Closing Remarks from Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver

Below are closing remarks from Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver as prepared for delivery:

Madame President, 

The headline of this session is simple: Iowa’s income tax rate will be the 6th lowest in the country and starting pay for Iowa teachers will be the 5th highest in the country. 

At the beginning of session, I talked about making sure Iowans kept more of what they earn. Easing the tax burden for working Iowans is, has been, and always will be my biggest priority. I’m proud of our work to ease that burden this year. Beginning January 1, 2025, Iowa families will save an average of $800 on their state income taxes. Total money remaining in the hands of working families is $1.3 billion. These savings will continue year after year, permanently ensuring Iowans keep more of what they earn. A flat, simple rate provides incentives to work hard and build a life in the greatest state in the country. Constitutional amendments to require a flat tax and a supermajority to raise taxes give Iowans the confidence to know state government will stay within its means, and taxes will remain low, fair, and structured to promote growth. 

The most critical issue on the minds of Iowans and Americans is the crisis at the southern border. Day after day the Biden Administration has ignored its duty to defend the border and provide for the security of our country. This Legislature responded by passing a bold new law, SF 2340, to empower Iowa law enforcement to deport people in our state illegally. The federal government refuses to do its job, so Iowa will get to work and do what we can to defend our country and keep the people in this state safe. This year we also enhanced pension benefits for many law enforcement officers to recognize and reward them for their lifetime of work to keep our families safe. 

Perhaps the issue that attracted the most attention this session was the education reform proposal to improve outcomes for Iowa special education students. Iowa’s performance has been below expectations, and it was time for reform. This year’s education reform package changes the delivery of special education funding, raises teacher pay, and increases funding flexibility over $68 million to help Iowa schools best meet the needs of their students. 

One other dominant issue in this country is the continual rise in prices. Inflation has been eating away at the ability of Iowa families to afford the necessities of life. Unrestrained spending at the federal level has created an inflation monster that has not been tamed. In Iowa, again, we’re doing things the opposite way. We banned local government from implementing the types of programs driving inflation and a workforce crisis. We also helped Iowans fight inflation with our continued drive to reduce their tax burden. The extra $800 the average family will have next year will be useful when it’s time to buy clothes, food, or save for the next big expense. 

We also passed vital policies to protect our greatest natural resource from being owned by foreign entities like communist China. Iowa had some of the strongest laws in the country to protect our land, but enhancing our vigilance to protect the state’s greatest resource meets the demands of our time and the expectations of Iowans. 

Another consistent goal of Senate Republicans over the years has been reducing the size of state government and making it more efficient. Last year a major government reorganization bill passed and it included a review of the state’s board and commissions. This year the legislature acted on that review, eliminating dozens of outdated boards and commissions, consolidating others, and streamlining the process for Iowans interacting with their government. This body also led on ensuring state rules were being reviewed and ensuring those regulations put Iowans first, not government. 

Big and bold ideas have always been our focus, and our caucus has never shied away from difficult or complex issues. This year was no different. This session was another tremendous success for Senate Republicans as we kept our promises to Iowans and focused on big reforms, bold changes, and major tax relief. I know we all look forward to a break from this session and to return in 2025 ready to continue making Iowa the best place to live in the world.

Opening Day Remarks from Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver 

Below are the opening day remarks from Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver as prepared for delivery:

Good morning Madame President and colleagues of the Senate,

I’d like to take a moment now to mention the tragedy in Perry last week. It is impossible to find words to appropriately convey the sorrow and the sympathy we have to the victims of the shooting, but the people of Perry should know we share in their grief and support them at this time. 

Good men and women in Perry and surrounding communities did many good things to prevent this tragedy from being worse. 

Law enforcement response time was 7 minutes. When they arrived, they immediately contained the threat, protected students, and quickly determined no additional threats existed. Emergency health care professionals also responded quickly, cared for those injured in the attack, and took them to the hospital. 

