Closing Remarks from Senate President Charles Schneider

Senate President Charles Schneider’s closing remarks as prepared

Senators, guests, fellow Iowans,

I would like to start by saying it is a great honor to serve as president and presiding officer of this body. The Iowa Senate is a made up of some of the best people our state has to offer. Each Senator in this chamber worked hard this legislative session to represent their communities to the rest of the state. Today, the legislative session ends and we return to the “citizen” part of being a citizen legislator. We return to towns like Council Bluffs, Dubuque, and Independence, proud to have done our part to serve our constituents.

Each of us ran for election to the Iowa Senate for our own reasons. But we share a common goal – to make Iowa the best state in America to live, work, and raise a family.

One of the main reasons I ran for office was to transform our state from one that continues to lose people and wealth to other states into one that is a magnet for both jobs and the people to fill that demand.

This session, we made great strides toward achieving this goal by passing the most significant tax reform in the history of our state.

The opportunity to overhaul our tax code does not come around often. So we aimed high. Our goals were to simplify our tax code, modernize it for a 21st century economy, make our state more competitive, and allow Iowans to keep more of their own money. I am proud to say the reforms offered by the Senate Republican caucus delivered on these goals.

The tax relief bill we passed provides $2 billion in tax cuts over the next six years. Once fully implemented, it will drive down rates for individuals, farmers, and employers. It will make it easier and less time consuming for the average Iowan to file a tax return. It will improve our ability to compete against other states for economic development opportunities. And, it creates more upside opportunity for entrepreneurs who leave their job to start a business, agree to take over their family farm, or commit their life savings to take on their dream venture.

Tax reform is a win for Iowans and I’m proud the Senate Republican caucus delivered.

In addition to serving as the President of the Senate, I am proud to serve as the Chair of the Appropriations Committee.

Iowa’s state government should thoughtfully consider every dollar it spends. Iowans expect that of us. This year, we passed a budget that is both responsible and funds our priorities.

Iowans across our state get up early, work long hours, and sacrifice their time and talent for benefit of their families and their communities. Iowans work hard for every dollar they make, every penny they earn. The very least we in this building can do is be good stewards of the dollars they send to the state.

In November 2016, Iowans decided they were tired of business as usual. They voted for a change. They voted for an Iowa where people have more money in their pockets. They voted for an Iowa where the laws of the state reflect the values of its citizens.

Our plan a year and a half ago was no secret. And, our goal four months ago was no different. Our objective was as simple as it was audacious – to make Iowa the best state in America.

This was not going to be just another General Assembly. I am proud to be a part of the most consequential General Assembly in the modern history of our state. Though our work is not done, I am confident the bills we passed this session will make our state a better place to live, work and raise a family.

Before we adjourn, I would like to wish everyone a safe, healthy and prosperous summer. Thank you for your hard work on behalf of your constituents and our state. God bless you and your families. And, God bless the great state of Iowa.

Closing Remarks from Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver

Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver’s closing remarks as prepared

President Schneider, Senate Minority Leader Petersen, colleagues and friends, I stand before you very proud that we honored the bold commitments we envisioned at the start of this Legislative Session.

We came together to ease the tax burdens on hard-working Iowans, provided new access to affordable healthcare for Iowans in need of coverage, enhanced our mental health system, made steps to continue improving our water quality, work toward developing and expanding our skilled workforce and maintained our commitment to revitalize rural Iowa.

On a personal note I want to thank everyone for their support and encouragement this Legislative Session. I delivered my opening remarks as the Senate President and today deliver closing comments as a Senate Majority Leader, who is proud of our caucus for their dedicated commitment to their constituents, the state of Iowa and their fellow Senators. Despite challenges that we encountered this session, they remained focused and did not lose sight of why they are here – to do the people’s work.

Colleagues, we adjourn today able to go home to our districts and tell our constituents we kept our word, honored our commitment to them and produced historic results that will help our state forge a path of success for future generations. That starts with tax reform.

Tax reform is something we stood up to talk about for years during our time in the minority, and pledged to accomplish when given the opportunity to govern in the majority. I am proud of the tireless dedication of Senate Republicans to see through with this promise.

We never wavered on our commitment on making tax reform happen. This is something Senate Republicans and I spoke about repeatedly during my entire time at the Capitol. When it came to giving hard-working Iowans a tax break, we did not stand up to speak to hear ourselves talk.

