Mark Lofgren – District 48 Update

Dear Senate District 48, – Week Ten   This Week in the Senate

Our second legislative deadline has passed and the week looked very similar to last week, as we worked on moving House bills through the Iowa Senate. As of now, policy bills are required to be through a committee in the opposite chamber in order to be considered for the rest of the legislative session. This process keeps us focused on what has been deemed important, bills with enough support to remain viable. This focused part of the process can also aid in the ability to end session on time. It can also mean that as we work on legislation, we find additional issues that may prevent it from moving forward.

With that being said, this legislative deadline does not apply to any bills that go through the Appropriations or Ways and Means committees. Discussions on tax policies and how we can maintain our historic record of providing income tax relief for Iowans and ensure they’re keeping more of their hard-earned money are ongoing throughout the legislative session and beyond.

At the start of every session, our goal is to focus on how we can help Iowa families and make our state the best to live, work, and raise a family. That goal continues to be at the center of our work as we go through legislation in the coming weeks and deal with some of the bigger topics facing us this legislative session.

Iowa Ranked Most Affordable State to Retire In – 2024

Just last week, Iowa was rated as the best state for retirees. In 2022, we passed a massive income tax relief bill for Iowans. While it implemented a number of large reforms, like putting into place a 3.9 percent flat tax for all Iowans and providing farmers a first-time pension exemption, it also completely eliminated the tax on retirement income. In addition to being recognized as the best state for retirees, late last year, the Hawkeye State was also rated as the state with the lowest housing costs and one of the best states to raise a family.


Protecting Those We Love and Care About 

One thing that’s been clear to me since first running for the Iowa House in 2010 is that all Iowans, no matter what race, ethnicity, gender, or political affiliation, care about their family members and about keeping them safe. Two bills stand out from this past week as legislative measures intent on doing just that, keeping our friends and loved ones safe.

House File 2576 creates a first-degree murder charge for delivery of fentanyl to another person if that delivery results in the death of the other person. We have a taken a number of measures recently to try to address the rise of fentanyl deaths happening all across the country and doing what we can in our state. A consequence of the emergency at the border, this crisis has devastated families all over the state. House File 2576 is one more step we can take to try to make it less enticing to be involved with this deadly drug and by doing so help to protect our loved ones.

Another bill, House File 2421, is aimed at protecting Iowans from harming themselves or others. HF 2421 allows a federal firearms license holder to take possession of an owner’s lawfully possessed firearm at the owner’s request, hold the firearm for an agreed period of time, and return it according to the terms of the agreement. It also provides liability protection to federal firearms license holders when they are trying to prevent suicides.

 Guaranteed Income Programs May Sound Good but Have Lasting Consequences

One of the higher profile bills passed before this week’s legislative deadline was House File 2319. It advanced through the State Government Committee on Tuesday. This bill prohibits local governments from creating and funding programs commonly known as universal basic income or guaranteed income. A guaranteed income program in central Iowa has caught the attention of the Legislature and taxpayer-advocate groups.

Payments of this type became more popular in 2020 in response to government shutdowns during the COVID-19 scare. They became a common way to provide people with income as a result of the government closing their business or place of work. However, even after the shutdowns eased and the economy opened again, the payments continued. The consequences of these continued payments are many and have demonstrated this policy to be one of the most significant failures of government economic intervention in the last fifty years.

First of all, in 2021, after these policies were extended, nation-wide inflation began to rage. It has continued to do so and remains above 3 percent even after years of high increases in prices. According to the Wall Street Journal, over the last four years, many staple consumer products like milk, eggs, and even ramen noodles are up by at least 20 percent and in some cases as much as 75 percent. For many families, pay increases are not keeping pace with the higher cost of necessities producing lasting financial challenges.

The financial challenges for working families is not limited to just the increase in prices of consumer goods, because families are also hit with the bill from the government to fund these programs through their taxes. In the case of the program in central Iowa, these funds were being pulled from property taxpayers by local governments.

These basic income programs provided an unintended incentive for many people to choose not to return to work. This coupled with   greatly expanded unemployment insurance programs at the federal level, helped to create a nation-wide workforce shortage, supply chain problems, customer service problems, and other negative economic impacts. The shortage hindered the ability of many small businesses to grow and meet the demands of their customers.

One of America’s founding principles is the belief in work and limited government. Those principles created the greatest country and economy in the history of the world. Basic income programs have more in common with the economic system of the failed Soviet Union than they do with the enduring principles of the United States of America, and HF 2319 proposes to stop guaranteed income programs in Iowa.

Best regards,