HF 428 – Public Defense Omnibus
HF 428 (SF 488) is a Public Defense departmental bill. It allows properties to be leased to use for armory purposes for up to 30 years, rather than the current 20 years. It amends the Iowa Code of Military Justice so that military commanders [Grade Colonel/06] can hold service members accountable if they commit offenses while off duty when there is a nexus between military service and the offense (e.g., sexual harassment, sexual assault involving two service members). It allows the Adjutant General to include in the annual report on certain offenses, the number of sexual abuse cases reported to the U.S. Department of Defense that are not otherwise required to be reported. It also enhances the popular education benefits available that help the Guard recruit and retain members.
- Requires the Adjutant General to submit an annual report to the Governor and the Legislature by December 31 listing the science, technology, engineering and math-related career fields the Iowa National Guard plans to focus on in providing educational incentives using funds available for that fiscal year.
- Creates a new Code section 261.86A that establishes two recruitment and incentive programs to recruit or retain individuals who have completed or are pursuing training in science, technology, engineering and math-related military occupational specialties or Air Force specialty codes. The Adjutant General may expend appropriated funds that remain unencumbered or unobligated at the close of a fiscal year in the following fiscal year for recruitment and retention programs.
- Allows the Adjutant General to expend unencumbered or unobligated funds in the Iowa National Guard Service Scholarship programs [Code 261.86, subsection 6] to recruit or retain individuals by offering either a student loan repayment program or a master’s degree scholarship award program that complies with the federal Edith Nourse Rogers STEM scholarship program.
- Establishes a National Guard student loan repayment program to be administered by the College Student Aid Commission, and sets requirements for applicants and for loan-repayment awards.
- Sets requirements for the master’s degree scholarship program.
[4/7: 44-0 (Excused: Brown, Carlin, Dawson, Hogg, Nunn, Schultz)]
SF 587 – Mental health funding and levy/commercial backfill elimination
SF 587 is a wide-ranging bill that covers many areas, including:
- Funding and management of the state’s mental health and disability services (MHDS) systems
- Repealing the local MHDS levy
- Eliminating the commercial and industrial property tax replacement funding for local governments
- Adjusting the school foundation percentage to account for lost revenue from school districts’ share of the backfill
- Eliminating the public education and recreation levy for school districts
- Establishing an additional elderly property tax credit for those 70 and over
- Removing triggers for contingent income tax system established in SF 2417 from 2018 (same as what was included in SF 576)
- Repealing the charitable conservation contribution income tax credit
- Requiring the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to certify the management of property enrolled in the forest and fruit tree reservation property tax exemption program; renewal of exemption required every five years
Division I – Mental Health and Disability Services
MHDS Levy. The bill eliminates the MHDS property tax levy over a two-year period, with all county levies reduced to no more than $21.14 per capita for FY22 and reduced to $0 beginning in FY23.
The bill provides a state appropriation of $60 million in FY22; $50 million goes directly to the regions on a per-capita basis and $10 million goes to a mental health risk pool fund.
In FY23, the bill provides an additional $65.4 million state General Fund appropriation for a total of $125.4 million. The mental health property tax levy is completely eliminated in FY23. A total of $120.3 million will be distributed to the regions and an additional $5.1 million will go to the risk pool.
State funds will be distributed to the Regions quarterly starting July 1, 2021.
Per Capita State Appropriations. The bill provides these per-capita General Fund appropriations:
- $15.86 for FY22
- $38 for FY23
- $40 for FY24
- $42 for FY25
- Beginning in FY26 and beyond, the previous year’s appropriation is multiplied by a growth factor indexed to sales tax growth for the preceding fiscal year, not to exceed 1.5%.
Fund Balances. The bill amends provisions related to county fund balances by requiring all county fund balances to be pooled by the region. Regional fund balances are limited to 40% of the proposed gross expenditures for the fiscal year beginning in FY22. In FY23, fund balances are limited to 20% and in FY24 and beyond, fund balances are limited to zero.
Beginning in FY22, State per capita appropriations to a MHDS region are reduced if the MHDS region has a fund balance in excess of the fund balance cap specified above. The reduction doesn’t begin until the second half of the year, once fund balances are certified on December 1. The MHDS Regions also must pay back any funds received in the first two quarters of the fiscal year if fund balances exceeded the cap. Any funds that are paid back or withheld are appropriated to MHDS the Risk Pool.
