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State Senator Steve Sodders-State Government Is Working For You

October 18, 2013
Northern-Sun Print
During the federal government shutdown, I get many questions about how things are working at the state level. I’m proud to say the state of Iowa is open for business. Legislators are focused on making state government work for Iowa citizens. We’re always looking for ways to ensure government runs efficiently and offers good service to Iowans. In fact, Iowa is considered the fifth best run state in the country, according to 24/7 Wall Street. Our strong agricultural economy, falling unemployment, excellent credit rating and well-managed budget give Iowa its good financial health, standard of living and government services. This year, legislators continued our push for a leaner, more transparent government that is responsive to Iowans’ needs by: 1. Balancing the state budget without raising taxes. Iowa has a budget surplus of about $721 million. We also have $649 million in our reserve funds. That’s the largest amount in state history and the eighth best in the country, according to a national report by the Tax Foundation. 2. Cutting taxes to create jobs and spur economic growth. The tax reforms we approved this year include reducing commercial property taxes for all Iowa businesses while helping small businesses the most. We also voted to put some of our budget surplus back into the pockets of Iowa taxpayer and help low-income Iowans work their way out of poverty by boosting the state Earned Income Tax Credit. 3. Standing up for citizens’ right to know. Iowans now have a free, efficient method to ensure government officials comply with Iowa’s open meetings and records laws. The newly formed Iowa Public Information Board helps citizens with questions and concerns about their rights to information. In addition, we’re developing an online database that will allow Iowans to search the state’s budget expenditures and tax revenue to see how their tax dollars are spent. 4. Improving customer service and saving money through efficiencies. New initiatives include an online driver’s license renewal system and giving Iowans the option to show proof of insurance on their electronic driving record rather than carrying the documentation. These and other cost-saving efforts at the Iowa Department of Transportation are freeing up more of your tax dollars to fix our roads. Additional information This is a legislative update from Senator Steve Sodders, representing Marshall and Tama counties, as well as La Porte City and southern parts of Black Hawk County. For newsletters, photos and further information, go to www.senate.iowa.gov/senator/sodders. To contact Senator Sodders during the week, call the Senate Switchboard at 515-281-3371. Otherwise he can be reached at home at 641-483-2383. E-mail him at steve.sodders@legis.iowa.gov. Senator Sodders is Senate President Pro Tem and chair of the Economic Growth Committee. He also serves on the Judiciary, Agriculture, Labor & Business, State Government, Veterans Affairs, and Rules & Administration committees.

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