September kicks off with Labor Day, a time to celebrate the achievements of working families as the foundation of a strong economy.
Here in Iowa, we're always looking for ways to make our state the best possible place for hard-working families. Successful initiatives to strengthen Iowa's middle class over the last couple of years include:
Property tax relief: Iowans will save more than $4 billion over the next 10 years because of changes we made in 2013. We reduced all commercial property taxes, with small local businesses-which employ the largest number of Iowans-getting the biggest break. Plus, Iowa homeowners and farmers will save more than $1.1 billion over the next 10 years because we limited the statewide valuation increase of their property.
Income tax breaks: A major increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit will help those who pay the highest share of their income in state and local taxes and move working families out of poverty. In addition, a $90 million tax cut will benefit all Iowans who have a state income tax liability this year.
Help for working families: We're keeping childcare affordable for working families by boosting our state's child and dependent care tax credit, and expanding childcare assistance to more parents who work part time while going to school or getting job training.
These steps are helping millions of working Iowans build a better life for themselves and their families, but there is more we can do. For example, the problem of wage theft is reaching epidemic proportions in Iowa and across the country.
Iowa workers are being cheated out of as much as $600 million a year in hard-earned wages because of exploitation by a few bad employers. Senate Democrats have introduced legislation several times over the past few years to establish better safeguards that ensure Iowans get paid and allow investigators to more easily go after businesses that fail to pay what they owe.