February 6, 2020
Greetings to you all,
We’re officially four weeks into the 2020 Legislative Session! Things are picking up as more bills every day are introduced. After having the pleasure to participate in the Iowa Presidential Caucuses on Monday evening, it was straight back to work at the capitol on Tuesday morning.
On Tuesday, I attended the African American History program here at the capitol. It’s theme this year was “Lighting the Torch,” symbolizing a commitment to developing and supporting young leadership. The celebration of Black History Month is one that is important to honoring the history of Iowans who are too often looked over.
Wednesday was comprised of meeting with many different constituents from the Cedar Valley. I was able to catch up with Bruce Meisinger, Cedar Valley United Way board member and Debbie Roth, Cedar Valley United Way Senior Director of Community Resources.
Rep. Bob Kressig, Bruce Meisinger, Debbie Roth and Rep. Brown-Powers
UNI students Elle Boeding, Rachel Greene, Alladin Dafalla, Zach Zippe, and Jacob Levang visited on Wednesday to discuss the renovations to the Industrial Technology Center on campus. The ITC Modernization project will work to update the facility to keep up with the development of an increasingly sophisticated workforce.
Rep. Kresssig, Rep. Brown-Powers, Kelly Angell, Rep. Kressigsig, Elle Boeding, Rachel Greene, Alladin Dafalla, Zach Zippe, Jacob Levang, Sen. Giddens, Rep. Smith
Also, on Wednesday, I chatted with Chris Hannan and Keri Kono. Both work for Hawkeye Community College at the IowaWorks Center. The IowaWorks Center connects Cedar Valley residents with services that Iowa Workforce Development provides. It is one of the best ways to connect Iowans looking for jobs with employers looking for workers.
Rep. Smith, Rep. Brown-Powers, Keri Kono, Rep. Kressig, Chris Hannan
Finally, I met with members from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. Kelly Angell, Amy Jardon, and Mike Johnson all presented information calling for parity in taxing e-cigarettes the same as tobacco.
Rep. Brown-Powers, Kelly Angell, Rep. Kressig
Rep. Kressig, Amy Jardon and Mike Johnson
As your Representative, I hope to reflect your interests and concerns in my work at the Capitol, so please reach out at any time. The Iowa Legislature’s webpage, www.legis.iowa.gov, has a great amount of information for you to read. In addition to reading bills and finding out what’s happening in the House or Senate on any given day, you can listen to or watch our debates live.
Please check out other information and pictures from the current session on my website www.bobkressig.com. In addition to listening posts, forums, and Black Hawk County Representatives’ weekly video update, you can also reach me by email or call me at home at 319-266-9021. We can also stay connected through social media, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. I appreciate hearing from you and I thank you for your continued support.
Thank you for taking the time to read the Statehouse News. Please keep in touch!
2/7 Cedar Valley TTBB Invitational, *GPAC, 273-2024
2/7 UNI – SB (Doc Halverson Classic) vs South Dakota, UNI-Dome, 2:45pm, 273-4849
2/7 UNI – SB (Doc Halverson Classic) vs Murray State, UNI-Dome, 5pm, 273-4849
2/7 UNI Women’s Basketball vs Missouri State, McLeod Center, 6:30pm, 273-4849
2/7-8 Black Hawks Hockey vs Fargo, Young Arena, 7:05pm, 291-7680
2/8 UNI – SB (Doc Halverson Classic) vs Murray State, UNI-Dome, 12:30pm, 273-4849
2/8 2020 Iowa Games Fat Bike Race, George Wyth State Park, 1pm, 266-5979
2/8 Downtown Delights, Cedar Falls Downtown District, 1pm, 277-0213
8 UNI Men’s Basketball vs Drake, McLeod Center, 3pm, 273-4849
8 UNI – SB (Doc Halverson Classic) vs SDSU, UNI-Dome, 5pm, 273- 4849
8 The Pork Tornadoes, *GBPAC, 7pm, 273-7469
9 UNI – SB (Doc Halverson Classic) vs DePaul, UNI-Dome, 1:45pm, 273-4849
9 UNI Women’s Basketball vs Southern Illinois, McLeod Center, 2pm, 273-4849
9 UNI – SB (Doc Halverson Classic) vs South Dakota, UNI-Dome, 4:14pm, 273-4849
11 Black Hawks Hockey vs Dubuque, Young Arena, 7:05pm, 291-7680
Low Funding Plan Leaves Schools Short
Iowans have always had great pride in our public schools. However, the state’s new investment in public schools has been the lowest in Iowa history over the last decade leading to the closure of 126 schools in Iowa. The low funding means public schools have been forced to increase class sizes and raise property taxes to make up for the shortfall in state funding.
This year, the majority party has offered another low school funding plan that will lead to more school closings, higher class sizes, and fewer opportunities for students. School leaders across the state have said the continued low funding isn’t keeping up with rising costs and hampers their ability to train the next generation of Iowa workers.
House Democrats are working on an alternative plan to invest $133 million more in public schools next year, which is a 3% increase. With that funding increase, Iowa can become the national leader in education again and continue to build Iowa’s skilled workforce.
Resources Available to Help Iowans File Their Taxes
State officials have created a “Filing Made Easy” website to help Iowans through the process of filing their state income taxes. Iowa Dept. of Revenue Director Kraig Paulson assured that continuing to improve the customer experience is a top priority for the Department of Revenue (DOR). The website explaining the process of filing your taxes can be found at https://refunds.tax.iowa.gov/.
There are also a variety of services available to help many Iowans file their state income taxes for free through the “eFile for Free” program. Many Iowans that earn less than $69,000 a year may qualify for free services to help file their taxes. Additional information on eFile can be found at https://tax.iowa.gov/individual-income-tax-electronic-filing-options.
The DOR has also improved the experience of customer interactions. Taxpayer specialists will be available for extended hours to assist customers during filing season. The front desk at the Department will also be open longer to accommodate walk-in customers. The phone system has been upgraded to include an automated service check on the status of your refund. Refunds can also still be tracked online at https://tax.iowa.gov/wheres-my-refund.
This year the DOR is going to process returns in the same time frame as the federal taxes are processed. Because of this, the state started processing returns on January 27th. The state has established a procedure to process returns in 30-45 days. Taxpayers are required to provide their federal return when filing their Iowa taxes. Iowa income taxes are due on April 30th.
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