From Representative Taylor Collins

To the People of House District 95


It was another busy week of floor debate and work on the state budget at the capitol as we are now into the final stretches of the legislative session. The weather is warming up and planters are in the fields which generally means folks are ready to begin wrapping things up in Des Moines. However, we’re not headed home until we finish delivering on some important priorities for Iowans.


House File 1 – The House’s Property Tax Bill

Over the last decade the Legislature has done great work lowering income taxes for Iowans. We have lowered ALL Iowans income taxes to a fair and flat rate of 3.9% and eliminated the tax on retirement income. The biggest thing we hear about from constituents now is the need for property tax reform. While some folks’ property tax bill may increase by more than 10%, their most likely not seeing an income increase of the same amount. The system right now is set up to provide no transparency or certainty for taxpayers. House Republicans have gotten to work on a plan to provide real relief to Iowans and certainty to the taxpayer. This week the Ways and Means committee passed House File 1 with an amendment. The bill does the following:

o  Reduces the 5.40 levy by $1 and has the state fund the difference. This will deliver more than $200 million in real, immediate property tax relief to Iowans.
o  Caps annual property tax increases per parcel to 3% for residential and agricultural properties and 8% for commercial and industrial properties.
o  Increases transparency in the process by requiring more notice to taxpayers by moving all bond elections to the general election.


Eliminating Needless Regulations on Law-Abiding Citizens

This week the House passed House File 654. This bill eliminates a number of overly burdensome regulations on law-abiding Iowans’ right to carry a firearm. This bill makes the following minor changes to Iowa code:

o  Allows firearms in locked vehicles on most publicly-owned property, including regent universities and community colleges.
o  Allows firearms to be in a vehicle on school property while dropping off or picking up a student. This change is still more strict than federal law.
o  Strikes DHHS rule that prohibits foster parents from having firearms in their vehicle.
o  Strikes a rule prohibiting firearms at casinos and allows casinos to determine their own firearm policy.

Iowans just passed a constitutional amendment to protect their right to bear arms by over 65%. Iowans have spoken loud and clear. With this bill, we are listening to Iowans and eliminating needless regulations on law-abiding citizens’ right to bear arms.


Protecting the Caucuses

This week the House Ways and Means committee passed HSB 245 to protect the integrity of Iowa’s caucus and help keep Iowa first in the nation. There are 3 main pieces of the bill to understand:

o  Requires participation in a precinct caucus to be in-person. The reasoning to this is to protect Iowa’s first in the nation status.
o  Requires folks to declare their party status 70 days before the caucuses. This is to limit bad actors attempting to meddle in the opposing party’s caucus.
o  Removes the state from the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC). Several key states have left ERIC and therefore stopped sharing their voter data with the group. This has made ERIC a less effective of a tool in maintaining our voter rolls. Iowa’s Secretary of State has other tools it can use to maintain Iowa’s voter registration list.


What’s in the Welfare Reform Legislation?

Senate File 494 provides oversight of Iowa’s public assistance programs. This bill strikes a balance between protecting Iowa’s welfare programs for Iowans truly in need while at the same time protecting taxpayers from paying for services for a noneligible individual. The legislature has a responsibility to ensure that these programs are sustainable for the Iowans who at points in their lives have the need for a safety net.

This bill has received significant feedback from Iowans throughout the legislative process and has gone through many different versions. The bill does the following:

•    Requires welfare applicants to complete a computerized identity authentication process to confirm their identity prior to receiving benefits.
•    Codifies Iowa’s current income eligibility for the supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP). Iowa’s income eligibility is 160% of the federal poverty level. The federal income limit is just 130% of the federal poverty level meaning SF 494 includes more Iowans than required by the federal government.
•    Requires applicants’ assets to be reviewed prior to enrollment in SNAP. Specifically, this bill sets those asset limits at $15,000 liquid assets for the household, and allows for one vehicle to have unlimited value, and a second vehicle to be up to $10,000 of value. If the value of the second vehicle exceeds $10,000, the amount in excess will be used to determine if the household exceeds $15,000 in liquid assets.
•    Requires the state to check all income, employment, and financial institutions to ensure that applicants for welfare programs meet all eligibility criteria for those programs.
•    Requires the state to have a real-time eligibility system in place by July 1, 2025. This program will be more user friendly for applicants than the current system.
•    Requires cooperation with child support services as a condition of eligibility for Medicaid.

This bill is estimated to save the state $8 million and the federal government $42 million annually beginning in FY2027. These savings will come based on ineligible individuals not going on welfare programs and by SNAP individuals exceeding the asset limits in the bill. The bill does have initial costs to implement the new real-time eligibility system and for additional workers to assist Iowans in receiving the child support they are due.

Opponents of this legislation state that there is no fraud in the system, however, Iowa has been penalized $1.8 million by the federal government for having an error rate 3.2% higher than the national average. The USDA notified Iowa that the 10% error rate was caused by the errors of the state as a failure to verify required information and incorrect and inconsistent application of policies. Additionally, in FY2022, the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals found 2,761 founded investigations of SNAP overpayment. DIA estimates that the bureau’s investigative work found $3.3 million in total cost avoidance.

The state does still face significant workforce challenges, and this bill builds on the work the legislature has done to provide assistance to those truly in need of help while also ensuring that Iowans don’t continue to live off a cycle of government dependency.


House Budget Process Continues to Move Forward 

There is one legislative item that must be passed by the General Assembly each year – the passage of a state budget. As has been the case since re-taking control of the Iowa House of Representatives in 2011, House Republicans continue to lead the way in developing the state’s budget and operating in an open and transparent manner. For the first two months of session, House Appropriations Subcommittees have held meetings to go over programs and issues covered in the assigned areas. These meetings concluded after the first funnel week in early March, and examined the Governor’s proposed budget as well as other important issues and ideas that Iowans have brought to the Capitol.

The allocation of General Fund dollars for the next budget year to each of the budget subcommittees, better known as budget targets, is an important step in the annual budget process. Targets were publicly released by House Republicans on March 30th. Since the release of the budget targets, House Republicans on the budget subcommittees have been working to identify and fund caucus priorities within the target given to each subcommittee. Details on where each subcommittee is proposing to spend the FY 2024 budget should be made public this week maintaining the commitment to transparency with taxpayer dollars.


Staying in Touch

As always, you can shoot me an email at or call the capitol switchboard at (515) 281-3221.


Rep. Taylor Collins
Iowa House District 95