As we continue to wind down the session, Representatives in the House are still working on legislation that will help put Iowans back to work and give taxpayers a seat at the table.
On Tuesday the House took up House File 561, providing the next step in consideration of building a next-generation nuclear facility in Iowa. This marks a major step forward to bring jobs and economic development to Iowa, while ensuring that Iowans will have a reliable supply of energy for most of the 21st Century. The bill provides the roadmap that a utility would have to follow in order to get authorization from the Iowa Utilities Board to explore the construction of a facility. Such a facility is expected to use small modular reactors to generate electricity. The reactors would be similar to those currently used by the United States Navy in powering the submarine fleet and aircraft carriers. House File 561 was strengthened on the floor with recommendations from the Iowa Utilities Board and bipartisan amendments to ensure that safety procedures are part of the discussion from the start of the process.
While I am supportive of other types of renewable energy such as wind or solar, these methods do not provide the same sort of baseload power to fulfill the state’s energy needs. I am also supportive of clean coal, but the federal government has made these types of developments even more difficult. This bill is now on its way to the Senate for their consideration.
Also this week, the House Ways and Means committee took up a property tax relief bill. Over the last ten years, property taxes have increased $1.75 billion. This is simply not sustainable. The House, Senate and Governor have all rolled out some sort of property tax proposal this session – everyone recognizes we need to act on this issue. If we do nothing, large increases will occur to property taxpayers over the next ten years.
House Study Bill 240, which passed out of committee this week, brings many ideas together. The bill provides broad-based property tax reform to all classes. Property poor school districts would benefit as the inequities in the current school aid formula would be mitigated with the state increasing its share from the current 87.5% to 100% of the regular program foundation base. Commercial and industrial classes would be assessed at 60% – with a five year phase in.
This bill will help put Iowans back to work and once again give taxpayers a seat at the table. It is eligible to be debated on the House floor next week.
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