IOWA SENATE: Dawn Driscoll, March 19, 2021

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with Representative Bradley!

This week was the tenth week of the legislative session. The Senate debated several bills to remove barriers to work, reward work and investment, and create a tax and regulatory environment conducive to creating new career opportunities in Iowa. Most of my week was spent speaking with lobbyists and people from my district about the legislation that has been brought forward so far and what they would like to see happen the rest of this session. Our big day was Wednesday when we had floor debate on a number of very important bills.
 
Keeping the Promise to Cut Taxes
 
We have consistently set the goal of removing barriers to work, helping Iowans keep more of what they earn, and improving career opportunities for the last five years. SF 576 continues that effort by phasing out the inheritance tax and eliminating revenue triggers holding back the implementation of the next round of tax cuts passed in 2018. 
 
Iowa has some of the highest top tax rates in the country. Those tax rates are even worse because they are effective at a much lower income level than most states. SF 576 eliminates language in the largest tax cut in Iowa history, passed in 2018, to reduce and simplify Iowa income taxes contingent on a certain level of revenue received by the state and replaces it with a set date of January 1, 2023. It is time to implement tax relief for working Iowans and small businesses. Most small business pay the individual tax rate and are responsible for the creation of most new jobs in Iowa. Lower rates and the certainty of the effective date of those rates provides job creators an incentive to grow and create more opportunities for Iowans.
 
SF 576 also phases out the inheritance tax over a three-year period. The inheritance tax was eliminated years ago in Iowa on estates being passed from lineally, for example parent to child. However, the tax remained for other inheritance such as uncle to niece. Iowa is only one of six states to still have an inheritance tax. After a lifetime of paying tax on nearly every single transaction and activity in life, it’s finally time to say enough of government taxing Iowans beyond the grave.
 
This week, the Senate also debated what has been known as the ‘Big Tech Censorship’ bill, Senate File 580. This bill requires social networking websites like Twitter or Facebook to respect the free speech rights of Iowans, protected by both the United States and Iowa Constitutions, and not censor their constitutionally protected speech. If they don’t respect these fundamental rights of Iowans, they will lose their tax incentives, paid for by the very people they are censoring.  
 
Technology and social media dominate much of our lives these days, and big tech companies determine what information is available to Iowans online.  Not only do they determine what kind of content users see, but they also determine the priority of the information users see. The censorship of certain viewpoints has been a growing concern in America, but it has dramatically increased in frequency and scope over the last year. We as senators can no longer wait for Congress to fix the problem they have created through section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and must act now to protect the fundamental free speech rights of Iowans.
 
Billions of people head to Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms to voice their thoughts, opinions, and ideas. When those get censored by these big tech companies, we start losing one of our most important and vital freedoms given to us by the United States Constitution – the freedom of speech. Social media is the public square of the 21st century, and social media users have the right to voice their thoughts and opinions.
 
Additionally, Senate File 580 prevents taxpayer money from going to companies that remove an Iowan’s ability to download other social networking sites, purchase protected publications and material on a massive online marketplace, or allow Iowans to opt-out of post-promoting or shadow-banning algorithms. This bill does not prohibit these companies from operating in Iowa, it simply says, if they choose to censor Iowans, they will not receive the generous subsidies and tax credits currently offered to them. After passing in the Senate, SF 580 now goes to the House for their consideration.
 
As always, please feel free to contact me with comments or questions about the issues important to you or the legislation we are talking about here at the Capitol.

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