According to news reports, the principal of Perry High School approached the shooter and put himself in extraordinary danger to protect the lives of students in his school. It is a remarkable demonstration of courage and self-sacrifice. Being a servant leader is easy to talk about, but in moments like these it is hard to do. It shows how leaders act in times of crisis. It shows how Iowans act to protect and defend each other. 

Thank you to law enforcement, health care providers, and school leaders for all their work to defend Perry students. They are in our prayers as they move forward from the evil perpetrated in their community last week.

While we cannot legislate away evil and get rid of all the bad things in the world, we will keep our thoughts and prayers with Perry as we move forward to put in place policies to help make our state better and stronger.

Life is full of competition. It’s basketball and wrestling season and teams from elementary school to college are competing against each other, winning, losing, and improving. Businesses across Iowa are competing with each other for customers and market share, making their products better and their prices more economical. Competition spurs innovation, benefits consumers, and has been a key driver of the American economy, which has improved the lives of its people more than any country in history. 

Just like sports teams and small businesses, states are increasingly competing for jobs, investments, and people with other states. For a few moments, I’d like to compare the Iowa plan with the agendas of our neighbors to the north and east. 

Last month the REC evaluated Iowa’s economic status and the condition of the state budget and determined our state was experiencing organic economic growth. This growth is leading to revenues higher than expected, even with the largest income tax cut in Iowa history, the elimination of the tax on retirement income, the phasing out of the inheritance tax and a reduction in the income tax on Iowa businesses. 

The Senate has consistently demonstrated fiscal responsibility to ensure these tax cuts are sustainable. As a dad with three kids at home, I know how hard it is to be consistent. So, I applaud the members in this chamber who, year after year, do the hard work it takes to support conservative budgets. We provided reasonable increases to public safety, education, and health care, while at the same time preserving the interest of the taxpayer and improving our state’s competitiveness. 

One of our focuses as Senate Republicans is competitiveness. We want to improve Iowa’s competitiveness with the states around us, and make our state the best to live, work, and raise a family. We want Iowa to be at the top of the list for people looking for careers, the top of the list for families looking to settle down and build a home, the top of the list for employers looking to grow and expand, and the top of the list for an educated and skilled workforce. 

While Iowa has passed measured increases in state spending, our neighbors to the north have struggled quite a bit with that concept. Minnesota Democrats have their own trifecta and they used it to grow their budget by 38 percent. But a 38 percent budget increase wasn’t enough for Minnesota liberals. They passed a billion-dollar bonding package. Then, they signed into law $2.2 billion in additional tax increases, even with historic surpluses in the state. 

The contrast between the positive news from the Iowa revenue projections and Minnesota’s is clear. Iowa is projected to have a surplus of roughly $2.8 billion in fiscal year 2025, while Minnesota’s revenue estimating panel projected a $2.3 billion deficit in 2025

So much rhetoric has been spilled in this building accusing Republicans of turning Iowa into the next Kansas. I think the much bigger and much more real danger for states is becoming the next Minnesota. A state where, in the span of two years, big spending legislators and governor turned a record surplus into a projected deficit. Overspending leads to higher taxes, broken promises, and fewer opportunities. 

Last year they provided taxpayer-subsidized health care to illegal immigrants, and they gave them free college tuition. Instead of putting more resources towards police officers, they funded something called “violence interrupters.” Yeah, I don’t know what it means either.

The list of bad policies from Minnesota doesn’t stop there, but for the moment we will turn our attention to our neighbors to the east. 

Many stories have been published about how Illinois struggles to keep its people safe.  They are the first state to eliminate cash bail. They have a large sanctuary city and are enduring the incentives it creates for trafficking, the flow of fentanyl, and organized crime. It should come as no surprise when major companies from Illinois make high profile departures to other states, they often cite the significant rise in crime. They tolerated high taxes and a dysfunctional state government for years but when their employees were no longer safe, it was the final straw for them.

In Iowa we chose a different path. We have very clearly declared support for law enforcement, providing them legal protections and steady increases in funding. The state has cracked down on the serious problem of illegal immigration because we know it is a fundamental task of government to keep its people safe. 

