Rep. Brian Best (Iowa House District 12)

News from Week 14

Monday, April 16, 2018

Tax Relief
Iowa’s tax code is outdated, overly complex, and boasts some of the highest income tax rates in the entire country. The Middle Class Tax Relief Act will reform Iowa’s tax code to make it fairer, sustainable, and built for the 21st century, it will also reduce the state tax burden on Iowans by $1.3 billion over 5 years while protecting budget sustainability in future years.

Due to tax reform at the national level, Iowans will pay $1.8 billion less in federal taxes in tax year 2018.  However, due to the fact that Iowa has federal deductibility, Iowans will pay additional state taxes totaling $107 million in tax year 2018 and grow to $153 million in tax year 2019. This money should not be used to grow state government.  Rather, it should be returned to the hard-working taxpayers of Iowa who deserve relief.

How does this impact the average Iowan?
Our tax reform bill reduces Iowan’s income taxes by $139 million in 2019 and $298 million in 2020.  The average Iowa taxpayer will see their income tax reduced by 8.9%. The percentage of middle-class Iowans that will see their state income tax liability reduced is 90%.

Examples:

  • A single taxpayer making $25,000 would see their tax burden reduced by 14.9%
  • A single parent with one child making $48,000 would see their tax burden reduced by 12.4%
  • A family of four making $52,000 would see their tax burden reduced by 14.4%

Quick Facts on Iowa:

  • Per capita income – $28,628
  • Median Household income – $54,736 (2015)
  • Median family income – $69,382 (2015)

What’s in the bill?
Changes for Tax Year 2018
Expands 529 education savings plans to include K-12 tuition.
Makes a number of federal tax coupling changes:

  • Earned Income Tax Credit calculation
  • Teacher education expenses
  • Tax-free IRA distributions to certain charities for individuals older than 70
  • Option to itemize sales and use taxes in lieu of income taxes

Raises the Section 179 limit to $100,000/$400,000 (up from $25,000/$200,000).

Changes for Tax Year 2019
Increases the standard deduction to $3,000 single/$7,500 family and indexes it for future years (up from $2,070/$5,090).
Puts middle class families first while reducing rates for all individual income tax brackets.
Creates a small business deduction for 25% of the federal qualified business income deduction from Iowa taxable income.
Additional federal tax coupling changes.
No changes to Federal Deductibility.
No corporate income tax changes.

Changes for Tax Year 2020
Further reduces individual income tax rates for middle class Iowans with largest cuts to the bottom five brackets.
Further increases the Section 179 limit to $250,000/$1,000,000.

Ensuring Fairness in a 21st Century Economy
Main Street businesses are put at an unfair disadvantage as our economy moves more towards internet sales and subscription services. Now is the time to eliminate this unfairness and modernize our tax system for the new economy. These updates will be put directly into tax cuts and will ensure a tax code built for the 21st century and create fairness for Main Street businesses in Iowa.
Updates the sales tax to create fairness in the modern economy

  • Applies sales tax to online sellers like Zappos or Wayfair
  • Applies sales tax to 3rd party sellers using online marketplaces like Amazon or eBay
  • Applies sales tax to products that have existed for decades, but are delivered in a digital format now

Our next legislative forum will be on Saturday, April 21st, at 10am, in Coon Rapids at The Cretsinger Building.

 

News from Week 13

Monday, April 9, 2018

Iowa Tax Reform

The 87th General Assembly is beginning to wind down and our target date for adjournment is April 17th. Our primary task before the end of the session is to set our 2019 Fiscal budget and act on the Governor’s tax reform bill. Iowa is one of 3 states that allows for Federal tax deductibility, therefore Iowans will pay an additional $153 million in tax year 2019.  I believe that this money should be returned to the tax payer, but any tax reform must also be pragmatic and protect budget sustainability. We must be cautious not to cut taxes so deeply that we have to make drastic changes in future budgets. The House’s version of tax reform aligns closely with the Governor’s plan. The Senate has a different idea and proposes very drastic tax cuts without explaining where that money can be saved. My concern with this proposal is that we have already underfunded judicial, public safety, corrections and community colleges. There is a fine line between being a state that is competitive in its taxation and a state that cuts taxes so deeply that it cannot fund its most important obligations to its citizens.  I believe it is important that any tax reform plan has a trigger system that would refund less money back to the tax payers if revenues do not come in as expected.

Financial Literacy

A bill passed the House in March and was approved by the Senate last week requiring students complete a half-semester class on personal financial literacy prior to graduation. This course would include topics such as savings accounts, investing, and college planning along with college debt, long term and short term investing. Many students that graduate from high school do not understand how compounding interest can get them in a lot of financial trouble. Citizens that are smart financial planners have a much better chance at success later in life.

Tolls on I-80

There was an article in the Des Moines Register a couple of weeks ago that spoke favorably of tolls on I-80. Apparently their information was less than accurate. The Department of Transportation has publically stated that Tolls are not a viable option and that they do not intend to pursue tolling for the following reasons: 1. It doesn’t work well in Iowa’s open farm-to-market systems and pushes traffic to roads that are not built for interstate traffic.  2. It is not authorized by state or federal law.  3. It is not consistent to our pay as you go approach to road and bridge funding.  4. It is not supported by industry groups or the public. As a result the DOT is no longer considering any further studies on Tolls in Iowa.

