Iowa Politics Today: Taxes on Internet sales being debated

Rod Boshart/Gazette Des Moines Bureau

Jeff Weld (left) of the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council speaks Monday at a news conference with (from left) Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Boone High School Principal Kris Byam and Jake Gourley, a Boone High School junior. The governor announced that a portion of a $1.8 million federal grant will be used to pilot new Quality Pre-Apprenticeship programs at four Iowa high schools, including Boone.
Rod Boshart/Gazette Des Moines Bureau Jeff Weld (left) of the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council speaks Monday at a news conference with (from left) Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, Boone High School Principal Kris Byam and Jake Gourley, a Boone High School junior. The governor announced that a portion of a $1.8 million federal grant will be used to pilot new Quality Pre-Apprenticeship programs at four Iowa high schools, including Boone.

PRE-APPRENTICESHIPS: Four Iowa schools have been selected to participate in a pilot a pre-apprenticeship program by the Iowa Governor’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Advisory Council.

Muscatine, Boone, Spencer and Waukee will share $200,000 from a $1.8 million U.S. Department of Labor ApprenticeshipUSA State Expansion grant.

Apprenticeships are seen as part of the solution for employers seeking to build a qualified workforce.

The grant partners — Iowa Workforce Development, Iowa Economic Development Authority, Iowa Department of Corrections, Iowa Department of Education and the STEM Council — proposed a Quality Pre-Apprenticeship model within the grant to help secondary students meet the basic qualifications for entry into one or more registered apprenticeship programs in the state.

In their proposals, the schools showed partnerships with local workplace partners as well as efforts for recruiting students in underrepresented groups in STEM.

The partners will be asked to deliver a “how-to manual” for other schools and partners throughout the state to help them replicate the program.

INTERNET SALES: House Ways and Means subcommittee members were generally in favor of a plan to gather baseline information on internet sales and potential revenue by collecting sales tax on those purchases.

However, Rep. Dave Jacoby, D-Coralville, said there were “far too many” references to penalties in House File 460. He also was concerned about language in the bill granting subpoena power to the director of the Department of Revenue.

The Iowa Retail Federation was registered in favor of the bill, but now is undecided and “leaning toward opposing” because it believes the legislation would be burdensome.

The federation, however, fully supports collecting sales taxes from internet purchases and is lobbying Iowa congressional delegation for federal action.

The subcommittee took no action on the bill but expects to continue the conversation and bring it to the full committee.

HELP FOR WILDFIRE VICTIMS: Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey highlighted opportunities Monday for Iowans to support farmers and ranchers who have been impacted by wildfires in Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas.

Northey noted that seven people have died and officials have estimated that thousands of cattle have been killed by the fires.

More than 2,300 square miles, much of it agricultural land used for cow/calf production, have burned.

Northey said several Iowa groups are partnering on an online auction to raise funds for victims of the recent wildfires. Also, a list of organizations in affected states accepting donations and supplies can be found at agweb.com/article/ as-wildfires-continue-to-blaze-heres-how-you-can-help-naa-drovers-editors/.

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QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Missouri is the ‘Show-me State,’ and Iowa is the ‘what we do well state.’ ” — Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad, D-Des Moines, introducing a Missouri college professor visiting the Iowa House to observe its processes.

Gazette Des Moines Bureau

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