small Business Development Centers and honors 2016 award winners.
IWILL, Formula Changes, AMT
Summary | Details 
House Ways & Means Committee 
Implements the 3/8 cent sales tax increase for the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund.  Also contains significant changes to the Trust Fund's voter-approved funding formula and creates an Iowa Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).
Environmental Practices Tax Credit
Summary | Details 
House Ways & Means Committee 
Provides for an environmental practices tax credit
Property Tax Revenue from Wind Energy
Summary | Details 
Senate Ways & Means Committee 
Authorizes municipalities to provide for the division of property tax revenue (tax increment financing) collected against wind energy conversion property located within an urban renewal area.
Property Taxes for Wind Energy
Summary | Details 
Senate Ways & Means Committee 
Authorizes municipalities to provide for the division of property tax revenue (tax increment financing) collected against property located within an urban renewal area.
Urban Renewal Law
Summary | Details 
Senate Ways & Means Committee 
Prohibits urban renewal plans and projects from using TIF revenues for a tax-exempt public building.
Residential Metered Water
Summary | Details 
Senate Ways & Means Committee 
Exempts from the state sales tax the sales price from the sale or furnishing of water to residential customers and creates state and local residential water excise taxes.
Drug Prescribing and Dispensing Information Program
Summary | Details 
Sent to Governor
Requires the Board of Pharmacy to implement improvements to facilitate secure access to the Iowa Prescription Monitoring Program through electronic health and pharmacy information systems.
Economic Development Authority
Summary | Details 
House Floor
Makes changes to programs and duties of the Economic Development Authority.
High Quality Jobs Program & Chemical Production Tax Credit Program
Summary | Details 
Senate Ways & Means Committee 
Permits the Economic Development Authority to provide additional tax incentives to businesses using apprenticeship training program contractors and subcontractors for projects in which qualifying investments are made under the high quality jobs program.
Sales Tax Rebate
Summary | Details 
Senate Ways & Means Committee 
Modifies the rebate of state sales tax to the owner or operator of a baseball and softball tournament facility and movie site.
Community Catalyst Building Remediation Program
Summary | Details 
House Floor
Creates a community catalyst building remediation fund for the remediation of underutilized buildings.
Water Quality Initiative
Summary | Details 
Senate Appropriations Committee 
Redirects wagering tax receipts from the Vision Iowa fund to the water quality initiative fund beginning in FY2017-2018.  Makes an appropriation of $30.4 million from the general fund for FY 2015-2016 to the state bond repayment fund.
Enhance Iowa
Summary | Details 
Senate Floor
Creates Enhance Iowa Board, establishes Enhance Iowa Fund, and establishes sports tourism program.
High Quality Jobs Program & Chemical Production Tax Credit Program
Summary | Details 
Sent to Governor
Relates to the administration of programs by the economic development authority (EDA) by modifying the high quality jobs program and creating a renewable chemical production tax credit program.
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.
Governor's Transportation Budget
Summary | Details 
Senate Appropriations Committee 
Governor's Transportation Budget.
Solar Energy Tax Credits
Summary | Details 
Senate Ways & Means Committee 
Increases the amount of business and residential solar energy tax credits that may be claimed annually.
Construction Equipment Sales Tax
Summary | Details 
Senate Ways & Means Committee 
Provides that the purchase of construction equipment for a subsequent lease or rental that will qualify for the construction equipment exemption will only fail to qualify for the sale-for-resale exemption if the sale is to a nonqualified dealer. 
Energy Efficiency Improvement District
Summary | Details 
Senate Ways & Means Committee 
Authorizes one or more counties and one or more cities within those counties to create an energy efficiency improvement district to finance energy efficiency improvement projects for the benefit of property within the district.
Tax Exemptions for Broadband Infrastructure
Summary | Details 
Senate Ways & Means Committee 
Establishes a property tax exemption for the value of certain broadband infrastructure used to deliver internet service to the public.
Employment Services Programs
Summary | Details 
Senate Appropriations Committee 
Authorizes Iowa Workforce Development to carry out certain actions relating to the unemployment insurance program.

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