I had the opportunity to participate in subcommittees electronically because I was unable to be at the Capitol this week.

It’s a great option for us. This technology is a wonderful tool and allows for flexibility and planning options never before tested before the recent pandemic. I will use technology as needed, but will not rely on it for meetings except when there is no other option. Meetings in person are the best for me.

February is American Heart Month. This is the 58th year that America has celebrated, which coincides with my age. It is important that we pay attention to the leading cause of death in the country, which is heart disease.

Understanding, preventing and treating heart disease is at the top of my list. Heart disease affects many of us. Working with your health care provider is essential and staying on top of the situation will lead to better outcomes. Over the years of personal experience, I continue to learn and practice better habits.

As healthy as I feel, I’m still making changes and monitoring my heart health. Treatments for heart disease include medications, procedures, and most importantly, a personal commitment to our health. Over the past year I have dieted and reduced my weight and continue to exercise weekly. For me, it comes down to watching what I eat and walking daily.

Even our best doctors can’t help us if we don’t help ourselves. I have a personal interest in this issue and want to publicly thank and express my gratitude to my health care team for keeping me on track and healthy. To learn more, visit www.heart.org.

Discussions on tax reform continue. We passed historic income tax relief in 2018 as the first step to getting to where we are currently financially positioned to do more to reduce Iowa’s high tax rates. Tax reform legislation has been enacted at local and state levels. Senate Republicans again intend to pursue tax reforms for Iowans and elevate Iowa to be competitive with surrounding states and simplify a complicated tax code.

Over the next few years, Senate File 2206 lowers the personal income tax rate to 3.6% for all taxpayers, implementing a flat tax for Iowans. This change alone will take us from one of the states with the highest tax rates to the fourth lowest tax rate in the country. The bill also completely restructures the Taxpayer Relief Fund and transforms it into the Income Tax Elimination Fund. This will continue to lower income taxes and work towards eliminating income tax in Iowa.

The bill also begins to unravel a complicated tax code that Iowa currently has. Tax credits will start to disappear. These were only needed in the first place to offset Iowa’s high tax rates. The real solution is much simpler than a complicated system of credits and exemptions. It lowers the rate. Our tax proposal lowers the corporate tax rate and eliminates $141 million in tax exemptions and credits.

Finally, the bill simplifies a complicated sales tax system and streamlines more than a thousand jurisdictions into a unified sales tax rate. This means that local option sales tax will be rolled into a unified sales tax rate and will still ensure that the penny goes back to cities and counties. As a result of this change, the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust would be funded. This proposal is a responsible approach to funding a priority for many Iowans.

Senate Republicans again intend to offer historic income tax relief to Iowans. We believe our proposal will deliver on the promise of ensuring that the people of Iowa keep more of what they’ve earned and take another step toward becoming the best state in the nation to live, work, and raise a family.

State Senator Craig Johnson is an Independence Republican who represents Senate District 32, which includes all of Bremer County and parts of Black Hawk, Buchanan, and Fayette counties. He can be reached at 319-334-2413 or [email protected].