Last year was a historic year for parents and students in Iowa. We passed a parents bill of rights, putting into law the Iong-standing concept that parents have the final say in the education of their children and gave all parents a choice in the education of their children. 

In Illinois, they killed a scholarship program for lower income students, guaranteeing school choice only for the wealthy, despite more than 20,000 Illinois kids on the waiting list for those scholarships. 

After passing school choice for Iowans, we saw thousands of parents sign up for education savings accounts to help put their child in a school that will help them be successful. While we had estimated how many would apply for this program, thousands more did. That response tells me, Iowans want choice, they want freedom, and they want to do what is best for their children. 

The point of these comparisons is to show the example we are setting with our pro-growth, pro-jobs, and pro-family policies. The policies we are enacting give families, job creators, and small businesses across the country a place to grow and succeed. The message to them is, “Iowa is the place for you.” 

We’ve seen results from many of the policies we’ve enacted. Iowa is the number one state to retire. We moved up from being 46th in the country for our tax climate in 2017 to 33rd due to our work on lowering rates and simplifying the tax code, and our flat tax hasn’t even gone into effect yet. Our state has been rated as the number one state for lowest housing costs and the state with the second lowest health care costs in the nation. 

The positive news isn’t just limited to headlines and rankings by national outlets. For decades Iowa’s population has been stagnant at about 3 million people. For decades, Iowa has had high tax rates and largely done business the same way. Seven years ago we started down a different path. We promised to control spending, reduce needless regulations, and open the door to new career opportunities. And we are seeing it happening. Americans are fleeing high tax, high crime, big spending states and relocating to states with low taxes and more opportunity. Iowa has been adding population, while migration out of states like California and Illinois is high.

This legislative session, we are going to stay on this path forward, making Iowa a model for other states. We will expedite the tax cuts so Iowans keep more of their money sooner. We will condense the number of income tax brackets making taxes simpler and fairer. And we will responsibly manage our budget to focus on the necessities and maintain the principle of putting the taxpayer first, not the government. We will continue to pursue reforms by reviewing the hundreds of boards and commissions populating state government. The goal is to make government more efficient and help Iowans get to work faster. 

In one sentence, here’s the plan: cut taxes, control spending, reform government, and let Iowans be great. 

Let’s get to work.

Opening Day Remarks from Senate President Amy Sinclair

Below are the opening day remarks of Senate President Amy Sinclair as prepared for delivery:

Good morning, Senators, staff, guests, and Iowans everywhere.  As I welcome you to the 2024 Session of the 90th General Assembly, my heart, like the hearts of all Iowans, is heavy.  My thoughts and prayers remain with the victims, families, and Perry community, and my heartfelt thanks goes to all of the first responders who helped save lives.  Despite this selfish act of violence in our state, I sincerely hope each of you had a chance to enjoy the interim.  Each year I’m here, there is never a shortage of new faces, and I appreciate the annual opportunity to meet new friends and rekindle old friendships.

It remains the greatest honor of my life to serve over 60,000 Iowans in District 12 and Iowans all over the state as your Senate President.  The work we do can sometimes be difficult, but it is always rewarding.  The hard work we complete in this grand building is shaping the trajectory of the state, impacting the lives of over 3,000,000 Iowans, and setting an example for other states to follow.

Since taking the majority in 2017, Senate Republicans have worked tirelessly to lower taxes, empower families, and restore individual liberties.  

These efforts are working.  In this time, our tax climate has improved 13 positions in national rankings.  We are ranked in the top ten for fiscal stability, top ten for best overall state, and top three for opportunity.  At the same time, our state’s budget has never been in a stronger position.  Responsible budgeting has resulted in spending only 88% of our ongoing revenues, filling our reserves to their statutory maximums, and still maintaining a $2 billion budget surplus.  Senate Republicans are leading the state the same way responsible Iowans run their businesses, families, and personal finances.  Lower taxes and less spending have fueled a robust economy in the state, giving Iowans more opportunities to flourish.

