DES MOINES, Iowa – On Wednesday morning, Gov. Kim Reynolds formally introduced the Invest in Iowa Act and announced that she will hold a series of town halls to talk about the proposals and ideas behind the bill.
Reynolds made the announcement at her weekly press conference and was joined by a broad coalition of supporters including Mike Naig, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture; State Reps. John Wills and Lee Hein; State Sen. Ken Rozenboom; Chris Ingstad, President, Iowans for Tax Relief; Flora Schmidt, executive director, Iowa Behavioral Health Association; mental health advocate Mary Neaubauer; Pat McGonegle, CEO, Iowa Pork Producers Association; Stu Swanson, Iowa Corn Growers Association; Jeff Jorgenson, President-Elect of Iowa Soybean Association; and various other stakeholders supporting proposals behind the Invest In Iowa Act.
Reynolds first introduced the Invest in Iowa Act during her Condition of the State address last month.
The proposal, she said in her speech, will cut income taxes, create a sustainable funding source for Iowa’s mental health system, reduce Iowans’ property tax burden, and fund the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust approved by voters in 2010.
The Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust proposal required that the next time the Iowa Legislature approved a sales tax increase, 3/8th of one cent of that increase would establish permanent revenue for the trust.
The proposal would raise Iowa’s sales tax but offset it with an income tax cut.
With the new round of income tax cuts, Iowa’s income tax top rate would drop to 5.5 percent by 2023, down from 8.98 percent from one year ago.
“The Invest in Iowa Act is a bold vision for Iowa that lowers the overall tax burden on Iowans, and invests significantly in mental health and water quality. This plan will have immediate results for our economic competitiveness and overall quality of life,” Reynolds said. “This kind of meaningful tax reform and investment will not only boost paychecks, but put Iowa on the map as a beacon of economic opportunity. Now that our bill has been introduced, I look forward to continuing this conversation and will be taking the conversation out to Iowans, with a series of town halls throughout the state.”
Various stakeholders representing a broad coalition of supporters released the following statements in support of the Invest in Iowa act:
“The Invest in Iowa Act is a step in the right direction for Iowa’s future,” said Joe Murphy of the Iowa Business Council. “Increasing the competitiveness of Iowa’s overall tax climate will lead to more jobs and opportunities for Iowans. Furthermore, the Invest in Iowa Act also includes solutions to address financial challenges associated with childcare which will positively impact working families throughout the state.
“Iowa is in competition with the rest of the country, and especially our Midwestern neighbors, to attract and retain people and businesses,” Chris Ingstad, the President of Iowans for Tax Relief, said. “Taxes matter and the best way to improve Iowa’s tax code is to cut income tax rates. The legislation the Governor has proposed cuts income taxes in both the short term and the long term.”
“Iowa’s current tax code is uncompetitive and holding Iowa back and it’s why I support the lower rates and tax bracket changes to the individual filers and pass-through business entities that are in the Invest in Iowa Act,” Tom Sands, President/CEO of the Iowa Taxpayer Association, said. “By lowering income taxes, Iowa can better compete with neighboring states Illinois and Minnesota. Once again, Governor Reynolds has put a bold proposal out and permitting the process to work.”
“One of the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s top legislative priorities is to fund the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund for water quality, conservation and recreation projects across our state,” Jay Byers, CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership, said. “Investing in quality of life projects is a key driver in attracting and retaining talent in our state.”
“I want to thank Gov. Reynolds for her bold leadership and continued commitment to improving our state’s resources, recreation and water quality through the Invest in Iowa Act,” Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig said. “The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will continue working with farmers, landowners and more than 320 public and private partners to accomplish our shared water quality goals.”
“The governor’s Invest in Iowa Act balances income tax cuts with sincere investments in mental health, water quality, and quality of life,” State Rep. John Wills, R-Spirit Lake. “I believe this is a bold plan for the state of Iowa, and I look forward to working with the Governor and lawmakers to get this through the Iowa legislature.”
“Iowa pig farmers have long supported a significant, long-term funding source for water quality efforts in Iowa, and we appreciate Gov. Reynolds proposal for building on the momentum of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy,” Pat McGonegle, CEO of Iowa Pork Producers Association, said.
