The Iowa Legislature suspended its session on March 15 as a precaution to limit the spread of COVID-19. But, this week, that suspension ends and the Legislature is set to resume on Wednesday, June 3. Though there’s not a firm deadline for the end of this unprecedented session, we don’t expect it to last longer than a couple of weeks, if even that long. The Legislature has a few key priorities to address including allocating resources from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and completing the state’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
As we continue to monitor the Legislature’s business, we remain committed to keeping you updated and hearing your concerns. If you have questions about what your state government is doing with your tax dollars, please don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Unfortunately, as a result of the uncertainty posed by the pandemic, Gov. Reynolds’ Invest in Iowa Act, which proposed funding for the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund, also known as Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy (IWILL), has been shelved until further notice. The governor is expected to resubmit her budget to the Legislature without the Invest in Iowa proposal. This means our chance to finally make the investments we need in natural resources conservation and outdoor recreation projects has been put off for another year. However, we will keep up the fight for IWILL during this peculiar time and continue to engage with you and our partners about how we can make the proposal even stronger and more ambitious.
In the meantime, we are asking rural Iowans to share their perspectives on flooding and water quality in their communities by taking our Our Iowa, Our Water Survey. Rural voices should have a seat at the table when decisions are being made about the communities they live in. Note: the survey is now closed.
As lawmakers work to identify ways to support economic development during the pandemic, the Center is committed to working with them so rural Iowa can emerge from this tragedy even stronger than before. Solar and wind energy employed as many as 10,867 Iowans in 2019 and renewable energy is a proven economic development tool. We will continue to actively engage with Iowa’s local, state, and federal officials to identify ways to leverage the clean energy economy in support of rural Iowa.
One strategy we are exploring to put more money back into the pockets of farmers, small business owners, and homeowners includes clearing the two year, $7.6 million backlog of consumers waiting to receive the Iowa Solar Tax Credit. These consumers have already constructed their projects and are stuck on this list because of a legislatively-imposed $5 million dollar cap on annual payments. As of March, 1,500 Iowans were on the waiting list or waiting for the Iowa Department of Revenue to process their request. By clearing the waiting list, lawmakers could help stimulate Iowa’s rural economies.
So, we’re asking our supporters, are you on this waiting list? Your story could help demonstrate the economic impact of returning $7.6 million to the pockets of hardworking Iowans. If you find yourself in this situation, please, reach out to me. I would love to learn more about your experience and how this policy change could help you out in this uncertain time.
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2020 Iowa Legislative Priorities