Since being elected in 2010 to the Iowa Senate, I have discussed a vision of mine with constituents and Iowans – tax reform. It is a topic that deserves to be discussed. Iowa ranks among the worst in regards to tax climate.

Tax reform is an issue that deserves to have a regular place at the table every year at the Capitol. Iowans entrust lawmakers to be frugal with their hard-earned dollars. Spending with reckless abandon or without any forward thinking is not why they elect anyone to public office. Iowans expect better and, quite frankly, deserve better.

It wasn’t any secret going into this legislative session that the Legislature faced challenging budget discussions, which began with the need to reduce more than $100 million in spending from this current fiscal year. Though state revenues do continue to increase, they fell short of anticipated calculations, creating the financial shortfall we must address early this session so we can move forward in creating and passing next year’s budget. I pledge to continue to work on tax reform while serving in the Legislature because we have an obligation to more than three million Iowans who expect us to be mindful with their tax dollars.

Some other areas I am looking forward to seeing addressed this legislative session includes creating new career opportunities for all Iowans, preparing our children to compete in a global economy, protecting our seniors, and strengthening our economy. These are not necessarily partisan issues — they are the priorities of an overwhelming majority of Iowans.

At the end of the day, it is imperative we have the necessary resources to fund the priorities of Iowans while having the fiscal responsibility to ensure we pass a balanced budget. This will often require us to prioritize and make challenging decisions.

Those challenging decisions include expanding our workforce, strengthening our economy, rejuvenating our agriculture industry, easing the tax burdens on Iowans, creating financial stability for our rural communities and school districts, and providing Iowa students with a top notch education.

Today is a good day to be an Iowan. If we meet our challenges, we can make tomorrow even better.

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