Democrats came into the 2021 session with a bold agenda that was designed to help Iowans hit hard by the COVID19 pandemic, and to help businesses and their employees build back better, bigger and stronger than ever.
Senate Democrats’ COVID Recovery Plan was designed to:
The good news is that the Legislature passed a $100 million initiative to create a new broadband grant program. Although that’s less than the $150 million that Governor Reynolds had requested, we expect that federal coronavirus pandemic aid approved the Democrat-controlled Congress and signed by President Biden to ensure the program is fully funded.
Unfortunately, the Republican-controlled Legislature largely ignored the problems that Iowans faced during the ongoing pandemic and spent a lot of time debating divisive social issues that will make it harder for many Iowa employers to recruit and retain top-quality talent.
Senate Democrats supported legislation that eliminated the inheritance tax and removed so-called “triggers,” which would have sped up tax cuts for most Iowans. We also supported a number of bills to improve tax incentive programs offered by the Iowa Economic Development Authority, including giving them more flexibility to meet the needs of small, developing businesses with innovation investment tax credits. Unfortunately, that proposal didn’t make it into the final tax bill.
On the other hand, I’m disappointed that Republicans decided to eliminate state funding for the “backfill.” The loss of that state money is going to put more pressure on local property taxpayers at a time when assessments are rising.
Looking ahead to next year, I hope the Governor and Legislature will focus on the needs of Iowa businesses and their employees rather than play partisan games.
In 2022, Senate Democrats will be calling on the Governor and legislative Republicans to work in bipartisan way on:
If we do all that, we can position our state for long-term economic growth, provide relief for struggling families, help small businesses expand and prosper, and make sure our state truly builds back better and stronger than ever.