May 17, 2022

‘Off to a great start’

By Rep. Jon Dunwell

As Christie and I finish our first week at the Iowa Capital, we do so with great appreciation for the privilege of representing you, Jasper County and Iowa. It’s been a week filled with adjusting to a new schedule, learning the “ways” of the House, meeting new people, and way too much eating! It’s been a great week.

Three joint sessions of the House and Senate formed the pillars of the week.

• Condition of the State – Governor Reynolds

• Condition of the Courts – Chief Justice Christensen

• Condition of the National Guard – General Corell

As a member of the House, I will be serving on the following committees this session.

• Transportation

• Local Government

• Environmental Protection

• Vice Chair of the Administration and Regulations Appropriations Subcommittee

I’m looking forward to getting engaged on these committees, specifically looking at how they not only impact Iowa but Jasper County. Our local leadership has already been in contact with me regarding a number of issues they deem important. Please feel free to reach out to me on any you may have.

Probably the greatest news of the week was the Governor’s Condition of the State. A few thoughts…

Return Money to the Taxpayers

Thanks to the Governor’s leadership and House Republicans’ conservative budgeting practices, Iowa’s economy remains strong. The reality, we have taken in more than we need. It will be our priority to return this overcollection to you the taxpayer. Governor Reynolds in her speech Tuesday evening proposed eliminating our 4-tier tax rate and replacing it with a 4% flat tax on all Iowans. This would result in the average Iowan’s tax burden being reduced by $1300 a year by full implementation in 2026. Keep in mind, this is on top of the $1,000 a year tax cuts passed in 2018. Over the next few weeks, I look forward to working with my fellow House members to vet the Governor’s Bill. The Iowa House has a reputation of being responsible and forward-looking while delivering sustainable tax relief. With many families experiencing the impact of record-high inflation, Iowans need relief now.

Address the Workforce Shortage

Check out these amazing stats. Iowa’s economy has 64,000 unemployed Iowans and 110,000 unfilled jobs. Though we celebrate our job creating economy, we fully recognize the challenges businesses face in filling jobs. Like most issues we face, it will require a multipronged approach. No silver bullet exists. Along with the Governor’s ideas, we will need the creativity of the legislative bodies to address this issue from all angles. Finally, we can’t talk about workforce shortage without addressing childcare. We must continue to increase access to quality, affordable childcare. It continues to be a priority in the House.

More Transparency in Education

Last year we saw the House lead the way on legislation giving parents a greater say in their child’s education. Getting kids back in the classroom, removing race-based stereotyping from curriculum and holding school boards more accountable to parents passed through the previous session. The Governor made it clear she wants increased transparency in education. If there’s anything we’ve learned over the last two years, it’s that parents’ voices matter. I look forward to working with the Governor and my fellow House members to explore how we can increase transparency on curriculum and school libraries. The Governor also proposed enhancing School Choice. Educational choices shouldn’t be the choice for a select few. I’m anticipating some healthy discussion in our upcoming meetings.

COVID-19

I have met with other House and Senate members with discussions around Covid-19, vaccines, and mandates. As we continue to walk through this pandemic, I also continue to be focused on protecting individual rights and keeping in-check Federal over-reach. I certainly appreciate our Governor’s leadership on this issue and the clarity of the Supreme Court. With that being said, don’t forget we are in “sickness season”. We all need to exercise good healthy habits.

We are off to a great start to the year! Though I appreciate the break of the weekend, I’m already looking forward to heading back to the Capitol. We’ve got work to do.

Jon Dunwell

Iowa House of Representatives, District 29

Jon.dunwell@legis.iowa.gov