Iowa House Update – Tom Gerhold

HELLO HOUSE DISTRICT 75 FROM THE STATE CAPITOL!

This last week started with the very important nation-wide process of Iowa leading the nation in the selection of our president beginning on January 20, 2021. I attended the Atkins caucus, which had a very nice gathering for the Republican ticket, with President Trump being our unanimous choice. Statewide, Republicans smashed the previous caucus record turnout of a Republican incumbent by four times, which was in 2004 for President George W. Bush!

We continue to work on the proposals for the K-12 Education funding bill and could possibly be voting on it late next week. This will be a huge help for school boards and administrators to solidify their budgets for the 2020-21 school year. The House Education package has a $108 million increase, which differs from the Senate proposal and will eventually be negotiated between the two chambers.

Also, on the Iowa House agenda is the problem with finding affordable child-care in our smaller communities. With the state unemployment level being very low and employers having difficulties filling job vacancies, parents in need of childcare are having trouble finding providers without having to drive many miles. This creates an even greater financial burden on families, many times forcing them to move to larger communities that provide affordable child-care.

The House passed two bills out of committee this week dealing with childcare. House File 2067 will increase childcare provider rates in the Child Care Assistance (CCA) program. In the fiscal years of 2018 and 2019 where CCA was accepted, 18 childcare centers, 140 child development homes, and 99 unregistered homes accepting CCA ceased operating. The Human Resources Committee passed HF 2128, which increased the ages of “infant and toddler” from two to three years which will increase payments to childcare providers by $2.3 million.

There is also a bill, HF 2203, in the works to alleviate the “cliff effect” in the CCA program. This is to lessen the effects where a parent would not necessarily be penalized or pushed off the “welfare cliff” for accepting a bonus or promotion at work. Currently, Iowans are limited in their ability to be successful because parents receiving CCA are discouraged in accepting an increase in take home pay and encouraged to remain on welfare.

Thank you, and as always, please be safe out there!

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