Risk Pool. The bill creates a MHDS Risk Pool in the Property Tax Relief Fund to provide additional funding to the MHDS regions. If the combination of taxes levied, reserve fund moneys used and per capita state funds distributed still leaves the region short of its budget, and it has spent their reserve funds to required levels, it will can apply to the Risk Pool Board for additional funds.
The bill establishes the composition of the Risk Pool Board and the criteria for the Board to distribute funding. It also makes a General Fund appropriation of $10 million to the MHDS Risk Pool for FY22 and $5.2 million for FY23. Beginning in FY26, any funds in the risk pool will be multiplied by a Risk Pool growth factor equal to the sales tax growth rate for the preceding fiscal year, minus 1.5%.
The Risk Pool Board members are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate and include these 10 members:
- Two county supervisors
- Two county auditors
- One representative from the MHDS regions who is not an elected official
- One member of the county finance committee who is not an elected official
- One provider submitted by ICAP
- Two staff members of Regions
- One member appointed by DHS
Division II – Elimination of Commercial and Industrial Property Tax replacement payments
The bill eliminates the commercial and industrial property tax replacement payments (the backfill) to most local governments over a four- to six-year period as the state increases its share of funding for the MHDS system.
School districts will stop receiving replacement payments in one step, which is replaced and accounted for by increasing total state aid to schools. Schools currently get $60 million ($59.7 million exactly) from C&I repayments.
- $41.8 million of this is General Fund money
- $18 million is specific levy funds that WON’T be replaced by increasing the foundation level (see below/Div. III).
- Management Levy
- Amana Library
- Voted PPEL
- Regular PPEL
- Debt Service
The backfill was created as part of the bipartisan compromise to reduce property taxes on businesses. The backfill was designed to provide funding to local governments to replace the lost revenue from the 10% rollback on business property taxes. Without the backfill, local governments would likely have had to increase property taxes on residential and agricultural property, which would have resulted in a tax shift from businesses onto homeowners and farmers.
The backfill provides more than $152 million to local governments to protect taxpayers and provide critical services. Eliminating this backfill will put more demand for funding for those services back on property taxes.
Division III – Increases the school aid foundation level from 87.5% to 88.4%.
Schools would get an additional $65.4 million in state aid. This increase in state aid is an effort to offset the loss of C&I payments for the uniform levy and additional levy (the school aid formula levy parts or the school levy).
This increase in school foundation aid doesn’t help the other portions of the school levies (above). Many school districts are levying at their maximum rate now, so the loss of backfill payments will result in less funding generated by those levies. Where that isn’t the case, the loss of the backfill payments will likely cause property taxes to increase.
Division IV – Eliminates the Public Educational and Recreational Levy (PERL).
This is a voter-approved levy with a rate of $0.135/$1,000 of taxable valuation. These funds can be used for community tennis courts, swimming pools, other community recreational items and community education purposes.
- 27 school districts have this levy and it has grown over the past few years.
- The bill would allow these school districts to use SAVE funds to maintain the facilities/programs that had been provided by PERL property tax revenues.
Division V – Elderly Property tax credit
This division creates an additional property tax credit for individuals aged 70 and above with incomes below 250% of the federal poverty level who live in the state. Under this “new program,” individuals will qualify for an expanded tax credit in which they will get the greater of:
- The amount of the existing elderly tax credit (Ia Code 425.17) the claimant would qualify for, up to a maximum of $1,000
- The difference between the taxes due related to the assessment year after the qualified claimant turns 70 compared to the taxes due related to future assessment years following when they qualify. The taxpayer must apply annually.
This proposal would have the potential to freeze property taxes for qualified individuals 70 and above. This new provision is not reimbursed by the state, so the cost of the credit is borne by local governments through revenue reductions or shifting costs to other taxpayers in the jurisdiction.
Division VI – Removal of “triggers” for the contingent income tax system
This division would remove the “triggers” that must be met to move to the contingent individual income tax system that was established as part of SF 2417 in 2018 and make the new system effective for Tax Year 2023. This provision was included in SF 576, which passed the Senate unanimously on March 17.
