Legislators visit in preparation for 2014 session
Iowa District 4 State Senator Dennis Guth and Iowa District 7 State Representative Tedd Gassman visited Estherville on Thursday to talk with constituents about the upcoming legislative session.
The meeting took place at the Estherville Chamber of Commerce meeting room.
One of the issues the representatives see coming before the Iowa Legislature in 2014 is the gas tax.
One recommendation is to raise the gas tax 10 cents per gallon in order to improve the state’s roads and bridges.
Gassman said he would not be in favor of that big of raise, but he said he would vote for a nickel raise over a two-year period-perhaps a 2-cent raise one year and a 3-cent raise the next year.
Guth said what he likes about the gas tax is it’s a progressive tax-those that use it the most pay for it.
“It’s also a constitutionally-protected fund,” he said. “It has to go for roads and bridges.”
However, he said he doesn’t think it’s responsible to raise the fuel tax while the state has surplus funds. While he isn’t saying he would never vote for it, he says that the state needs to make roads a higher priority in the budget rather than some of the “flashier” projects.
Gassman said education is another important issue at the state level. He has researched the Common Core curriculum, which has come up at the state level.
“I think the state is headed in the wrong direction,” he said. “That’s one of my priorities.”
Gassman said he has researched several articles on Common Core.
Meanwhile Guth said one of his other concerns is having a convention of states.
“It’s time that the people have better input into the federal government,” he said. “The system is not working.”
Between voting themselves raises and the pork barrel system, Guth said it’s time for politicians to start listening to the people.
Guth said 34 states must pass the same resolution for a convention of states to occur.
Term limits is one item proposed often. Guth said 38-40 states have term limits.
The 2014 Iowa Legislature session begins Jan. 13. Guth and Gassman will return to Estherville to meet with constituents again on Saturday, March 1.