Though this year's session of the Iowa General Assembly is fast approaching the mid-way point, many of the most contentious issues and controversial pieces of legislation being pushed by the governor and his legislative counterparts are yet to come to full debate in the Legislature. In particular, there are four major anti-job bills and one colossal rapid school consolidation scheme all being pushed by the party currently in control of the Legislature. Should any of these proposals or bills be enacted, their consequences will have an immediate and indefinite influence on the freedoms and economic futures of Iowans. We continue to evaluate each and every bill and proposal through the lens of how this legislation will affect the future and freedom of Iowans in every stage of life and from every community and aspect of the state. We believe the only plans that warrant any kind of serious consideration are proposals that create jobs and opportunities for Iowans and those who want to make this state their home.
We know that it is just plain common sense to resist legislation that will seriously hinder not help Iowa's economy while instead promoting policy alternatives that will place Iowa at the top of the economic pinnacle. We know that Iowa's economy can grow stronger and produce the kinds of jobs and opportunities that will lead Iowa towards being a true worldwide beacon of economic prosperity if the barriers and roadblocks to job creation and economic development are reduced and removed. Iowa already has a tremendous reputation for having an industrious workforce and a stellar educational heritage that continually produces new leaders that make a difference in our communities, churches, schools and civic organizations.
Iowans are just starting to fully comprehend the size and scope of the possible consequences of the job killing union boss backed agenda being pushed at the capitol. The party in control are starting with four major pieces of anti-jobs legislation with the potential for others to follow in the coming weeks. The first aspect of the anti-jobs agenda is a doctor shopping bill that will dramatically reduce the quality of care for workers while costing employers tens of thousands of additional dollars as a result of increased workers' compensation insurance premiums. Simply stated, this burdensome bill will undoubtedly cost some Iowa workers their jobs because of increased costs to those employers.
Next, they are pushing a prevailing wage bill that will increase the cost of public projects by as much as 30 percent by forcing contractors to conform to regional wage scales dictated by union bosses. Should this bill be signed by the governor, it will severely cripple many smaller, rural contractors who will struggle to compete with larger firms that often located in Iowa's bigger population centers. Overall, this bill mean that Iowa taxpayers will get significantly less out of their hard earned tax dollars when new infrastructure projects are built in the state because. This bill will mean every new mile of road built or repaired in Iowa will cost 30 percent more than it does now if this legislation becomes law. We will oppose both the doctor shopping and prevailing wage bills.
Beyond the four major anti-jobs bill, there is also a proposal pushed by a prominent Des Moines lawmaker that would forever change the face of education and therefore the economy of rural Iowa. Throughout the state, there are excellent smaller schools that accomplishing high levels of achievement and are doing a magnificent job preparing the students of today to be the leaders of tomorrow. As many as half these smaller schools would be shuttered as a result of this damaging proposal which calls for rapid consolidation of Iowa's rural schools that have an enrollment under 750 students. For many communities all over the state, these schools are the lifeblood of the community and are the engine of economic growth.
The union boss anti-jobs agenda and the proposal to rapidly consolidate Iowa's rural schools in addition to Iowa's massive self inflicted budget shortfall as a result of overspending by the governor and his party legislative counterparts during the last two years should give citizens a real reason to pay attention to what happens during the final weeks of the session. The remaining time this session could go along way toward foretelling the future for Iowa's employers, families and schools and whether they will still be able to enjoy the freedoms and opportunities that previous generations of Iowans have cherished and treasured.
Week six just came to a close at the Capitol. We heard the annual Condition of the Iowa National Guard address given by General Ron Dardis, the Adjutant General of the Iowa National Guard. I had the honor of being a member of a group of legislators who escorted General Dardis in and out of the House Chamber where he gave his address.
Legislation that passed in the Senate and House this week included an amendment to the Iowa Constitution that provides a portion of all increased sales tax go toward Iowa's natural resources. The Senate and House vote do not ensure that this allocation of sales tax becomes law. The referendum must now go to a vote of the people on whether to enact this sales tax increase.
Among the big issues we are anticipating hearing more about next week is a gas tax increase. The current proposal in committee would mean an 8 cent per gallon hike at the pump. The Governor has spoken out against increasing this tax and we will see if members of his party will listen to him on the issue. I will keep you updated on the status of this bill as well as other bills important to my district.
Please feel free to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org or 515 281-3371.
Sen. Tim Kapucian
Tama, Grundy, Benton
and Iowa counties