Under SF 2417, the contingent tax system only goes into effect after TY23 when two conditions are met: General Fund net receipts for FY22 (or after) exceed $8.31 billion, and net General Fund receipts for that year must grow at least 4% above the year prior (equal to or more than 104% of previous year’s net receipts).
Under the contingent tax system, the basis for determining Iowa taxable income will be calculated on federal taxable income. This will incorporate all federal tax deductions into the Iowa tax code and will eliminate many of the Iowa specific adjustments to taxable income. The bill removes the state standard deduction but will bring federal standard or itemized deductions into the Iowa tax code by using federal taxable income as the base. One of the largest changes under the contingent tax system is the removal of the Iowa deduction for federal taxes paid, which is known as “federal deductibility.” This massive deduction has the impact of making Iowa’s income tax rates artificially high and appear less competitive with other states.
Division VII – Repeal of the charitable conservation contribution income tax credit
This division would repeal the current charitable conservation contribution tax credit. This tax credit allows landowners to make a charitable conservation of the value of an easement they place on the property. The easement places restrictions on the use of the property in perpetuity for conservation purposes. The tax credit is a maximum of 50% of the fair market value of the property associated with the easement.
Division VIII – Forest and Fruit Tree reservations
This division of the bill creates a number of requirements for properties that apply for and receive the property tax exemption under the forest and fruit tree preservation program. The bill would require the DNR to establish management standards for properties that apply for the forest and fruit tree reservation exemption. Properties receiving the exemption must meet the management standards to receive the exemption.
The division also makes the exemption last for a five-year period. The property owner must re-apply after five years and meet the management requirements to be eligible to receive another five-year exemption.
This division also removes one acre from the fruit tree reserve property tax exemption if there is a building located on the property.
[4/1: 12-8, party-line (No: Democrats; Excused: Kraayenbrink)]
SF 592/SSB 1256 is the FY22 Department of Transportation (DOT) budget. There are two new appropriations, both from the Primary Road Fund (PRF), that total $10 million. This includes $5.3 million for major maintenance and $4.7 million for routine maintenance and preservation at DOT facilities. Facility Major Maintenance funds will be used to enhance and extend the life of DOT facilities. It will include adding new features, such as brine buildings and mechanic’s bays to facilities across the state. Routine maintenance and preservation will allow more flexibility in DOT spending decisions.
Annual maintenance-related appropriations typically funded as separate line-items that are now in the “Facility Routine Maintenance” include:
- Utility improvements
- Garage roofing projects
- Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) improvements
- Field facility deferred maintenance
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) improvements
Motor Vehicle Enforcement (MVE) Field Facilities: $400,000 – new appropriation from the Road Use Tax Fund (RUTF) designed to maintain the various Enforcement field facilities.
Highway Division: $4.1 million increase to replace existing medium- and heavy-duty trucks and to fund nine new FTE positions. The FTE positions will perform project development and field construction inspection. The increase will also fund a more consistent replacement of snow plow blades. An increase in salt usage has resulted in the DOT needing more funds to cover the cost of salt. Three years ago, the DOT began transitioning medium- and heavy-duty trucks to a 12-year replacement cycle from a 15-year cycle. The DOT had recommended this transition to a shorter lifespan as repairs and parts, some of which are becoming obsolete, are costlier on older vehicles. There is a decrease of $2.3 million for Inventory and Equipment from the PRF as a result of funds being shifted to the Highway appropriation.
Motor Vehicle Division Field Facility Maintenance: $400,000, an increase of $100,000. Many of these facilities are used often and are front-facing. The additional funds will be used for increased maintenance.
Rest Area Facility Maintenance: $400,000, an increase of $150,000. Funds will help better maintain rest areas, which are widely used by the public and often highly visible from the highway.
State Road Maps: Decrease of $242,000. Maps are now printed every other year, rather than annually. Design and printing costs were allocated in FY21 for the new Iowa Transportation 2021-2022 maps.
DOT Workers’ Compensation: Decrease of $762,186 (RUTF $30,487/PRF $731,699) in payments to the Department of Administrative Services due to fewer workers’ compensation claims. Workers’ compensation covers all approved medical expenses for the treatment of employee injuries and lost wages if the employee is incapacitated for more than three days. Premiums are based on a five-year rolling average of claims experience for the DOT.
