The Taylor Report by Sen. Rich Taylor
Iowa Sen. Rich Taylor, representing Henry and Lee counties and portions of Washington and Jefferson counties, dated Friday.
The 2013 legislative session proved to be a landmark one for Iowans. With the input of constituents, we focused on strengthening and expanding Iowa’s middle class. I am particularly proud of our initiatives to improve:
• Health: Our top priority this year was ensuring more people have access to affordable health care by expanding coverage to 150,000 uninsured working Iowans. The new Iowa Health and Wellness Plan will increase access to quality and preventive care, cut down on expensive emergency visits and reduce costs for all Iowans when health care providers treat fewer patients who lack coverage. The Iowa Health and Wellness Plan will take us another step closer to becoming the healthiest state in the nation.
• Education and job training: We invested in worker training to help Iowans fill skilled job openings at local businesses, in keeping a college education affordable, and in boosting student achievement with an increase in funding for local schools, small class sizes for young learners, and education reforms to raise standards, improve teaching and encourage innovation.
• Tax cuts: We put together a tax cut package that helps Iowa’s small businesses and working families the most. We cut commercial property taxes without shifting the burden to residential property owners or hurting local schools and community services. We encourage low-income families to work their way out of poverty by increasing the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit. And we put some of the state’s budget surplus back into taxpayer pockets.
• Job creation and economic growth: We expanded efforts to revitalize Iowa communities, grow the local economy and create good jobs through a variety of financial incentives, tax credits, programs and partnerships that work with businesses, landowners and communities.
The best part is that we did it all in a fiscally responsible way. A recent update from the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency shows Iowa will have hundreds of millions of dollars in our budget surplus when the fiscal year ends on June 30. We also have $622 million in our reserve funds, the largest amount in state history.
Over the next several months, I’ll provide more detailed updates on all the ways this year’s successes are growing Iowa’s middle class and making our state a thriving, healthy place to live, work and play.
To review the highlights of the 2013 session, go to www.senate.iowa.gov/democrats and click on “2013 Legislative Session in Review.”