Creating opportunities isn’t just limited to taxes and the economy.  Creating educational opportunities is equally important to ensuring our students get the most out of their formative years.  I remember 2013, my first year in the Senate, when I was first assigned to the Education Committee.  Senator Jerry Behn, who was recently assigned to the committee for his second stint, came to me, and he asked me to be a co-sponsor to Senate File 323.  This was the first time the concept of education savings accounts had been introduced in Iowa.  Senator Behn continued to serve on the Senate Education Committee until his retirement, where he worked tirelessly advocating for his bill.  He had a vision for Iowa students and their families.  A vision of revolutionary change in our education system to empower parents to make educational decisions for their children, not government officials.  Finally last year, 10 years after Senator Behn first filed Senate File 323, I had the privilege of floor managing the Students First Act and watching it be signed into law by Governor Reynolds.  The decade of work was long and difficult, but certainly rewarding with over 29,000 Iowa students applying for an ESA this year.

Senate Republicans have long stood for freedom, and not just educational freedom.  We have protected consumer choice in the marketplace.  We have protected the personal information of Iowans from needless government intrusion.  We have protected parental rights and increased transparency in Iowa classrooms.  We have even given small dairy producers the freedom to sell fresh milk in the state.  These are rights that never should have been questioned in the first place, and I’m proud of the work we have done to restore these personal freedoms to Iowans.

The work we have done is being noticed.  Iowa is leading the way, not just among other states, but across the world.  I have spent much of the interim hosting visitors from across the country and the world and traveling to other states and countries.  Everywhere I go, everyone who visits, they all ask me how we did it.  Leaders from other states and countries are looking to Iowa as a leader in good governance.  These leaders are seeking to replicate what we have accomplished.  These other places want to be like Iowa.  

Regardless of where we fall on the ideological spectrum, we can all be proud of our accomplishments and the worldwide recognition we are receiving.  I sincerely believe everyone in this room wants what is best for the state, and while we may sometimes disagree about how to accomplish this, I think we can all agree that prosperity is good.  We are prosperous, and others want to be like us.

I look forward to this session and the work we will accomplish.  It is an honor to serve in this body, as your president, and for the people of Iowa.  Thank you, God bless you, and may God continue to bless the State of Iowa.

HF 732 Closing Remarks from Senate President Amy Sinclair

Today, the Iowa Senate passed HF 732, the Heartbeat Bill, 32-17 sending it to Governor Reynolds. Below are the closing remarks of Senate President Amy Sinclair on HF 732 as prepared for delivery:

Thank you Mr. President: 

Thank you for sharing this time with me in debate. I respect each of you and the perspective and experiences your life brings to this foundational conversation. Ultimately, House File 732 gets at the very heart of what it means to be an American, to be a person. Five years ago I stood before you advancing this exact legislation, and a colleague shared a quote from Dostoevsky with me: “We are citizens of eternity.” I feel the weight of those words and the long-term impact of the decisions we are making tonight. The bill we have before us carries all the gravity of the human rights atrocity of our time, and history will judge each of us for the role we played here.

As I said, we’ve been here before. I will be saying the very same things I said in 2018 when we initially had this conversation to pass a law to protect the most vulnerable of human beings. We are back again today because of a procedural division of powers that left our existing Iowa Code, Chapter 146C, in limbo. We are forced by our courts to reinforce the legislature’s 2018 intent to protect the unborn, to reinforce this legislature’s continued defense of all human beings’ right to their own lives. And we are more than willing to do that. We are here to confirm that the Iowa Legislature does not pass hypothetical laws. When we pass a law, we mean exactly what is written on the pages placed into code.

First of all, we are not here today as a matter of religion. While I am a person of faith, I do not have a current membership in any church. Secondly, this is not, I repeat NOT a war on women. Roughly 50% of the people this bill is designed to protect are women. So in actual fact, a failure to pass this bill would be the true war on women in its very purest sense… Hear me: the true war on women would be the failure to pass the bill. And finally, the science is on the side of life. No one can honestly view an ultrasound and deny the humanity of the unborn.