Statewide Communication System: Decrease of $123,476. Lease payments are being shifted from RUTF/PRF to RIIF as additional public safety organizations use the system.
Inventory and Equipment: Decrease of $2.3 million as a result of funds being shifted to the Highway Division appropriation.
The FY22 budget reflects a decrease of $11,287,000 for a one-time capital expenditure for repairs at the Ames Administration Building allocated in FY21.
[4/5: short form; (Excused: Reichman)]
FY22 Senate GOP $49.6 million
FY22 Governor’s Recommendation $ 204.4 million (includes broadband grants)
FY21 Appropriation $ 75 million (includes the Workday supplemental)
FY22 Senate GOP vs. FY21 difference $-25.4 million GOP
General Fund Highlights for the bill:
- Not one penny for broadband grants as the Governor recommended. The Governor was recommending $150 million each year for three years. In addition, the Senate GOP cut $5 million from FY21 appropriation for broadband grants.
- There is no appropriation for Workday in FY22 in this budget.
- DAS: $221,291 increase for on-going utility costs.
- Public Information Board: $15,000 increase for office expenses
- Campaign & Disclosure: $51,000 increase to cover personnel, web reporting updates (all conditional if they don’t receive an IowAccess grant in FY22).
- Secretary of State: $250,000 increase to restore to FY20 level due to cuts from FY21.
- DIA: Nursing home inspections are not at the level Senate Democrats had for elder safety.
- CASA: GOP level does not cover all 99 counties like Senate Democrats had for child protection.
- Racing and Gaming Commission: $200,000 from the gaming regulatory fund for socioeconomic study on the impact of gambling in Iowa. This happens every 10 years.
- Language originally in SF 417
- Eliminate $2 fee for a copy of the U.S. Census results by anyone.
- Eliminate $3 for a certificate with the seal attached.
- Eliminate $25 per day prior to issuing a transient merchant’s license.
[4/6: 13-8, party-line (No: Democrats)]
SF 595—FY22 Economic Development Budget
SF 595 is the Senate Republican FY22 Economic Development budget. This budget provides funding for the Department of Cultural Affairs, Iowa Economic Development Authority, Iowa Finance Authority, Iowa Workforce Development, Public Employment Relations Board and economic development activities at the Regents institutions. The bill appropriates $46.2 million from the General Fund and $28 million from other funds. The bill authorizes 556.68 FTEs, which is a 2.39 increase in FTEs over FY21.
FY22 Senate GOP General Fund Proposal
FY22 Senate $46.2 million
FY21 Appropriation $41.5 million
Difference $4.6 million
Percent change 11 percent increase
Items of interest in the bill:
- The Senate Republican proposal is $1.5 million below Governor’s recommendation.
- General Fund status quo for the Department of Cultural Affairs, Economic Development Authority, Iowa Finance Authority and the Public Employment Relations Board.
- There are two standing appropriations in the bill in which the Republicans are funding less than the standing appropriation amount for FY22 (see page 9, lines 2-15).
- Community Cultural Grants = $448,403 (This is $71,597 below the standing appropriation estimate. This is the same amount from the previous year.)
- Regional Tourism Marketing = $900,000 (This is $286,000 below the standing appropriation estimate. This is the same amount from the previous year.)
- New appropriation–Home Base Iowa: $250,000 (to Iowa Workforce Development)
- Home Base Iowa connects Iowa businesses with qualified veterans and their spouses for career opportunities. This is not a new program. This would be a new General Fund appropriation. In the past, the Governor has requested funding from the General Fund for this purpose, but the Legislature has not approved any appropriations. IWD has found ways to pay for the program without an appropriation for this purpose. It is estimated that IWD will spend $162,000 for FY21 (from other funds). IWD plans on adding one FTE.
- Increased appropriation to the Future Ready Iowa Employer Innovation Fund (including the Child Care Challenge Fund): $3 million increase
- A total of $4.2 million is appropriated to the Employer Innovation Fund (increase of $3 million from FY21). According to the Code and to the bill, IWD, after consulting with the IWD Board will decide how much to transfer to the Child Care Challenge Fund).
