The final session of Eggs & Issues for 2016 was held at Smokey Row Coffee Shop in Oskaloosa Saturday morning at 8:30. State issues were discussed, with Senator Ken Rozenboom, Representative Guy Vander Linden, and Representative Larry Sheets in attendance.
A range of topics was discussed, but the main topics of the morning were funding and taxes.
It was reported that the Iowa legislature passed 2.25% increase in education spending this past week. Senator Rozenboom said that education has seen the largest increase in funding since he’s been in legislation, which was 2013.
Senator Rozenboom said that the 2.25% increase is in fact 5.2%, but 2.25% is what is being touted. He said that it is 5.2% because student enrollment is up around 1% in the state, and teacher leadership compensation.
A community member asked about commercial property taxes, which Senator Rozenboom answered. The community member mentioned that Walmart was getting millions of dollars from the state in reference to the commercial property tax, while Senator Rozenboom said that it’s not just Walmart that falls under the commercial property tax, it’s all of the businesses on the square in Oskaloosa.
Representative Sheets also touched on taxes, saying that the state allows deductions on business expenses. He said that if a farmer needs a combine to harvest crops to help with Iowa’s economy, the combine would be deductible, and tax would get paid over five years on it. He said it was the same thing with a semi truck driver transporting goods would be able to deduct fuel usage.
The state legislators also touched on fantasy sports, marijuana, and turtles.
When it came to fantasy sports, Representative Vander Linden said that it should be handled like all other gambling in the state, and the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission should handle it.
Representative Vander Linden also answered a question about marijuana. He said that he believes medical marijuana is probably helpful to seizure victims and those who suffer from chronic pain. He also said that on a bill that is he’s helping write, only three diseases were included as rather than a large list for those who can use it in order to make the bill easier to get through the legislature. Representative Sheets also said that he would like to see the federal government to use statistics to see what kind of benefits medical marijuana has.
On the topic of turtles, Senator Rozenboom said there needs to be a study on the turtle population. He said that neighboring states have turtle-hunting seasons and limits on how many turtles one can harvest, while Iowa has no season and no limits on it. The Senator went on to say that hunters come to Iowa when their state’s turtle season is over, since there is no season or limit, which has made the turtle population go down.
To end the session, the three state legislators gave closing statements, and thanked those in attendance.
Story by George Henry