September 13, 2019
Greeting to you all,
After months of turmoil and Medicaid privatization still failing Iowans, Governor Reynolds appointed yet another Director of the Dept. of Human Services. Pretty sad that the Branstad/Reynolds Medicaid privatization plan has caused so much financial harm to Iowa providers. Providers of Medicaid services in Iowa say they’re owed up to $1.4 million by insurance company that left the Iowa Medicaid program 2 years ago. Hopefully the legislature will address the provider’s problems and make sure they are paid for their services.
Iowa faces a significant skilled worker shortage that threatens the future growth of our economy. Within the next five years, 68% of jobs in Iowa will require some training or education beyond high school. However, only 58% of Iowans in the workforce today have education or training after high school. If Iowa doesn’t have enough workers with the right skills, businesses will be forced to relocate or expand outside of Iowa. That means lawmakers need to focus on affordable job training and higher education to close that skills gap quickly.
Unfortunately, the majority party has done just the opposite. Over the last decade, they’ve raised tuition time after time and put higher education out of reach for too many Iowans. And that’s true again this fall as students will be paying more to attend Iowa’s state universities and community colleges.
Since years of low state funding has not kept up with inflation and rising costs, the average tuition at Iowa’s community colleges increased by 3.4% this fall. The highest increase was a whopping 8.2% increase for students at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge. The rise in tuition means students will end with more debt and fewer students will be able to get the skills they need to land a good job. Undergraduate students from Iowa attending the University of Iowa and Iowa State will be paying 3.7% more this year. While tuition at the University of Northern Iowa will remain flat this year, students will find cuts in course sections, increased class sizes, faculty reductions, and a decrease in student financial aid by $1.2 million.
Wednesday the Veterans Cookout Event recognized our veterans and our first responders for their work and remembering 9/11. Kevin Dill the former Executive Director of the Black Hawk County Veterans Affairs Office received the National AMVETS Riders Guardian Award at the Veterans Cookout tonight Thank you for all you do bringing our community together and protecting our veterans.
As always, 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 now listen to or watch our debates live, when we are in session. I currently serve on five committees for this session: Commerce, Local Government, Public Safety, Environmental Protection, and the Economic Development Budget Sub Committee.
Please check out all my other information and pictures from the current session on my website www.bobkressig.com. In addition to listening posts and forums, you can also reach me by email anytime 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 and enjoy the weather!
Upcoming Community Events
12 Bill Engvall *GBPAC, 7pm, 273-7469
12 Jazz, Folk & the Blues: History of Music – Folk Music Grows Up Hearst Center, 7pm, 273-8641
12-15 National Cattle Congress Fair National Cattle Congress Grounds, 9am, 234-7515
13 Lunchtime Concert Hearst Center, noon, 273-8641
13-15 The Prisoner of 2nd Avenue Oster Regent Theatre, Fri & Sat 7:30pm; Sun 2pm 277- 5283
14 Iowa vs. Iowa State Football Watch Party Riverfront Stadium, 3pm, 232-0500
14 Afternoon & Evening of Music at Riverview Riverview Conference Center, 4pm, 268-0787
15 Hawkeye RedTail Men’s Soccer vs. UNI Club Team Cedar Valley Sports Complex, 4pm, 296-4430
15 We Will Rock You – The Musical by Queen and Ben Elton *GBPAC, 7pm, 273- 7469
18-19 Not Fade Away: A Tribute to Buddy Holly and the Legends of Rock & Roll Hawkeye Community College – Tama Hall, Wed 1:30pm; Thu 7pm, 296-2320
20-29 Cedar Falls Downtown Restaurant Week Cedar Falls Downtown District, 277-0213
20-29 Restaurant Week Downtown Waterloo, 291-2038
21 Cedar Valley Walk to End Alzheimer’s Peet Junior High School, 9am, 238-7783
21 UNI Football vs. Idaho State UNI-Dome, 4pm, 273-4849
21 wcfsymphony concert: From Havana to the Arabian Nights *GBPAC, 7pm, 273- 3373
21-22 Fall Harvest Festival Cedar Valley Arboretum, 11am, 226-4966
22 Lewis Black *GBPAC, 7pm, 273-7469
24 Intrusion Hawkeye Community College – Tama Hall, 12pm, 296-2320
|News from the Statehouse|
Retirement Systems in Iowa Remain Strong; IPERS Outperforms Expectations
Protecting and maintaining a strong retirement plan for our teachers, police officers, and nurses is vital for a strong economy in Iowa. Making sure the plan is working and secure is not only important for the members of the plan, but also provides $3.3 billion in economic output in Iowa.
A higher than assumed end of the year return rate was recently announced by the Iowa Public Employees Retirement System (IPERS). The investments had a return rate of 8.35% for the previous fiscal year outperforming the assumed rate of 7%. The rate of return of 8.35% also surpassed last year’s rate of 7.97%.
The return on investments represents 70% of the payments of benefits made by IPERS. The payments are made by the IPERS trust fund, which can only be used for the sole benefit of IPERS members. In 2018, over 86% of retirement benefits made stayed in the state, and $1.8 billion was paid out to Iowans. Public retirement systems have total economic impact of $3.3 billion in the state of Iowa.
IPERS has approximately 360,000 members with a trust fund balance of over $30 billion. It should be the priority of the legislature to protect and strengthen these plans and to ensure that all Iowans have access to a strong, secure retirement.
State Park Volunteer Day September 28th
Join the annual statewide volunteer day at Iowa’s state parks on September 28th at one of Iowa’s participating state parks. Hosted by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), 40 state parks will have projects ready for volunteers including picking up litter, painting, clearing trails, removing trees, planting trees, and building picnic tables. People of all ages are encouraged to participate.
Next year, in 2020, the DNR will be celebrating 100 years of Iowa state parks. This year’s volunteer day is in preparation of the celebratory anniversary. To find a park near you to volunteer at, visit www.iowadnr.gov/volunteer.
|Read More News from the Statehouse|
Property Taxes Due September 30th
Trump Trade Conflict Adding to Slow Economic Growth
High School Financial Literacy Requirements
Healthy Iowans Progress Report Sees Mixed Results
State Run, Iowa Online Learning will End in Spring 2020