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In the news
$2 BILLION STATE SURPLUS: Iowa has a state budget surplus of nearly $2 billion, 54 percent more than its record-breaking surplus last year.
Also, Iowa’s cash reserve fund contains $830 million and its taxpayer relief fund has more than $1 billion.
The state’s tax income from corporations surpassed $850 million, triggering a reduction in the state’s top corporate tax rate, from 9.8 percent to 8.4 percent.
Gov. Kim Reynolds celebrated the surplus this past week, saying it proves the effectiveness of the tax cuts she championed in the Legislature this year. Democratic legislative leaders said the news was a windfall to corporations rather than working Iowans.
Tax cuts passed this year will cut the state’s revenue by $1.9 billion annually after five years. By 2026, all Iowans will pay a tax rate of 3.9 percent, regardless of income.
FETAL HEARTBEAT BILL: The state of Iowa argued the Iowa Supreme Court should reinstate the 2018 “fetal heartbeat” law and has the authority to do so. The law would make abortion illegal at six weeks, when supporters say cardiac activity is detectable in fetus and opponents say it before many women know they’re pregnant.
Alan Ostergren, a conservative attorney representing the state, argued in a brief filed last week that the injunction that stopped enforcement of the law was no longer valid because it had been based on precedent that has since been overturned at both the federal and state level.
1st DISTRICT DEBATE: The candidates seeking to represent Iowa’s southeast Iowa’s 1st Congressional District traded barbs over abortion and inflation, but also pitched themselves as moderate bipartisans open to working across the aisle in a PBS debate on Monday.
Christina Bohannan, a Democratic state representative from Iowa City, said President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan was misguided and expressed a need to secure the southern border. U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, the incumbent Republican, said she had sponsored 13 bills that had been passed into law, demonstrating her willingness to work within the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.
RACIST AD?: Democrats called a campaign ad from Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds racist last week.
The ad shows Missouri Democratic U.S. Rep. Cori Bush, a Black woman, advocating for defunding the police. Reynolds’ Democratic opponent, Deidre DeJear, is a Black woman, but does not support defunding the police.
Democrats said the ad drew a comparison where none exists and was based on stereotypes. Reynolds’ campaign said the ad contrasts Iowa’s policies with policies supported by Democrats in other states.
They said …
“The campaign ad contrasts the failed policies supported by liberal Democrats across the country with the common sense leadership of Gov. Reynolds." — Pat Garrett, Gov. Kim Reynolds' campaign spokesperson on Reynolds' latest re-election ad
“None of what she said was founded in this state, and it’s unfortunate. Honestly, I think it’s shortsighted and lazy. But it’s also unfortunate. What she showed Iowans was a figment of her imagination, not what Iowans need for them.” — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Deidre DeJear on Reynolds' ad
Odds and ends
MILLIONS DEDICATED TO OPIOID TREATMENT: Iowa will receive more than $9 million in federal funding to target opioid treatment and prevention. The state estimates at least 1,100 Iowans will receive treatment and/or recovery support during the next two years from the grant, and another 11,000 will receive prevention and harm reduction services.
“AG-GAG” LAW NIXED: A federal judge has struck down the third attempt by the Iowa Legislature to stop animal welfare groups from secretly filming livestock abuse, finding once again that the law passed last year violates free speech rights.
The decision Monday rejected the law approved by Iowa lawmakers in April 2021 that makes it a crime to trespass on a property to place a camera to record or transmit images. The law, which had support from Republicans and some Democrats. made the first offense punishable by up to two years in prison and subsequent offenses a felony.
IOWANS IN CAPITOL ATTACK: Two Iowans are facing consequences on charges related to the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot.
Doug Jensen, 43, a construction worker from Des Moines, was convicted of seven charges, including civil disorder and assaulting, resisting or impeding an officer. Jensen was seen in photos and videos wearing a T-shirt affiliated with the QAnon conspiracy theory, and was accused of “leading the mob” and “weaponizing” it by a prosecutor.
Kyle Young, 38, of Redfield, was sentenced to seven years in prison, one of the longest given to date. Young admitted to aiding the assault of D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone, which Fanone said ended his career as a police officer.
COVID-19 CASES CONTINUE TO DROP: Iowa’s new COVID-19 cases fell for the fourth consecutive week, as the state reported 2,091 new cases in the week ending on Wednesday, down from 2,908 the previous week. The number of patients hospitalized also fell, from 219 to 179, in the same week.
SENATE DEBATE: Incumbent U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley and Democratic challenger Mike Franken will debate on Iowa PBS at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6.
Grassley is seeking his eighth term in the Senate. Franken, a retired Navy admiral from Sioux City, is making his second run for the Senate after running in the Democratic primary in 2020.