We rose to speak because we believe this is necessary. We spoke about this passionately because we want to see our great state grow. We stood up for those whose pleas for help fell on deaf ears for nearly two decades. Simply put, we made our vision a reality to lend a helping hand to an overwhelming majority of Iowans, and unleash limitless opportunities for years to come.

Iowa families deserve to have more of their hard-earned money in their pockets. Though it took 20 years to fulfill our pledge, we leave here today able to say we accomplished what we set out to do this General Assembly.

On the first day of this 87th General Assembly, I encouraged my colleagues to think big and act boldly. I knew if we dared to dream big the legislation we passed would positively impact our state and set the course for an economic revival in Iowa. We came here every day with the goal of keeping our word to the voters who sent us here. Promises made, promises kept.

Passing tax reform is a giant step in that economic revival as it plays a significant role in helping us compete with neighboring states. This bold initiative not only helps draw new people into our state, but it also rewards hard-working Iowans by providing them with more resources to prosper and live comfortably in their communities.

Over the last two years, we worked to expand our workforce, strengthen our economy, rejuvenate our Ag industry, ease the tax burdens on Iowans, create financial stability for our rural communities and school districts, and provide students with a top-notch education. As we bring a close to this 87th General Assembly, I stand before you proud of the work we have accomplished on behalf of Iowans. Though we did not always see eye to eye on policy; it is hard to argue the positive results that it generated for the future of the state we love.

We can all agree that Iowa is the best state in the country. Now, people outside of Iowa are beginning to understand what we have known for years.

My friends, we find ourselves at a defining moment in our great state. We can make the decision to go backward and hope better days lie ahead, or we can put our strong Iowa work ethic to the test to continue forging a path for economic growth and prosperity.  We have made great strides in the last two years, but our work is far from finished. Senate Republicans remain committed to finishing what we came here to do: Improving our business climate, making education a priority and working to create new career opportunities across this great state.

In closing, I want to thank my Senate Republican colleagues, Senator Petersen, the Senate Democrats, the Senate Republican and Democrat caucus staffs for putting in so many hours researching bills and helping to keep us informed, the staff in my office, staff in the Senate President’s office, the Secretary of the Senate and his hard-working people and the sergeant at arms, our door keepers, Randy Wallace and everyone who makes a Legislative Session successful. It is an honor to work with all of you.

It’s a great day to be an Iowan; let’s work to make tomorrow even better. Thank you.

Floor Remarks from Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver

Comments from Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver as prepared for delivery are below.

Thank you Mr. President.

Friends and colleagues, I rise today to say thank you for the honor to serve as President of the Iowa Senate for the past year and a half. I am proud to be fair and impartial as I presided over this body.

Today, I rise to speak in a new role. I want to thank my colleagues for the confidence to help lead our Republican caucus going forward as Senate Majority Leader.

Though the office, title, and responsibility have changed – the goal has not.

I ran for office 7 years ago to make Iowa a better place. I wanted to be a part of a new group of leaders who were willing to look beyond the next election, and look to the next generation.

As a father of three young children, I have only one agenda. It is not a Republican agenda or a Democrat agenda. It is an Iowa agenda. It is one that ensures our kids and our grandkids have more opportunities than we have had.

I know all of us – regardless of party – have the same goal for Iowa – to be the best state in the nation! Though we may differ on that path – we cannot disagree on the result. We have made a tremendous amount of progress!

As we all know, Iowa was recently ranked Number 1 in the US News overall state ranking.  We rank Number 1 in infrastructure,  Number 3 in healthcare  and Number 5 in education.

While we have made great strides, there is always room for improvement. We must continue to promote and pass policies that make Iowa a place where our residents want to stay, work and raise their families as well as be a place to entice future Iowans to call home.

I look forward to a seamless transition as we continue work on our priorities. I look forward to passing a tax reform bill that reduces taxes on hard-working Iowans. I look forward to passing a Future Ready Iowa bill to ensure we have a workforce prepared for the 21st century. I look forward to passing a fiscally sound and balanced budget in the coming weeks. And, I am extremely excited to continue our goal of making Iowa the most job-friendly state in the nation.

