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.