Ashley’s Angle: Week Two 1/15/18
Trusted. Proven. Leader.
Thank you so much for entrusting me to represent Iowa House District 67. I am proud to represent people from Marion, Robins, Hiawatha, and Cedar Rapids.
The “Fantastic Four”
I enjoyed having some time to catch up with my fellow freshmen Republican women legislators. Madam Speaker Linda Upmeyer refers to us as her “Fantastic Four”, comprised of Rep. Shannon Lundgren, Rep. Kristi Hager, Rep. Jane Bloomingdale, and myself. We are all looking forward to another great session and representing women from our great state!
This April, the Supreme Court will rule on the online sales tax issues that cost states $13 billion in lost sales tax revenue in 2017. The Supreme Court will be hearing arguments on a 26-year old ruling that made the online marketplace a duty-free zone. The 1992 Quill case held that retailers can only be forced to collect taxes in states where they have a physical presence. The new case that is challenging the prior ruling is South Dakota v. Wayfair, which contends that the Quill case is obsolete in today’s e-commerce marketplace. This is something we are watching very closely as it will have an impact on our revenue here in Iowa if there are changes.
This week, Donna Muller, the CEO of IPERS, and Karl Koch, the CIO of IPERS, presented to the State Government Committee. They presented that there are over 355,600 members of IPERS, with regular members making up 95% of IPERS, and Special Service members making up the remaining 5%. This past fiscal year, the fund earned 11.70%, which far exceeded the original investment return assumption. Relatedly, the ten-year rate of return ranks in the top 20th percentile.
Over the next five years, IPERS would like to add a number of internal investment managers. They believe that this will save the organization millions of dollars and allow them better insight into what the external managers are doing. The current invest assets are worth $32.7 billion dollars. This number has increased by nearly $2.5 billion over the past year and half. State Representative Ken Rizer, the Chairman of the State Government Committee, stated at the end of the meeting that the committee does not have any interest in making any major reform to IPERS this year.
(Future) Bill of the Week
The (future) bill of the week is… Secure an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE)!
SAVE is a designated funding stream that allows our school districts to use dollars solely for school infrastructure needs or school district property tax relief.
These needs can take a variety of forms, such as the construction, reconstruction, repair, demolition work, purchasing, or remodeling of schoolhouses, stadiums, gyms, field houses, and bus garages and the procurement of schoolhouse construction sites. It also includes the payment or retirement of outstanding bonds previously issued for school infrastructure purposes.
I believe that SAVE is extremely important, as it ensures that taxpayer dollars and school funds can and will be used on aspects of school districts that have the most need. I have been talking with school board members and superintendents in regards to SAVE, and I am excited to work on this issue this session. I will be meeting with the Governor’s office next week, and working with my fellow Representatives and Senators to come up with good legislation.
If you have any questions about this or any other bill, please feel free to contact me. You can find the full FAQ about SAVE here.
One of Many Meetings
Now that session is in full swing, I will be having numerous meetings with individuals and organizations about a variety of issues. This week I had the chance to speak with Danielle Oswald-Thole from the American Cancer Society and Stacy Frelund from the American Heart Association. We talked about a couple of subjects, such as the tobacco tax. We also talked about a bill that I will be working on that would require school districts to submit reports to the state that includes information and data about student health and physical education classes. The bill is currently in drafting, but I will continue to share more details and updates as the process unfolds!
It was great to catch up with one of my constituents and friends, Justin Foss. Since we used to work together at TV-9 in Cedar Rapids, I enjoyed hearing about what he does now as the Senior Marketing and Communications Spokesperson at Alliant Energy. It was also great to discuss with him some of the things I will be working on this session and hear his thoughts on them.
I am continuing to develop my Constituent Advisory Committee.
The group is comprised of people I could email or call to ask questions about specific policy questions. If you would like to join, please email my legislature email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let me know what your area of expertise is and how I could get in touch with you.
From Education, Judicial issues, Medical, Energy, and Tax policy, I want your input in the process.