As a former football player – I often heard it is much easier to get to the top than to stay there. I challenge this body to continue to make the tough choices necessary to stay at Number 1!

Thank you again for the confidence to lead, and I look forward to working with each and every one of you to ensure Iowa remains a model for 49 other states to follow!

Remarks from Senate President Charles Schneider

Today, following his oath of office, Senate President Charles Schneider offered the remarks below, as prepared for delivery.

Fellow Senators,

I am honored and humbled to preside over this fine deliberative body. The Iowa Senate is the embodiment of the ideals of our founding and the principle of a representative, federal republic exists within these walls.

I’ve proudly served the 22nd district for the last six years. Now, it is an absolute honor to not just be able serve my district, but all of you who represent the entirety of the state of Iowa. I am humbled that my colleagues have entrusted me to step into the crucial position of President of the Senate and I look forward to rising to the expectations placed upon me.

We each stand here today because our constituents have trusted us to be their voice in this chamber. Although members of this chamber have transitioned to new stations of leadership, the core of our leadership stays the same. We are here to lead on behalf of our constituents. The citizens of Iowa sent us here to make good on the promises we made to them during our elections and we have listened to them. Our agenda relies on our constituent’s commitment and support and because of this support we have been able to pass the legislation they expect.

Colleagues, our task here is simple: we must maintain the agenda we promised for our constituents. We will continue to pass legislation that helps instead of hinders. We will pass legislation that finds growth and opportunity in places where it was lacking before and we will pass legislation that sets the frame-work not only for this legislative body, but for the future generation of Iowans who will replace us. We need to remember that the history we make in this chamber does not just affect us in the moment, but will have resonating impact for generations to come.

Iowa Working Families Tax Relief Act

Iowa Working Families Tax Relief Act is a bold initiative that will enact the largest tax cut in Iowa history. This plan completely rewrites Iowa’s complex tax code. Over the years Iowa’s tax code has become a collection of tax deductions, exemptions, and credits standing in the way of economic growth, job creation and Iowa family priorities. Senate File 2383 sets competitive tax rates that will drive Iowa’s economic growth initiatives, making Iowa known as one of the most tax friendly states in the nation.

Continue reading Iowa Working Families Tax Relief Act

Senator Dix’s Opening Remarks 2018

**Senator Dix’s opening remarks as prepared**

For years, Senate Republicans had been calling for change in the Iowa Senate, and for legislation and reforms to improve career opportunities for Iowans and create an environment for stronger economic growth.

The people of Iowa responded, and we were given the chance to lead, a chance to show our citizens we are more than just talking the talk. We’re here to walk the walk. Or, as many of you remember, we’re here to kick the door in.

And we kept our promises.

One year ago, we started our journey. We passed legislation on the Second Amendment and voter ID, a joint resolution to let the citizens of Iowa vote on putting a 99 percent expenditure limit amendment in the state’s constitution, changes to reward our state’s best teachers, and give our school districts more control and flexibility. We passed legislation reducing the regulatory burden on Iowa’s job creators and eliminated hurdles to growth for other industries, improving career opportunities for every Iowan while ensuring our state remains a beacon of enterprise and ingenuity.

Here we are today, ready to write chapter two.

Our state is full of motivated, ambitious and hard-working individuals – everyday Iowans who get up before the sun rises and go to bed long after the sun goes down. They are single parents who work multiple jobs to make ends meet and still find the time to help their kids with homework. They are students who work hard to learn a trade so they can find a stable career, start a family, buy a house, and join Iowa’s healthy and growing middle class.  They are aspiring small business-owners who are working to turn a hobby into something a little bigger.

Our goal is simple. We want our local businesses – our coffee shops, tire stores, and family diners – to grow and prosper, our communities to grow and thrive, and our children to grow up prepared to tackle the world. We want to relieve the tax burden on the people who make our state what it is, and ensure that every Iowan has the opportunity to thrive here at home.

The objective has always been the same – for more money to be kept by those who earned it.

Tax relief is about emboldening our middle class and encouraging our citizens to invest in themselves, their local businesses, and our state. It is about giving Iowans a little more cushion in their family budget, a little extra to put towards their student loans, or a little more towards that big family vacation. It is about growth and opportunity.

As I’ve stated before, our priorities are no different than they have been in the past. We were sent here to do a job – we were elected to balance the state’s budget, foster an environment of job growth and prosperity, and enact policies that will allow teachers to give our children the education they deserve.