This bill is the logical beginning point for all of civil governance. Each of us took a sworn oath to defend the Constitution of Iowa and the Constitution of the United States of America. Each of these documents was created to govern a society where individual liberty is held in the highest regard, where each person’s rights are carefully and fully defended. And the most logical understanding of that right to life acts as a pre-requisite for every other law that exists and every other law that we might make in the future. So as legislators, our very first duty should be to protect each individual’s life above all else. This is why we have laws against murder and manslaughter, against reckless and drunk driving, against arson and drug dealers. These acts endanger the lives of others, and we legislate on the moral grounds that the right to life is a sacred underpinning of society.

So the question we must face in our sworn duty as legislators is this: who is an individual who has the right to have their life defended by society? House File 732 clearly answers that question. And the answer is simple: an individual life is any person with a beating heart.

Two beating hearts have done much to frame who I am and why I am such an advocate of this bill. The first was the beating heart of my first child, Evan. In 1995 at 19 years old I discovered I was pregnant. It was unplanned, and I was unprepared to be a mother, lost in how to move forward. At the doctor’s visit, where the pregnancy was confirmed, a device was placed on my abdomen and I heard my son’s heart for the first time. There was no question that he was alive and functioning independently of me. The other was in 2002 at the end of my father’s life: his heart stopped beating. I knew the man who had raised me was no longer alive. In each of those cases, the heartbeat, or the lack of one, was an indication of another individual person’s life. 

Mr. President, colleagues, people with a beating heart, please take a moment with me to reflect on what it means to be human – to aggressively defend your own right to life and your reasonable expectation that your government should actively support you and all other people in the primary endeavor. Mr. President, I move House File 732 be read for the final time and placed on its passage so that all people in Iowa understand that their life has intrinsic value and that our society and government are prepared to defend them.

Closing Remarks of Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver

Today, Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver released his closing remarks as prepared for delivery. 

Madame President, 

One hundred and fifteen days have passed since my opening day remarks in this chamber. During that speech I talked about how proud I have been to hear the word historic used again and again to describe our accomplishments in the prior six legislative sessions. 

Historic tax relief, historic expansion of Iowans’ 2nd Amendment freedoms, historic protections of our elections, historic mental health reforms, and historic support for law enforcement are all included on that list. 

In our 7th session in the majority, and first in the supermajority, we stacked more historic achievements on top of that list. One of the first bills passed by the Senate this year was HF 68. It kept our promise to parents to give all students choice in their education.  

Iowa has tremendous public schools, but they may not be the best fit for every student. School choice gives all parents and students the same opportunities currently available only for families with the means to pay their income taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, and still have enough to pay for private school tuition. School choice opens doors for families and it has shown in study after study to improve student achievement both for students in public school and in private school. Senate Republicans have led on this issue for years and we enjoyed seeing this policy cross the finish line so early in session and now the state of Iowa is a leader in school choice. 

On day one I also mentioned how often we heard from Iowans about their serious concern of impeding property assessment increases. They were right. Over the last several weeks they shared their stories of 20%, 30%, and even 50% increases in the value of their property. They were angry about these increases because for decades they’ve seen their property tax bills go up and up, while being told by their local governments it’s the assessor’s fault, not the taxing authority. 

HF 718 was another historic achievement. It fixed the assessment problem. This bill implemented structural property tax reform and protected Iowans from those massive jumps in property taxes they feared by automatically reducing tax rates when assessments rise and consolidating and simplifying more than a dozen different levies. It also empowered taxpayers by giving them information about the taxes and spending of local governments on how it impacts their tax bill. 

The final issue I addressed was workforce. Senate Republicans took several major steps to addressing the workforce shortage in Iowa by creating the Iowa Apprenticeship Office to put Iowans on the fast track to high-demand careers with strong salaries and benefits. We also made it easier for teenagers to explore potential career opportunities or make more money with common sense reforms to youth employment and removed unnecessary burdens to teachers looking to work in Iowa. 

