Senate advances flat tax amendment

Grain Indemnity Fund

Senate File 2401 is one of the bills we debated last week to help support farmers and the agriculture industry in our state. In 1986, the Grain Indemnity Fund was created during the farm crisis and acts similar to an insurance policy for the grain farmers store at grain elevators. Currently, all grain dealers and warehouse operators are required to participate in the Grain Indemnity Fund and pay fees on purchased or stored grain. If at the end of a fiscal year the fund exceeds $8 million, the fees are waived, but if the balance of the fund falls below $3 million, the Grain Indemnity Fund Board reinstates these fees.

Senate File 2401 adjusts those amounts to $12 million and $5 million and also extends coverage to credit sale contracts. Last year, the Grain Indemnity Fund ran out of money due to a number of circumstances and the fee had to be reinstated. This bill updates these numbers to better reflect today’s economy and hopefully prevent additional fees on farmers in the future.

Support for Perry

HF 2653 also passed in response to the tragedy in Perry earlier this year. This bill allows Perry schools to offer retention bonuses to help retain their employees for the upcoming school year. It also waives various state requirements, including required days and hours of instruction just for this year because students missed a month of school. During the opening days of session legislators expressed their support for the Perry community and this bill is one way to put action behind those words.

Taxpayer protections

The Iowa Senate passed Senate Joint Resolution 2004, a proposal to put a flat tax into the Iowa Constitution. SJR 2004 is a constitutional amendment, which means it needs to pass two consecutive general assemblies before going before the people of Iowa for a vote. The constitutional amendment would add a single tax rate into the constitution, ensuring one single rate for all Iowans and making it more difficult for a graduated tax rate to be put back into place.

In 2022, the legislature passed a historic tax relief measure to implement a flat tax in Iowa, ensuring a fairer system so Iowans keep more of the money they earn. We do not believe Iowans should be punished for working hard to be successful. The 2022 tax cut is in addition to several other tax relief measures passed since 2017.

According to recent polling, not only have voters shown overwhelming support for requiring a two-thirds supermajority to increase tax rates in Iowa, they also have shown strong support for putting a flat tax in the constitution. Iowans know this constitutional amendment would protect them from unfair tax increases, keep the tax code simpler, and limit irresponsible budgeting in future legislatures. I was proud to support this bill and it now goes to the Iowa House for their consideration.

Hemp regulations pass Iowa Senate

A big topic over the last several weeks has been the various products currently being sold in Iowa containing hemp and CBD. House File 2605 increases regulation and oversight of Iowa’s consumable hemp law. This does not affect the state’s current law on medical cannabidiol, which can still be used to treat several conditions, including seizures and epilepsy, chronic pain, and PTSD.

Recreational marijuana is not legal in the state of Iowa, and I would not support the legalization of marijuana. I didn’t vote in favor of this bill, however, because I felt it did not target the original intent. I felt there was too much overreach. It was my understanding that the original intent was to regulate the THC-infused social drinks.

In Iowa there are approximately 800,000 consumers with an average age of 57 that purchase these products for symptoms that range from migraine headaches to joint pain to insomnia. The product treating these symptoms is a natural hemp product that is grown from a plant vs. a synthetic prescribed drug that can be addictive.

I believe these products can be used to help Iowans with chronic health issues. I felt my decision to not support this legislation was the right vote for my constituents. The bill passed the Iowa Senate 31-18.

State Sen. Tim Kraayenbrink, R-Fort Dodge, represents Calhoun, Pocahontas, Sac and Webster counties.


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