But growth and opportunity don’t just apply to our state’s families. We are also giving our schools and school districts the tools and control to adapt, to innovate, and to spend taxpayer dollars doing what’s right for the students in their community.

While we will again tackle a difficult budget, we will keep our promises to create a better environment for job growth in our state, provide our children with an education that ensures competitiveness both at home and abroad, and ensure everyday, hard-working Iowans get to keep more money in their pocket.

In 2017 our agenda was big and bold. In 2018, Senate Republicans will move an agenda that will again be big and bold because this state deserves big and bold. The changes we make will move our state forward in a positive direction, felt for many generations to come.

The success of our time here should not be measured in how many dollars were spent, or how many dollars saved. Success is determined by how many opportunities that can be created, businesses that can start, and families that stay here in Iowa and continue to call it home for generations to come.

Let’s make it happen!

Senate President Jack Whitver’s Opening Remarks 2018

**Senate President Jack Whitver’s opening remarks as prepared**

Good morning! Majority Leader Dix, Minority Leader Petersen, Senators, staff, family and friends welcome to the Iowa Senate as we begin the 2018 Legislative Session of the 87th General Assembly. Colleagues, thank you again for the honor to serve as president of the Iowa Senate!

The first day of the legislative session is one of my favorites as a legislator. Optimism runs high, and there are smiles and laughter heard throughout the Chamber as we reconnect with friends and colleagues.

More importantly, 50 senators unite in this Chamber with promising new ideas on how we will shape the future of Iowa. I have never been more optimistic about what lies ahead for our state. People around the country are taking notice of Iowa.

In just the last year, Iowa has been recognized for our great job climate – being named the BEST state in the country for the middle class. Our schools have also been recognized as we were named the #1 state in America in high school graduation rates and #4 in increased education funding. Our state has been recognized as the 3rd best managed state in America. There are so many reasons to be excited about the future. I have no doubt that our best days lie ahead of us!

As we embark on the 2018 session, I look forward to building on what many have said was the most historic session this body has ever seen. I am proud this legislature has maintained a great vision for the future, working on issues which will have a profound impact on our state for years to come.

One of my personal highlights last year was bringing my children to spend a day at the Capitol.

They joined us in the pledge of allegiance, watched debate, and enjoyed meeting many of you. I know they had a blast as they often ask when they can come back to visit this session.

However, as much fun as they had and the lessons they took away from the Capitol, it pales in comparison to what I gained from it. When things get hectic at the Capitol, big picture thinking can become blurred.

It is imperative we do not lose sight of why we are here.

My children remind me why I serve; and, I am guessing it is the same reason all of you serve.

We inherited a great state from our parents. It is our job to ensure our kids and our grandkids inherit an even better state from us. We must work diligently on behalf of the next generation so they have opportunities and experiences even greater than our own.

We want all Iowans to live in safe communities. Each one of us strives for Iowa children to receive a world class education and prepare them for work in a global economy. We want our young adults to stay in Iowa – not only for our great career opportunities, but for our outstanding quality of life. And just as important, we want our retirees to stay in Iowa to be close to their families and remain active members in their communities.

While my optimism for our future is great, the challenges of today still exist.

We need to work together to ensure Iowans have access to affordable healthcare, enhance our mental health system, improve our water quality, develop a skilled workforce and continue to revitalize rural Iowa.

In order to accomplish these goals and fund any initiatives, we must always continue to strive for growth in the state of Iowa. This requires more than reducing regulations or adjusting the language in the Iowa Code. It is being open-minded to bold ideas; and having the courage to lead to make that vision a reality.

Two courageous leaders of this nation earned the respect of their fellow Americans during their presidency – John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. Both were visionaries, who shared a common belief that growth resulted from reducing taxes.

I share this belief and challenge the body to act bold in passing tax reform in the state of Iowa for the first time in over 20 years!

The question we must ask ourselves is do we want to succeed and remain in the top run states in the nation, or be complacent and let down the three million Iowans who are looking to us to lead?

We have a choice on which path we forge: One that moves us forward and focuses on economic growth and security for our future generations, or the other which takes us a step backward – slowing economic prosperity and progress.