But our work wasn’t just limited to those three issues. We passed a common-sense ban on gender transition surgeries on children and simply directed K-12 schools to have boys use the boys’ bathroom and girls use the girls’ bathroom. 

The list of achievements goes on: We also passed several common-sense policies to expand health care access and availability by limiting non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases and a rural emergency hospital declaration to help stabilize rural emergency hospitals. Reforms to Iowa’s public assistance programs were overdue. This year those reforms passed both chambers and the state’s welfare programs will be better protected from fraud and available for Iowans truly in need. K-12 schools got more flexibility to meet the specific needs of their districts. For the first time in 40 years state government was aligned to improve efficiency, eliminate redundancies, and save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. 

The 2023 Iowa Legislature was truly a historic session, one of the most productive since as far back as 2021. Now is the time to celebrate our achievements. I am proud of the work this caucus did. I think I speak for all of us when I say we are looking forward to some days off, time with our other jobs, and time with our families. I will see you again in 8 months refreshed with new ideas to continue to deliver results for the great people of Iowa. 

Thank you madame president.

Closing Remarks of Senate President Amy Sinclair

Today Senate President Amy Sinclair released her closing remarks as prepared for delivery. 

Six years ago, we began the first Republican trifecta in the state since the 1997-1998 General Assembly. Entering our first year in the majority, I could not have imagined the challenges we would face, the bold solutions we would design, and the successes we would have to better the state of Iowa. We focused our efforts on tax reform, the reformation of collective bargaining laws, balancing the state budget, and protecting the life of the unborn. During our first session in the majority, we passed 174 bills, overhauling laws put in place prior to our majority, beginning to repair the budget, and working to begin an economic revival in our state. 

However, when the pandemic hit, new issues arose and existing problems we had not seen came to light. I never imagined we would need to pass laws to let kids go back to school, allow family members to visit loved ones in the hospital, or keep workplaces from mandating vaccines for their employees. But we did. I am proud of the leadership our state showed during this time. It was this leadership that paved the way for the legislature to pass these bills, leading the nation by being the first state in the country to get our kids back in the classroom and being named the fastest state in the country to recover economically from the pandemic.

Several years ago, one of my friends and colleagues retired from the Iowa Senate. When I asked him why, part of his response was that he felt like Iowa Republicans had accomplished more Republican priorities since taking the majority in 2017 than most Republican legislators dream of accomplishing in their career. While I can see why he thought that at the time based on past sessions, just wait until he looks at what we have done in the 2023 session. 

While it is beginning to feel like we often hear the word “historic” when talking about the accomplishments of the Iowa Legislature, the 2023 session has truly been historic in seeing some of my own priorities accomplished. We have passed policy I never believed I would see cross the finish line when I was first elected. Parental choice in education has always been a passion of mine. Parents have a right to educate their children in the way that supports their values system. And if the district school available to them doesn’t meet that need, our state has an obligation to support them as they make an alternative choice. This year Iowa passed HF 68, creating a pathway to universal school choice in our state. We also passed SF 496 to ensure parents know their rights when it comes to transparency in our educational institutions. Parents should be able to trust that their school administrators and educators will always do the right thing for their children. Transparency will strengthen that trust.

Additionally, we passed a historic property tax transparency and reform bill. When attending forums and listening to my constituents, the number one issue I hear about is property taxes. With the major increase in assessments recently released, we knew real change was needed in our system. HF 718 provides over $100 million in property tax relief, making it the most comprehensive property tax reform bill ever. The bill will automatically reduce tax rates when assessments rise, restore basic levy limitations to control government spending, and simplify a complex system while still maintaining local flexibility and decision making for community priorities. 

