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Sunday Talk: Guth on the 10th Legislative Week

The Iowa legislature has now completed 10 weeks of work for Iowans.  The Senate debated several bills related to keeping our economy strong and allowing Iowans to pay less in taxes.

Iowa’s top tax brackets are some of the highest tax rates in the country.  When Republicans passed tax cuts in 2018 (the largest in Iowa history), they included triggers that kicked in when certain levels of revenue were met.  We are very close to those levels now and we decided to replace those triggers with a set date of January 1, 2023.  This set date for lower rates provides job creators with an incentive to grow and create more opportunities for Iowans.

Sf 576 also phases out the inheritance tax over a three year period.  The inheritance tax was eliminated years ago for estates being passed from parent to child.  However, the tax remained for other inheritance such as an uncle to a niece.  Iowa is currently one of only six states to still have an inheritance tax.  I think it’s time for this tax to die.  We’ve been working at reducing taxes in Iowa for a long time and I was happy to see this pass unanimously on Wednesday.

Our republic is based on having informed citizens.  If citizens cannot get all the information on both sides of an issue, they can be manipulated by those that control the information.  When the internet was created in the 1990s, the goal was that everyone who wanted a voice could have one.  All a person had to do to access the global marketplace of ideas was to go online and set up a website.  Once created, the website belonged to that person and no one could remove him.  At that time, the web was competing with other types of online services.  Today a handful of massive companies distributes the vast majority of our information.

Our most spirited debate this week dealt with this issue.  The Big Tech Censorship bill, SF 580, requires social networking websites like Twitter or Facebook to respect the free speech rights of Iowans.  Those rights are protected by both the United States and Iowa Constitutions. The idea is that if they don’t respect the fundamental rights of Iowans, they will lose the tax incentives we offered them for locating in Iowa.

Some of the things this bill does not allow are: censoring constitutionally protected speech/content on social networking websites, removing “social networking websites” from pre-installed application store, and removing “protected publications” and “expressive merchandise” from an online marketplace if similar products are allowed for sale.

It does allow for censoring of: criminal content, content that is not constitutionally protected, excessively gory or violent material; pornography, obscenity, bot generated content, and intellectual property violations. It also allows taking down a website if it poses a national security threat that is confirmed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Russian history shows us that human lives will be ruled by one of two fundamental forces: either truth or power.  Mankind must choose one or the other: physical facts of God’s world and the moral facts of His character, or the forces that oppose objective truth.  The United States has provided a different story.  Abraham Lincoln said that our new form of government was, “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”  Truth, not raw power was to rule.  Those are the principles at stake today.  I choose the path of objective truth, even if it is not the comfortable way.

It’s been said, “The opposite of courage is not cowardice, it is conformity.  Even a dead fish can go with the flow.”

I will be conducting town hall meetings with Representative Stone on March 26 in the Mills Theater in Lake Mills at 9:00 A.M. and in the Heritage Town Center in Buffalo Center at 1:00.

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