SUNDAY TALK: Guth on School Transportation Equity

The third week of the 2019 session saw legislators working on a wide variety of ideas in subcommittees. There are more than 200 bills already filed and I’m sure there will be at least that many more. One of interest to rural Iowa is SF58 which provides more flexibility for rural schools in transporting students to school activities.

Iowa remains the first in the nation in many things besides being the first state to kick off the presidential selection process. One other first is that the U.S. Dept. of Education ranks Iowa first in the nation in high school graduation rates. This year Iowa had a high school graduation rate of 91%.

Senate Republicans are working hard to keep our education system great. We understand that well educated kids will have a great impact on the future of the Iowa economy. With Iowa having the lowest unemployment rate in the country, business is looking for high school and post-secondary graduates to fill the roughly 20,000 job vacancies in Iowa.

One of the bills that may possibly help Iowa fill some of the job vacancies is SF75. This interesting bill was introduced by Senator Whiting (R). He proposes setting up a fund to help offset the cost of relocating workers to Iowa from outside the state when they work remotely (some from their home). Keep in mind that there are more jobs every day that can be performed anywhere you have internet. The idea of incentivizing workers to locate inside the state is being tried by Vermont now. This is a new idea that needs lots of work but may have some possibilities in the future. I hesitate to use taxpayer dollars in this way and would appreciate input from the folks of my district.

Another bill in subcommittee was SF49. This bill would cause the county assessor to be up for a retention vote every four years. A retention vote is not like a general election. It just gives the voters a chance to remove an assessor who is not doing their job adequately. This process does not choose the replacement.

The assessor is chosen by a committee made up of the county supervisors, one person from every school district in the county and one person from every city council (usually the mayor). The procedure the assessor uses to determine property values is set by law. When one property owner’s valuation goes up, usually most property owners’ values will go up as well. It is the supervisors, school boards, and cities that determine how much property tax is paid. The assessor’s job is to distribute the tax burden fairly to all property holders. The bill did not pass subcommittee, but after further research, it was advanced to full committee. This is another bill on which I would appreciate your input.

“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow” – William Shakespeare.

It is a pleasure to serve the people of Iowa in District 4. Please feel free to call my cell or email me with questions or comments.