In addition to these accomplishments, this session has also seen bills that prevent fraud in our welfare systems, prevent sexually explicit materials from being available to kids in our schools, ensure we maintain a balanced budget, and create more access to health care solutions for rural Iowans. To top it all off, Iowa has been named one of the top ten overall best states by US News and World Report. So while we have heard the word “historic” used before, the word accurately describes the positive change Iowa has seen and will continue to see under the Republican trifecta. I am proud to have served District 12 in the Iowa Senate and honored to serve the entire state as Senate President during this historic session of the Iowa legislature.

Historic Property Tax Agreement Passes Iowa Senate

Record property assessment increases caused exhausted taxpayers to demand state action to reform and control property taxes. According to a survey conducted for Iowans for Tax Relief 67% of Iowans support the legislature setting limits on how much local governments can tax and spend. A Des Moines Register poll showed 58% supported a similar concept. Today, the Iowa Senate Passed HF 718, a property tax reform proposal to limit the cost of local government spending, automatically reduce tax rates when assessments rise, provide clarity for taxpayers on local budgets and spending, and consolidate and simplify 15 property tax levies. House File 718 passed 49-0.

“I am proud to add yet another historic accomplishment to protect the taxpayer,” said Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver. “Iowans feared big property tax increases with their new assessments. This bill fixes it.” 

“Senate Republicans have spent the last several months working on a thoughtful, long-term proposal to provide real, permanent property tax relief for Iowans,” said Senator Dan Dawson. “House File 718 is the most comprehensive property tax relief to be passed by a legislature and, I believe, passed in a single legislative session. I am proud of the bill that is passing today and the monumental effect it will have on the lives of hard-working Iowans.”

Iowa Senate Passes $100 million in Property Tax Relief

Today, the Iowa Senate passed SF 569, an estimated $100 million property tax relief bill, while simultaneously preserving the Taxpayer Trust Fund to remain on the path to reduce and eliminate the state income tax. 

“Iowans from river to river have opened their property assessments this year to shock and dismay,” said Senator Dan Dawson. “20%, 30%, even 50% increases in valuations have left property taxpayers angry and looking for relief. Senate Republicans heard them. Today’s resulting reform is real relief now and structural relief for the future.”  

“In 2021, the Iowa Legislature moved the cost of mental health services from property taxes to the state general fund. Less than half the counties in Iowa passed those savings to the property taxpayer,” said Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver. “Unlike past efforts to provide property tax relief, SF 569 is not a tax shift. It is $100 million in relief and controls the growth of local government spending. It avoids the pitfall of pouring water into a bucket with a big hole in the bottom.” 

SF 569 provides $4.5 million in relief by eliminating two levies and $57 million in relief by changing the veterans and seniors property tax credit to an exemption. It also creates $45.4 million in relief through city and county levy reform as estimated by the Iowa Department of Management. 

The bill automatically reduces levy rates when assessments rise so taxpayers are protected from massive rate increases and also to control local government spending. It increases transparency by changing notice requirements and providing clarity on local budgets.  

Opening Day Remarks of Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver

Below are the opening day remarks of Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver, R-Grimes, as prepared for delivery:

Madam President, Minority Leader Wahls, colleagues, friends and family,

Welcome to the 2023 legislative session. 

Six years ago I was proud to address this body as a member of the new majority party and the President of the Senate for the first time. In those comments, I talked about the optimism of this chamber and its goals, to bring bold solutions and create new opportunities in our state. 

I said, “When this session ends and people remember the 2017 session, let them say that this was the year that positively changed our state forever. Let them say this was the year an economic revival began in Iowa. Let them say that 2017 was the year the legislature dared to dream big.” 

Continue reading Opening Day Remarks of Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver

Opening Day Remarks of Senate President Amy Sinclair

Below are the opening day remarks of Senate President Amy Sinclair, R-Allerton, as prepared for delivery:

Good morning colleagues of the Senate, friends, family, and people of the State of Iowa. Welcome to the first session of the 90th General Assembly. As I look around, I see many new faces filling the desks of the Senate Chamber, and I want to congratulate the 14 new Senators sworn into office today. 

Continue reading Opening Day Remarks of Senate President Amy Sinclair