“The Invest in Iowa Act will build upon Governor Reynolds’ tremendous work and commitment to improving our state’s soil health and water quality,” Jeff Jorgenson, President-Elect of the Iowa Soybean Association, said. “Her proposal will substantially increase constitutionally protected funding and provide a sustained investment in our soil and water for generations to come. As soybean farmers continue to navigate a difficult farm economy, the Invest in Iowa Act is a true roadmap for the future of conservation across the state of Iowa.”
“Iowa farmers care about the water we share and are committed to water quality and soil health,” said Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) Director Stu Swanson. “ICGA supports the Invest in Iowa Act as it will grow the resources available for farmers as they continue to increase conservation practices. Additionally, the bill will build on the work Gov. Reynolds has already done with soil conservation and water quality.”
“Gov. Reynold’s leadership on funding the trust is very much appreciated. Fully funding the Trust will allow Iowan’s to protect their natural resource and outdoor recreation legacy for generations to come,” Kristin Aschenbrenner, State Director of The Nature Conservancy, said.
“Gov. Reynolds showed strong leadership in her desire to give our children and grandchildren healthier soils, waters and wildlife,” said Ducks Unlimited CEO Adam Putnam. “Funding the Trust would give farmers and conservation partners the resources to work cooperatively to make historic improvements on Iowa’s landscape.”
“Vulnerable Iowans struggling with mental illness need a reliable, well-funded health care system,” said Liz Cox with the Polk County Mental Health Region. “The Invest in Iowa Act sends a strong signal that mental health care is a priority for the state of Iowa. I applaud Gov. Reynolds for taking the first steps in laying out a significant and sustainable level of funding for critical mental health services.”
“Identifying a sustainable, dedicated source of funding for mental health care in Iowa is a critical conversation we need to have this year,” said Mary Neubauer of Clive, who along with her husband, Larry Loss, has advocated for improvement in mental health care in Iowa since their 18-year-old son Sergei’s suicide in 2017. “We appreciate that Gov. Reynolds has continued to make mental health care a priority for our state. Her Invest in Iowa Act proposal increases overall mental health funding and involves both local and state dollars, giving everyone an incentive to ensure we have a system working well. There are people struggling who need help now. I urge all lawmakers to keep this effort moving forward because folks in crisis can’t wait.”
“The Invest in Iowa Act is an opportunity to put appropriate funding into life-saving brain health services for some of our most vulnerable Iowans,” said Bob Lincoln CEO of County Social Services. “For years we have been talking about brain health care in the state of Iowa but now is the time to get something done. Brain health services are essential but nothing is more important to our long-term health than water quality. Invest in Iowa Act is truly an investment in the health of Iowans. I am grateful for Governor Reynolds’ persistence, passion and leadership.”
“Rosecrance Jackson Centers relies on critical buy in from state and local governments to fund the services we provide to very vulnerable people,” Kermit Dahlen, Regional President of Rosecrance Jackson Centers in Northwest Iowa, said. “The Invest in Iowa Act is a positive step forward because of the significant investment in mental health care and substance use treatment. I look forward to working with Gov. Reynolds on how facilities like mine can forge a lasting partnership to help all Iowans.”
“The Iowa Behavioral Health Association is encouraged by Gov. Reynolds’ initial steps to secure sustainable funding for behavioral health across both the substance use disorder and mental health systems for prevention and treatment services via the Invest in Iowa Act,” Flora Schmidt, Executive Director of the Iowa Behavioral Health Association, said
“The Invest in Iowa Act is a great step toward sustainable funding for Iowa’s mental health system,” Peggy Huppert, Executive Director for NAMI, said. “We encourage lawmakers to work with the governor to fund these crucial, life-saving mental health services for vulnerable Iowans.”
The first town hall meetings will be held this week in Oskaloosa and Ottumwa.
Wednesday, February 12 Tour Stops:
Oskaloosa Town Hall: Smokey Row (109 S. Market St., Oskaloosa, Iowa) at 2:30p
Ottumwa Town Hall: The Vine (1207 N. Jefferson St. Ottumwa, Iowa) at 5:00p