- The purpose of the Iowa Child Care Challenge grant program is to encourage and enable businesses, nonprofit organizations and consortiums to establish local child care facilities, and increase the availability of quality, affordable child care for working Iowans.
Other funds appropriated in this bill consist of the Skilled Worker Job Creation Fund, Special Contingency Fund (i.e., Penalty and Interest), Unemployment Reserve Interest, and a new transfer of funds from the Beer and Liquor Control Fund for a statewide tourism marketing campaign.
- Skilled Worker and Job Creation Fund
Iowa Economic Development Authority
- Empower Rural Iowa: The budget shows an elimination/reduction of $300,000 and $100,000 to the Empower Rural Iowa Innovation Grants and Empower Rural Iowa Housing Needs Assessment. Then it shows a new line item called Empower Rural Iowa Program funded at $700,000. The Rural Innovation Grants and the Rural Housing Needs Assessment will roll under this larger program.
- STEM BEST: A new appropriation for the Future Ready Iowa STEM BEST (Businesses Engaging Students and Teachers) Program. The Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council has awarded 75 STEM BEST Program grants since 2014 to grow community collaborations involving school and business partnerships. The program seeks to bridge cultures between businesses and schools through education programs in the fields of manufacturing, information technology, bioscience, finance and more, while focusing on business applications. The new appropriation is for $700,000.
- Elimination of $1 million to the Future Ready Iowa Grant Program at the College Student Aid Commission. The Fund was established to provide grants to those who left college to re-enroll in a four-year institution for a bachelor’s degree in a high-demand field. This line item had a carryover of $300,000 into FY21 (total available for FY21=$1.3 million). Currently, only $100,000 has been awarded in FY21.
Board of Regents
- $1.36 Million increase:
- UNI—Additive Manufacturing: status quo
- ISU—Biosciences Innovation Ecosystem: $1 million increase (total = $1.8 million)
- Iowa State requested $3 million to work with Iowa Economic Development Authority and BioConnect Iowa to accelerate technology transfer and workforce development in the bioscience platforms of biobased products, precision and digital agriculture, and vaccines and immunotherapeutics. Specifically, the appropriation dollars will go toward a grant match, salary for the Chief Innovation Officer and money for startups. The Governor recommended approximately $3 million total.
- University of Iowa—Biosciences Innovation Ecosystem: $362,000 increase (total =$633,595)
- University of Iowa requested a total $775,000. This funding goes to the Medical Device platform of the biosciences innovation ecosystem. The money will be use to further support and build out Protostudios (develops medical device prototypes), MADE (a student-managed manufacturing and e-commerce initiative for medical devices), and one-stop shop concierge services for connecting innovators of medical devices. The Governor recommended a total of $996,095.
- NEW: $1 million transfer from the Department of Commerce Beer and Liquor Control Fund to the Iowa Economic Development Authority.
- This is a Code change, and the transfer of $1 million to IEDA will happen annually.
- Requires IEDA to issue a single request for proposals to select an entity located int this state for a statewide effort to leverage public and private partnerships to market and promote the state as a travel destination.
[4/7: 12-8-1 (No: Democrats; Present: Koelker)]
HF 813 – Charter Schools
HF 813 establishes a new charter school program within the state under new Code chapter 256E to create two additional models by which a charter school may be established. Existing charters don’t cease to exist, but no more will be granted under 256F after July 1, 2021.
- Local School Board-State Board Model– a local school board may create a founding group to apply to the State Board for approval to establish a charter school within a school district by establishing a new attendance center, creating a new school within an existing attendance center, or converting an existing attendance center.
- If charter school wants to take over an existing attendance center, they must submit evidence that a majority of the school’s teachers and parents voted in favor of the conversion to a charter.
- The State Board must approve a charter if all criteria of application have been met. If the State Board denies charter application, they must specify exact reasons for denial and provide documentation.
- Founding Group-State Board Model– a founding group may apply to the State Board for approval to establish and operate a charter school within the boundaries of the whole state that operates independently (and in competition of) any public-school district as a new attendance center.
- A founding group applies for a charter school within the state boundaries (not a district’s) and operates as a new school independently from a public school/district.