Progress to me is measurable: low unemployment rates, job creation, revenue growth, more disposable income and lower tax rates. I am confident we all want to see this kind of progress for Iowa, and this can be achieved if we have the courage to act boldly.

Allowing people to keep more of their hard-earned money is not a new idea. JFK discussed this decades before I was even born. He said, “It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now … Cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus.”

Reagan spent his two terms in the White House also fighting to ease the tax burden on hard-working Americans. “Death and taxes may be inevitable,” Reagan said, “but unjust taxes are not.”

Like Kennedy and Reagan, let us choose a path of growth and prosperity. Let’s continue to look beyond the next election, and look to the next generation as we ensure the 2018 session is even more historic than 2017.

Thank you and welcome back.

Senator Dix: Preparing for 2018

It is just over a month away from the start of the 2018 legislative session. During these last couple months, I have been spending a lot of time working on the farm, listening to ideas from friends and neighbors, and getting feedback on the last legislative session.

The 2018 session will be the second session of the 87th General Assembly. In the first, we accomplished a number of the goals we promised you in the election – the very reason you elected us to the majority in the first place.  These achievements included huge legislation on the Second Amendment and voter ID, a joint resolution to let the citizens of Iowa vote on putting a 99 percent expenditure limit amendment to the Iowa Constitution, and collective bargaining reform to reward the best teachers our state has to offer. In an effort to improve career opportunities for Iowans, we passed legislation reducing the regulatory burden on Iowa’s job creators and eliminated hurdles to growth for other industries.

We have only just started to see the rewards these changes have made for our state. While we will again tackle a difficult budget, I know we will continue keeping our promises to you to create a better environment for job growth in our state, give our kids the education they deserve, and ensure everyday, hard-working Iowans get to keep more money in their pocket.

Let’s make it happen!

Senator Dix: Giving Thanks

Tomorrow, families all over the country will be getting together for their Thanksgiving festivities, myself included.

This holiday is a great time to reflect on the year – the ups and downs, the good times and the bad. I am thankful for each and every one of these moments.  The good moments make us appreciate the hard work we put into our livelihoods each day, while the bad make us grateful for the good times a little more.

I am thankful for my constituents and the people who elected me to office. Without you, we would not have been able to accomplish the number of things we passed this last legislative session. I assure you, it was only the first chapter in our plan to move Iowa forward in a better direction.

None of this is possible without the support of those closest to me. I am thankful for my family and the time we get to spend together. As the kids get older, I start to appreciate the times we are together more and more.  Without them, their understanding and encouragement, I wouldn’t be able to go to the Capitol each year to work for each and every constituent.

Please take a few moments this holiday to share with family and friends the many things for which you are thankful. From my family to yours, have a happy Thanksgiving.

Senator Dix: Honoring Veterans on Veterans Day

It is difficult to find words to adequately honor the sacrifice of the veterans who have served our country. From the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror, Americans have sent their best and brightest to risk their lives and make the ultimate sacrifice so we can live in peace and prosperity. Their sacrifice protects the basic principles of our republic: we are endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Those concepts were not new when Thomas Jefferson wrote them into the Declaration of Independence, but our nation was the first to put them fully into practice in a manner of self-governance and the rule of law. Those basic principles allowed for the protection of people and private property and for generations of Americans to reap the reward of investment and work. They moved our economy from one of horses and plows, to combines capable of harvesting an acre of crops in a small fraction of the time. They changed our lives from sweating or shivering to get water, to a home with heating, cooling, and running water. It allows us to pull a small computer out of our pocket and communicate with nearly anyone, anywhere on earth.

The exceptional nature of our country is lost if we are unable to protect ourselves. Threats to our values and way of life exist now and have existed since our nation was just a collection of British colonies.  The sacrifices of veterans protect our ability to say what we want, worship who we want, and call ourselves American citizens.

Our country is not perfect. It is not perfect now and it has not been throughout history. But I am confident when I say our nation is the greatest county on earth. Even with those shortcomings, we remain a beacon of freedom to people all around the world who desire those same basic principles. Our soldiers have fought and died in other counties to protect the innocent and free people from tyranny. These truths make America unique in its role as leader and defender of freedom.

It is the men and women in our Armed Services who ensure those principles endure, so it is only fitting they receive recognition for their service. I hope you will join me this weekend in thanking those men and women keeping our country safe.