We had a lot of discussions at the Capitol this week. One thing is clear; there is no agreement on closing down this session. Several big issues exist: a two-year budget, mental health reform, and a commercial property tax reduction.
The Governor is adamant that he will veto all budget bills that don’t include two years. The Senate is not currently willing to support a two year budget. I am, however, in support of two year budgeting. All government agencies and organizations could do a better job of planning if they knew their budget a year in advance.
The health reform that is under consideration would take our current system, which is run by the counties, and change it to a state run, government system. This would be a massive policy change; it would create mental health regionalization. Both parties are undecided on the final support of this bill. I believe our counties are doing a great job and I fear taking county control away and giving it to the state, especially when I can’t be guaranteed better service or any cost savings.
When it comes to commercial tax reform we have three different proposals. The House, the Senate and the Governor’s so where that one ends up is yet to be determined. I believe we need relief to promote business in Iowa. That, in turn, promotes job growth.
Summer is almost upon us and with the warmer weather comes more driving hazards on Iowa roads. Not only do Iowa drivers contend with construction in the summertime, but bicyclists and motorcyclists also share the road. The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) wants all drivers to be safe and alert this summer.
Construction season will soon be in full swing both during the day and night. Iowa DOT workers will be enhancing our roadways, fixing bridges and maintaining aging pavement that has been riddled with potholes from Iowa’s rough winter and rainy spring. Potholes are not the only problem seen on Iowa roads. The DOT warns of pavement blowups that occur when thermal expansion forces the pavement to buckle and shatter. They also warn that pavement blowups could be sudden. It is estimated the Iowa DOT spends between 2000 and 4000 hours temporarily fixing these pavement blowups.
In total, the Iowa DOT estimates they will have roughly 500 work zones. This number doesn’t include city, county and utility work zones. When driving through construction zones, motorists should obey posted speed limits and other signs in the work area. They should also be aware that traffic fines for moving violations are at least double in those work zones.
By taking a few additional precautions you can do your part to make Iowa roadways safer this summer for all Iowan’s who use and work on them.
See you out and about the district.
State Senator Tim Kapucian