Lawmakers are shifting their focus toward floor debate following last Friday’s procedural deadline for most committee work. That includes the House overwhelmingly passing two bills aimed at increasing child care access across the state.
HF 712 would offer developers tax credits for building child care facilities. Sixty percent of the funds would initially be earmarked for projects in communities located outside the state’s 11 most populated counties. Credits in these areas could not exceed 25% of the project cost up to $200,000. The cap would lower to 10% for developments in larger communities, up to $200,000. Small towns would also be required to provide at least $25,000 in matching funds, while cities would have to match a minimum of $50,000. Both cities and small towns could apply for any remaining tax credits after May 1. The bill passed the House Wednesday on a broad bipartisan vote, 87-6. Both Republicans and Democrats made up the opposition, including Reps. Mark Cisneros (R-Muscatine), Dave Jacoby (D-Coralville), Bruce Hunter (D-Des Moines), Sandy Salmon (R-Janesville), Charles Isenhart (D-Dubuque) and Jon Jacobsen (R-Council Bluffs). The measure now goes to the Senate Ways & Means Committee for consideration.
Also on Wednesday, the House passed another bill that would make businesses opening or expanding affordable, on-site child care facilities eligible for the state’s High-Quality Jobs Program. Administered by the Iowa Economic Development Authority, the program awards tax credits and other incentives to qualifying employers. HF 606 overwhelmingly passed the House, 91-2 with Reps. Mark Cisneros (R-Muscatine) and Sandy Salmon (R-Janesville) voting against the measure. After passing the House, the Senate referred the bill to the chamber’s Commerce Committee for further discussion. In January Governor Kim Reynolds announced that expanding access to affordable child care would be one of her top priorities this legislative session.
Meanwhile, Senate Republicans advanced another of Reynolds’ priority measures this week. SSB 1250 would remove the economic “triggers” put in place by lawmakers before the income tax cuts passed in 2018 take effect. Under the existing law, general fund revenue must reach roughly $8.3 billion, and revenues must increase by 4% over the previous year before the tax cuts can be implemented. They include collapsing the number of income tax brackets from nine to four; decreasing the individual income tax rate by about 2%, for a total of 6.5%; and removing federal deductibility. The bill passed the full Ways & Means Committee Wednesday. Renumbered SF 576, it is now eligible for debate on the Senate floor.
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