Common Good Iowa

2023 legislative agenda

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Here is what lawmakers should do to make Iowa a welcoming, inclusive state that promotes opportunity for every Iowan.

Create an equitable tax system that asks the wealthiest Iowans and profitable corporations to pay their fair share and funds the services every Iowa family and worker needs to thrive

Protect revenue sources

  • Make no new cuts in income tax rates and set no new revenue limits that squeeze state services like health care and education. 

Retain local property tax authority

  • Force no local property tax changes that limit cities’ and counties’ ability to assure essential services, including public safety, parks, libraries and infrastructure.

Honor voters’ intent in any sales tax increase

  • If lawmakers increase the sales tax, implement the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund for the uses voters authorized and direct any additional increase to offset impacts harming low- and middle-income Iowans.

Demand transparency about budget impacts

  • Expect legislators to identify potential service cuts for any tax cuts they propose.

Strengthen Iowa’s workforce so everyone has the opportunity to earn a living wage in safe, respectful conditions

Fight wage theft

  • Hire more wage theft investigators. Iowa has just two wage violation investigators to protect more than 1.4 million workers. 

  • Increase penalties for wage theft and require fines, especially for repeat offenders. 

Boost wages

  • Phase in a $15 minimum wage by 2025, like Illinois, or by 2026, like Nebraska.

  • Increase Child Care Assistance and Medicaid reimbursement rates paid to Iowa child-care and direct-care workers so they earn a living wage.

Expand quality, affordable child care and preschool so working parents can get to work and get ahead and every child can experience enriching early learning

Expand Child Care Assistance
Raise Iowa’s CCA entrance income eligibility level from 145% of poverty — among the nation’s lowest — to at least 185%, and eventually to 250% to match the state’s exit eligibility level.

Pay providers more 

  • Raise CCA reimbursement for registered or licensed providers to the federal standard, 75th percentile of current market rate (from the 50th). 

  • Contribute to a fairly paid, stable early-childhood workforce by supporting proven initiatives like WAGE$, a salary supplement, and T.E.A.C.H, a scholarship program. 

Expand Pre-K

  • Connect more children to Pre-K by expanding the state’s 4-Year-Old Preschool and Shared Visions programs and investing state dollars in Head Start and Early Head Start.

Expand key health services so every Iowan gets the care they need to go to work and school and contribute to their communities.

Protect children’s health insurance

  • Extend Medicaid continuous eligibility for children through age 5, following the lead of other states that are prioritizing children’s healthy development by ensuring kids stay covered.

Take concrete steps on maternal health

  • Extend Medicaid eligibility for pregnant people from 60-days to 12-months postpartum, an option already taken by 34 states, to assure continuity of care during a vulnerable time.

  • Include doulas as a covered Medicaid service. By offering support and acting as a liaison between a pregnant person and provider before, during and after childbirth, doulas can help improve health outcomes, especially for people of color, who often face barriers and discrimination in our health-care system.

  • Waive the five-year bar on Medicaid eligibility for lawfully residing pregnant people so they get the prenatal and postpartum care needed for a healthy birth and recovery.  

Keep building the children’s mental health system

  • Regularly collect and report data from regional mental health systems to assess implementation of the children’s behavioral health system and better meet children’s mental health needs.

Ensure support for Iowans in times of need so every Iowa family can weather a crisis and stabilize their household in tough times

Streamline help in times of need

  • Ensure Iowans can get needed food and health care by maintaining accessible application and reenrollment processes for programs like SNAP, Medicaid, CHIP and TANF — not putting up barriers like work-reporting requirements and redundant eligibility verification checks. 

Invest in SNAP

  • Put state dollars into Iowa’s Double Up Food Bucks program, which doubles the value of SNAP dollars spent on fresh fruits and vegetables. 

  • Expand gross income eligibility for SNAP to 200% of the federal poverty level, up from the current 160%, to better reflect the prevalence of food insecurity and what it really takes to meet basic needs on wages alone.

Recommit to strong public schools that set every Iowa student, no matter their race or ZIP code, up for success in life

Reinvest in public education

  • Establish an annual 4% minimum increase in school funding (SSA) for 10 years to rebuild our public schools.

Divert no more public dollars to private schools

  • Block private schools vouchers that would take public dollars away from our public schools, which, unlike their private counterparts, are accountable to voters and accept all students. 

  • Demand transparency on how private and charter schools use the public dollars they already receive.

Ensure students have food they need to succeed

  • Provide healthy school meals for all by investing in free breakfast and lunch programs at Iowa schools to address childhood nutrition, reduce administrative burden and improve outcomes.

Reverse the decline in college funding

  • Raise support for Regent universities and community colleges so they can lower tuition and fees, limit student loan debt and ensure college remains an option for every Iowan. 

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