- A founding group’s application submitted is required to demonstrate the founding group’s academic and operational vision and plans for the proposed charter school. An application must include the performance framework, the oversight and evaluation requirements, the criteria the state board will use in evaluating applications, and the requirements concerning the format and content necessary to establish and operate a successful charter school. [256E (9) and 256E (10)]
Private Charter application to the State Board must include *most* of the same requirements as the School Board application except the following:
- No vote of teachers or parents required before a founding group can start recruiting parents/students and apply for charter school status.
- ONLY IF – the application is by (or the board is planning to contract with) an “education service provider” do they have to show success in serving similar student populations to which they are proposing to serve.
- ONLY IF – the applicant is by (or the board plans to contract with) an “education service provider” does the application need to include a description of education service provider’s staff performance evaluation, compensation, contract oversight, dispute resolution, investment disclosure and conflicts of interest.
- A private/founding group charter application must not be approved if the same founding group has another pending application under this subsection. This does NOT prohibit an applicant from running more than one charter, just that no more than one application can be pending at one time.
General Operating Powers and Duties (Applicable for all types of charter schools):
An initial charter school contract will be granted for a term of five years. A charter school will be organized as a nonprofit education organization with the powers, including but not limited to, the following:
- Receive and expend funds for charter school purposes.
- Contract with an education service provider for the management and operation of the charter school so long as the governing board retains oversight authority over the charter school.
- Incur debt in anticipation of the receipt of public or private funds.
- Solicit and accept gifts or grants for charter school purposes unless otherwise prohibited by law or by the terms of its charter school contract.
- Acquire public or private property for use as a charter school.
- Board must post charter school annual budget for public viewing.
- Although charter schools would be subject to audit requirements, it is unclear whether a charter school approved as an independent entity would be subject to fiscal reporting under 291.10.
- If a charter school is independent from a school district, determinations will be needed regarding allocation methods used for federal funds.
- Charter board members must be residents of “geographic area” serviced by charter school. If a board member does not live in “geographic area,” they must at least be state residents. There is no prohibition against out-of-state folks/businesses coming in and being a “founding group.”
- There is no prohibition for a member of the founding group to serve on the governing board.
- Each charter school governing board must adopt a conflict-of-interest policy and a code of ethics for all board members and employees, and adopt a policy regarding family members to avoid nepotism.
- Evaluations: The bill includes language that would require staff performance evaluations (in SF 159).
Charter Schools are exempt from all state statutes and rules and any local rule, regulation, or policy, applicable to a non-charter school, except that the charter school is required to do all of the following:
- Meet all applicable federal, state and local health and safety requirements and laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion, ancestry or disability. The charter school will be subject to any court-ordered desegregation in effect for the school district at the time the charter school application is approved, unless otherwise specifically provided for in the desegregation order.
- Operate as a nonsectarian, nonreligious school.
- Be free of tuition and application fees to Iowa resident students between the ages of five and 21. Provide transportation to students.
- Be subject to and comply with civil and human rights (chapters 216 and 216A)
- Provide special education services.
- Be subject to the same financial audits, audit procedures and audit requirements as a school district under current law. The department, State Auditor or Legislative Services Agency may conduct financial, program or compliance audits.
- Be subject to and comply with the Iowa Core requirements and educational standards (256.11), unless specifically waived by the state board during the application process.
- Comply with Chapter 21 requirements (open meetings) – but not required to comply with open records.
- They also do NOT have to follow is Chapter 26 (competitive bid).
- New charters do not have to adhere to chapters 20 or 279 related to discipline and discharge of teachers or administrators as is currently required under 256F.
Teachers, Administrators, Admission of Students:
- A charter school will employ or contract with teachers licensed under 272.1.
- Administrators do NOT have to be licensed; under current law, they must be licensed under the BOEE.
- Charters cannot discriminate on the basis of intellectual or athletic ability during the application process. They will give enrollment priority to siblings of students enrolled in a charter school.
Direct State Appropriations: The state pays directly for students enrolled in a charter school who were previously served in a home school or nonpublic school, or recently moved to the district. This is an unknown standing unlimited appropriation.
State Board Oversight/Evaluation: The State Board must monitor the performance and compliance of each charter school. A charter school must provide an annual report to the Department of Education and Legislature. Each charter school established under this chapter must be evaluated and graded by the Department of Education pursuant to the attendance center performance ranking system (state report card).
[4/7: 13-8, party-line]