by CBI Lobbyist
Overview / Major Events
This may well be the briefest weekly report of the year, as the public work of the General Assembly was extremely limited. In fact, the Iowa Senate did not consider a single bill this week (but did move legislation forward in committees) and the Iowa House considered only a limited calendar of bills. However, during this time in the Session (with the 100 day schedule set to close on April 19), the lack of public work often means there is a great deal of work being done privately that will result in big movement down the road.
House and Senate leaders worked throughout the week on joint budget targets, with one leader suggesting there was agreement on most issues, but that ONE large item was still left unresolved. Once joint budget targets are announced, the countdown to the end commences and the race to the finish starts. It is amazing how efficient the process functions when members are ready to get home and the finish line is within view.
Renewable Chemical Tax Credit Legislation Heads to Governor Branstad
The Iowa House passed SF 2300, a bill that creates a new tax credit for renewable chemical production tax credit, on a 95-1 vote. This was the last legislative step for the bill and it will now be sent to the Governor for his review. As this bill was the number one priority for the Iowa Economic Development Authority, it is certain the Governor will sign the bill.
Senate Appropriations Committee Approves Enhance Iowa Legislation
Quality of life investments would get a big boost through the passage of SF 2280, a bill that creates an Enhance Iowa Fund and an Enhance Iowa Board to administer up to $25 million annually to do strategic investments in quality of life activities throughout the state of Iowa. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved SF 2280 this week and now it goes to the Senate debate calendar and is eligible for action on the Senate floor.
Water Quality Initiative Clears House Ways and Means Committee
Finding a new funding source for significant water quality investments has been the highest priority for Governor Branstad this legislative session. This week the House Ways and Means Committee approved HSB 654, a bill that would pump millions of additional dollars (and it would increase each year) into water quality programs. The bill functionally diverts the sales tax from the sale of water by a water utility into a new excise tax that will fund the water quality initiatives. HSB 654 also contains an appropriation, thus, it may also need to clear the House Appropriations Committee before it can be debated by the full House.
Efforts on Behalf of Community Bankers of Iowa: