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Final Legislative Briefing Held in Washington

Posted: Monday, March 20th, 2017 at 6:27 am
Author: Sally Y. Hart -KCII News

Rep. Klein (left) and Sen. Kinney attend Saturday’s legislative briefing in Washington.

Rep. Heaton (left) and Sen. Taylor meet with constituents at Saturday’s legislative briefing Saturday. Photos by Sally Y. Hart

The final legislative briefing of the session was held in the Washington County Courthouse Saturday morning with Republican Representatives Dave Heaton and Jarad Klein and Democratic Senators Kevin Kinney and Rich Taylor. A variety of items were discussed including Chapter 20 Collective Bargaining. Earlier this session the legislature approved measures that now only allow collective bargaining to discuss wages. One attendee asked the legislators to share how many constituents they heard from regarding the issue. Taylor said he had one for the changes and 3,000 against, Kinney had five in district for and 1,800 in one day against, Heaton said he had only one for it. Heaton was one of a handful of Republicans to vote against the changes. Klein said he didn’t keep a tally. Joe Frakes in the audience asked Klein about accurate representation. Klein said, “Well, a good number of people who were emailing me opposed have been opposed to darn near everything I’ve supported over the years, but yet I was re-elected after doing some of these things. So we listen, but just because you don’t get your way doesn’t we’re not listening. Re-elections have consequences, that’s the reality of this.”

The state’s budget and the Revenue Estimating Conference estimates being off were also discussed. Heaton said 37 of Iowa’s 99 counties had negative sales taxes for the last year, “Of the sales tax increases in the rest of the counties 50% total of those sales taxes came out of Polk County. Heaton added the economy in Des Moines and the people there are doing well, “and the rest of our state, because we rely on agriculture and it’s impact on our local economy, we’re all hunkering down. So that’s why 37 counties are less than what they took in, a lot of them are flat or a little improvement over the previous year. And Polk County is sitting there an island in the sun.”

Other topics discussed included education funding, water quality, healthcare, property taxes, and bicycle safety.