Representative of SD15 also wants to improve Second Amendment rights
By Christopher Braunschweig | Newton Daily News
January 04, 2022 at 11:15 am CST
Editor’s note: The following is the third of four articles detailing the points of interest and goals of local legislators representing Jasper County as they enter into the next legislative session. Iowa Legislature is currently scheduled to convene on Jan. 10, 2022.
By the time the Iowa Legislature convenes this month, State Sen. Zach Nunn, R-Bondurant, wants to place his priorities on eliminating the state income tax, reducing overreach from federal-level departments and agencies and further improving the Second Amendment rights of Iowans.
Representing Iowa Senate District 15, Nunn’s covers a large portion of Jasper County and eastern Polk County. The senator represents the Jasper County communities of Baxter, Colfax, Kellogg, Mingo, Newton, Prairie City and Valeria.
Looking back at the past legislative session, Nunn is most proud of “passing Iowa’s largest tax cut history,” the $100 million investment in broadband infrastructure and the reform and investment in the state’s mental health program. The tax cuts in particular have larger benefits, the senator suggested.
“Working Iowans and small businesses have always been historically successful here, and when we allow Iowans to keep more of their tax dollars in their community, they invest it back in their small business or their family or their home,” Nunn said, noting this outlook was the focus when passing the tax cuts.
The state had already been moving in this direction, he added, but this move sped it up and came at the right time when Iowa was trying to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Nunn said the cuts have put Iowa on a path to become the fastest state to economically recover from the pandemic.
Investing in broadband allowed the state to enter public-private partnerships to better accessibility to internet services, especially in rural communities. Nunn said if there is any silver lining to the pandemic it is the resiliency of Iowans to be able to work from home or work remotely while still keeping communities strong.
Nunn said the mental health program had a lot of success working with counties and the state. However, funding mental health was previously done using county property taxes, which Nunn said put a huge burden on those governments. This new program will phase out the property tax levy for mental health for two years.
“It creates a state fund that will pay for expenses across all of Iowas 14 mental health regions,” Nunn said, noting mental health assistance shouldn’t be based on the places individuals live. “… It’s going to help disperse resources that may have been locked up in certain regions, primarily ones with large hospitals.”
ELIMINATING STATE INCOME TAX
Nunn said 2022 is going to be a bold year for the legislature. With an almost $2 billion surplus and a state budget of about $8 billion, this tells Nunn that Iowans are paying too much in taxes across the board. He also noted the recovering economy is making citizens feel confident about spending and investing.
“And I would like to see more of that money going back to them to continue this boom,” Nunn said. “So my first order of business is to look at cutting the state income tax completely. Eliminating it. And I think we can do this wisely without raising taxes … Getting money back to Iowans makes a direct investment.”
And that money stays largely in the state and attracts new residents, new businesses and helps grow rural and local communities, Nunn added. The state has one of the highest income taxes in the region. So if action is made to cut the state income tax, Nunn claimed it could make Iowa more competitive.
REDUCING FEDERAL OVERREACH
Nunn wants to get rid of federal overreach, specifically “unlawful mandates” that are coming through the department of labor or other federal agencies. If the U.S. Congress wants to issue mandates to states, Nunn said it should come from that governing body and not federal agencies that wish to drive policy.
This could affect mask mandates and what Nunn described as COVID-19 mandates that require employers to start digging into employees’ health records; and from there requiring them to be fired if they do not meet an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard.
“We’ve also seen things like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) — not through Congress but through a department or agency — telling renters how long they can live in an apartment, telling landlords who can be in the rental property and when they have to leave,” Nunn said. “These are in conflict with Iowa law.”
IMPROVE SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS
Jasper County was the first state to declare itself a gun sanctuary, which prohibits the federal and state governments from ordering the sheriff’s office or other employees to enforce laws the board of supervisors believes infringe on the Second Amendment rights of its citizens and unincorporated territories.
Nunn said the protection of Iowan’s Constitutional rights is enshrined in the Bill of Rights. The Second Amendment is an important right because it “enables a citizenry to protect itself.” The senator said there has been a lot of talk from the current administration about passing executive orders against this right.
“For legal gun owners, I think Iowa needs to follow Jasper County’s lead in saying we are not going to deputize our law enforcement to enforce a federal restriction on the Second Amendment,” Nunn said, noting such action could be done through the Constitutional amendment presented to voters in November.
Another way would be a bill — which Nunn has led — to declare Iowa a gun sanctuary state.
Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or [email protected]