|Eggs and Issues for January 26, 2013|
|Saturday, 26 January 2013 10:06|
With two weeks under their belt, state legislators at this morning’s Eggs and Issues forum said it’s still too early to paint a clear picture of what’s to come. Today’s topics focused on infrastructure funding, education reform, and economic development.
Republican House Representatives Guy Vander Linden, Larry Sheets, and Republican Senator Ken Rozenboom were in attendance.
Oskaloosa City Mayor Dave Krutzfeldt spoke from the audience in regards to what direction the gas tax discussion is going. In light of recent concerns about severe cuts to highway funding projected at the federal level, Krutzfeldt specifically asked how this would affect the local Highway 63 project.
Guy Vander Linden responded that there is no way the state could pay for Highway 63 upgrades without federal support. He expects the gas tax will be fully debated again this year, and does not support raising the state or federal gas tax. Vander Linden said it’s a matter of setting priorities -- infrastructure funding can be increased by cutting other parts of the budget.
Oskaloosa Schools Superintendent Russ Reiter asked the legislators for their thoughts on what education reform looks like -- what should get passed, what might get passed, and what doesn’t have a chance. Vander Linden and Rozenboom both replied that it’s still too early to say what will come out of the education committees and subcommittees at this point.
Oskaloosa City Manager Michael Schrock spoke asked if there is a way to direct surplus funds in the state budget toward making Iowa more attractive to new businesses. He said he’s not opposed to returning the money to taxpayers, but that it could also be used to help area businesses expand and create more jobs.
Vander Linden replied that it's a reasonable way to go, and he would take the idea into consideration.
Sheets expressed his support for tax credits and decreasing the corporate income tax rate to help the state's business climate, versus giving direct cash incentives.
Full video of today’s forum is available below. Replays will also be aired throughout the week on MCG Channel 12.