SNAP bill would make it harder for families to put food on the table

A Senate subcommittee this week approved a bill — wildly unpopular except among mostly out-of-state interests pushing a radical austerity agenda — that would increase hunger in our state by making it harder for eligible Iowans to apply for and receive SNAP.

SSB 1105 would:

  • Implement asset testing that penalizes Iowa households for having meager savings or more than one vehicle.
  • Institute redundant eligibility verification requirements that would snare people who are eligible but struggle to manage required paperwork.
  • Require custodial parents to cooperate with child support enforcement to get food assistance — a move that risks family safety and well-being — despite evidence from other states it would do very little to increase the support families receive.

Nearly 70% of Iowa SNAP participants live in families with children: there’s simply no way to make any of SNAP cuts proposed in this bill without harming children. And SNAP benefits don’t impact the state budget — they're 100% federal — and state administrative costs, split with the federal government, have been stable over time.

We'll keep working with our fellow Iowans to keep it from becoming law.


Iowa research giveaway sets record

A new Department of Revenue report released this week shows that in 2022 the state gave away over $40 million in subsidies to companies through the state's most generous business tax credit, the Research Activities Credit (RAC). The biggest beneficiary of the was Deere & Co., which posted the largest amount of claims — $14.5 million — by any single company for one year since annual reporting on the RAC began in 2009.

The credit is “refundable,” so companies receive a check from the state for any amount of their credits not needed to pay income tax. In 2022, the RAC program showed 40 percent of the $40.4 million cost went out as so-called “refunds.” Of the 18 largest claimants, at least six are ethanol companies and two are hog operations. 

This week’s report was required by a 2009 law to increase transparency of the program. A special tax-credit review panel in 2010 urged an end to RAC refunds for large companies, and a December 2021 report by the Department of Revenue found that the research activities tax credit has “a weak — if any — effect on research inputs and outputs.”


Employers risk little by stealing employee wages 

Wage theft is illegal in Iowa, but Iowa leaders prefer to be soft on this crime. In an update to Common Good Iowa's 2022 wage theft report, new CGI analysis, confirmed by Iowa Workforce Development, shows that since 2017, the state has received more than 2,400 wage theft claims, but charged ZERO DOLLARS in civil penalties against offending employers.

The worst that happens to an employer who steals wages from employees is having to pay back what they stolen. That’s not even a slap on the wrist. By comparison, a worker who steals from their employer faces criminal penalties, including fines and jail time.

The message to Iowa employers is clear: Cheat your workers all you like — the state won’t stop you. Gov. Reynolds has the power to direct Iowa Workforce Development to charge offenders and defend all workers being cheated. She should do so without delay.


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