McKean talks 2020 legislative session with supervisors

Board of Supervisors
By: 
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

Rep. Andy McKean met with the Jones County Supervisors prior to their Jan. 7 board meeting. McKean hit on a wide variety of topics and issues likely to come up during the 2000 Iowa Legislative Session. 

“There are a few things I’m involved in that could impact Jones County,” McKean prefaced. 

In terms of Jones County citizens subsidizing the influx of Linn County (and other county) residents who visit the Jones County Treasurer’s Office, McKean said he is mindful of the issue. 

McKean praised Jones County Tourism Director Bob Hatcher for his loyalty to Jones County. 

“He does a very good job,” he said. “He puts a good face on Jones County.” 

McKean said he knows both Hatcher and Conservation Director Brad Mormann want the legislature to finally pass the IWLL (Iowa’s Water & Land Legacy) bill. 

“There is additional funding for recreation and conservation,” said McKean. 

The majority of Iowa’s voters approved the three-eights of a cent tax for recreational projects. 

“Iowa’s voters supported it, but the legislature has yet to act on it,” admitted McKean. 

As an alternative, McKean said he could see adding a penny onto state sales tax, with not only Iowans paying the one-cent increase, but visitors to the state as well. Recreation isn’t something that is used by just Iowans. 

Then the additional five-eights would help offset the state’s mental health funding needs. 

“This would take it off the backs of the property taxpayers,” explained McKean of the funding for mental health. 

He said both caucuses are looking into the concept; however, McKean said any time a tax increase is mentioned, “people get jittery” about it. 

“It’ll only happen if both parties are willing to put their heads together and are willing to proceed,” said McKean. 

When asked if Farm Bureau is in support, McKean said yes, but the organization wants to see a funding formula. 

“The mental health lobby would be for it,” he added of the additional funding idea. 

McKean has also been an advocate for rural Iowa and economic development. He said this will be the first time a fair portion of the state’s economic development funds will be made available to smaller communities. 

“There will be a pot reserved for small communities so they get their fair percentage,” he said. “I’m delighted to see small communities participate in programs to get their fair extent.” 

One negative for economic development is lack of childcare. McKean said the state is looking at two different approaches. One would consist of providing employers with incentives to provide childcare as part of their business. Another would be to seriously look at the regulations (red tape) hindering the start-up of childcare facilities. 

“Some regulations are needed,” he said. “There are also unnecessary regulations standing in the way.” 

With the privatization of Medicaid, McKean admitted it’s a definite problem. “It’s the worst mistake the state has made in a long time,” he said. 

“It was not a legislative issue; it was a unilateral issue by the governor at the time,” he continued. “And the legislature is left to deal with it.” 

McKean said it leaves vulnerable citizens from getting the services they need in a timely fashion. 

“I don’t see that we’ve made much progress in solving the problem or saving money when we were told it would save money.” 

The discussion, McKean said, concerning private Medicaid is proceeding. 

McKean plans to introduce a bill this session that would no longer require county elected officials to be affiliated with a political party (non-partisan). 

“The average person in Jones County could care less about whether the county treasurer was a Democrat or Republican,” he said. “We just want them to do a good job.” As a former Jones County supervisor, McKean said he never saw party when serving locally. 

With that said, McKean did say that both parties are against the non-partisan idea. “They’re interested in seeing partisan continue.” 

Another rural issue McKean has some talk about is not only small school districts sharing a superintendent, but rural counties sharing a county engineer. 

“I heard Jackson County is looking hard at sharing a county engineer,” said McKean. 

State law does allow for such a thing so long as the counties are adjoining. 

“This may be something the county could take a look at to keep expenses under control,” he added. 

Category:

Subscriber Login