Our next legislative forum will be on Saturday, April 21st, at 10am, in Coon Rapids at The Cretsinger Building.

In service,

Brian Best
Iowa House of Representatives
State Representative
Brian Best
Address: State Capitol, Des Moines, IA 50319
Phone: 515–282-6433
E-Mail: brian.best@legis.iowa.gov

 

News from Week 12

Monday, April 2, 2018

Iowa Teacher Pay Ranks 8th Nationally, Cost of Living Adjusted

A report from NPR, in collaboration with a nonprofit called EdBuild, took a look at teacher pay across the country and how it compares when adjusted for cost-of-living in each state.  It found that Iowa ranks 8th in the country, only $69 behind the 6th place state. KCRG in Cedar Rapids looked into the claim that school funding increases in Iowa have not kept up with inflation and found that to be untrue. They found that teacher salaries in Cedar Rapids are outpacing inflation. In FY11 the teacher’s average salary was $55,000. With inflation, that would translate to $62,000 today, but the actual average salary is $69,000. On its current value, Iowa’s teacher pay ranks 23rd, but with the cost of living adjustment, Iowa ranks easily in the top 10 as follows:

  Adjusted for Cost of Living   Actual Pay
Michigan $71,773 1 $63,878
Massachusetts $63,938 2 $76,981
Ohio $63,740 3 $56,410
Pennsylvania $63,717 4 $64,991
New Jersey $61,030 5 $69,330
Maryland $60,937 6 $66,482
Kentucky $60,927 7 $51,666
Iowa $60,868 8 $54,416
Illinois $60,555 9 $61,342
Delaware $60,414 10

$59,085

We are proud of the increases in state funding that the legislature has provided to schools over the past 8 years. State aid has increased from $2.444 billion in FY11 to an estimated $3.212 billion in FY19, a 30.41% increase. Graduation rates are increasing, college preparation scores continue to lead the nation, teacher numbers and salaries have increased (2363 and $5214 respectively) during this same period. All of this occurred while taking Iowa to one of the best run states in the nation, providing unprecedented flexibility of districts and a shift of returning control of schools back to locally elected school boards and not state-level bureaucrats.

Our next legislative forum will be on Saturday, April 7th at 10am, in Carroll, at St. Anthony’s Regional Hospital in the St. Francis and St. Clare Rooms on the 4th floor of the Surgery Center.

In service,

Brian Best
Iowa House of Representatives
State Representative
Brian Best
Address: State Capitol, Des Moines, IA 50319
Phone: 515–282-6433
E-Mail: brian.best@legis.iowa.gov

 

News from Week 11

Monday, March 26, 2018

Keeping Schools Safe for Students and Staff
The issue of school safety is a concern of all Iowans. The Iowa House is working on common sense safety measures to enhance security for our teachers and students. The following is a comprehensive list of bills that are moving forward this year:

  • School Security Plans and Training – SF2364: This bill requires every school district to coordinate with local law enforcement to develop an active shooter plan. A majority of schools already have a strategy in place, but there are a few schools that lack having a plan.
  • Suicide Prevention Training for School Staff – SF2113: This bill requires all licensed school staff to go through annual suicide prevention training. This bill will help teachers and administrators identify potential signs that may lead to a student hurting themselves or others.
  • Sharing of Social Workers – HF2406: This bill gives school districts the option to share a licensed mental health professional for student mental health support. This gives districts, that wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford the cost of a licensed social worker, the ability to pool resources.
  • Extension of the SAVE Fund – HF2438: The House has continued to advance the extension of the SAVE Fund. The SAVE fund has allowed schools to make improvements that ensure modern facilities, safe classrooms and state of the art technologies. It also will allow schools to use these funds for security upgrades to improve school safety.

Over the past couple of years we are becoming aware that mental health issues are becoming more prevalent at an early age. These are just a few of the ways that we are trying to help schools and students overcome these issues.

Affordable Health Options for Iowans
Over 20,000 Iowans have no health insurance because they are priced out of individual health insurance plans. In February, the House Commerce committee took the first step to provide relief from unaffordable health care coverage on the individual market. Last week, a bill passed on the floor that will allow citizens of Iowa to purchase insurance through Farm Bureau and Wellmark.  This plan would allow for the insurer to consider pre-existing conditions in order for the person to participate in the program. It is estimated that this may save up to 50% or more compared to the Medica Plan, which is the only ACA plan available in Iowa. The bill has been somewhat controversial because it does not follow the ACA rules. Although not perfect, the plan gives immediate relief to some of those that have been unable to afford the ACA option. I voted for this bill and it did receive bi-partisan support.

Our next legislative forum will be on Sat., April 7th at 10 a.m., at St. Anthony’s in Carroll.

In service,

Brian Best
Iowa House of Representatives
State Representative
Brian Best
Address: State Capitol, Des Moines, IA 50319
Phone: 515–282-6433
E-Mail: brian.best@legis.iowa.gov

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