The 90th General Assembly of the 2023 Iowa State Legislative year has ended, and Rural Matters has covered many important topics for rural communities. The content below covers the timely topics from the last week of the Iowa session. Although the assembly has ended, Landus will follow issues that continue to evolve outside of the legislative session.
Updates as of 05/09:
- State Budget
- Property Tax
- Farm Bill
Iowa’s Approved $8.5 billion State Budget
One of the most debated topics while negotiating the budget was the state’s Area Education Agencies budget. The nine Area Education Agencies in Iowa provide services for public and private schools that help the families of children with special needs. After a $7.5 million cut required by law, a $22 million cut from this year, which is $5 million more than last year, the total cut amounts to nearly $30 million that will not be going to kids with special needs.
Property Tax Relief Now Law
Capping off the long session on a high note, the sweeping property tax reform is a sweet display of bipartisan government working to help the people who elected it. Iowans in cities, towns, and farms have seen increasing property taxes throughout the last decade. Iowans, 65 and older will receive a $6,500 homestead tax exemption, and veterans tax exemption will double to $4,000 in taxable value.
Discussion: Raise the Debt Ceiling versus 2023 Farm Bill spending increases
Every five years a new farm bill comes into the discussion of national politics. Iowa is fortunate to have a well-represented presence on the farm bill committee with both Senators Ernst and Grassley, as well as Representatives Feenstra and Nunn.
The farm bill is a massive bill in scale for dozens of agricultural and food security bills and programs. Of the major revisions being considered to the farm bill, the topics that are undergoing the most scrutiny are SNAP benefits (formerly known as, food stamps), crop insurance, rural development, conservation, and climate-smart programs.
With the impending debt ceiling situation, the funding of the Farm Bill has Congress scrambling to reallocate funds into other areas. The debt ceiling timed with the farm bill discussion, isn’t creating the most ideal conditions for expanding additional funds to the 2023 Farm Bill.
The 2023 Iowa legislative session can best be described as “fast and furious.” With major policy bills passed quickly and at times with too little debate, that will have tremendous effect on both rural and urban Iowans.
The goal that we take from the close of this session is to continue to build stronger relationships between Landus, our members and our government representatives. The coming months will be spent on these efforts both in Iowa and nationally.
Moving forward, Rural Matters will be released monthly with topics that help you engage with your representatives, communicate the top policy issues that relate to you, and participate in local government. As always, we want to hear what issues you are concerned about. Email Sue Tronchetti, Landus external affairs, at email@example.com and let us know your thoughts.
Working together on rural matters.