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NEWS 5.2.23: Iowa lawmakers pass "property tax relief" plan, South Dakota state employee benefits, crop report, and more


Iowa lawmakers voted nearly unanimously today to send a property tax relief bill to the governor’s desk. It restricts revenue growth for cities and counties, requiring some to lower their property tax rates depending on the community’s growth in taxable valuation. That’s meant to limit the impact of recent increases in Iowans’ property assessments.

The bill also provides an estimated $100 million dollars in property tax relief, with some of that targeted to veterans and older Iowans.

All House Democrats but one joined all Republicans in supporting the bill. Democrats say they preferred the House’s original proposal, but it’s a step forward in helping Iowans afford their property taxes.

South Dakota state employees will now have more time to spend at home, following the birth or adoption of a new child without having to worry about pay.

Paid family leave benefits for state employees were expanded Tuesday to 100% pay for up to 12 weeks, according to the Governor's Office.

Previously, paid leave for state employees was eight weeks with 60% of pay, according to South Dakota Searchlight.

A monthly Midwest economic report shows the economy grew warmer in April.

Creighton University Economist Ernie Goss tells Radio Iowa for the third straight month, the Midwest’s overall index climbed above growth neutral, which is 50 on a zero-to-100 scale. Goss says the region’s April numbers were particularly encouraging.

However, the survey found almost six in ten supply managers fear recession will strike later this year, while about half report having trouble finding qualified workers to fill open positions.

The Iowa legislature is poised to raise the pay for attorneys who represent indigent defendants by $5 an hour. The state budget plan GOP lawmakers in the House and Senate have agreed to — for the first time — provide $35 dollars an hour for travel time, as some attorneys drive hours driving around Iowa to court hearings.

Farmers spent a lot of time in the field last week and the percentage of soybeans planted more than tripled and corn wasn’t far behind.

The U.S.D.A. report says the percentage of beans planted went from 5 to 16% last week. Corn planting hit 29% — compared to ten percent the previous week. The planting of both of the state’s two key crops is now eleven days ahead of last year and one day ahead of the five-year average.

Radio Iowa reports the downside to the cool, dry weather is it is delaying the emergence of the seeds from the soil.

The Sioux City Farmers Market opens tomorrow for the season. The hours are from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. for the market located near the Tyson Events Center.