Thoughts on Mid-Year Election Results

November 9, 2018 § 1 Comment

It’s nice to be back to normal again – I can watch television without wondering who is going to raise my taxes, cut Social Security benefits or do any number of things to hamper my way of life.  Yes, the mid-year elections are over and we should have a couple months before the 2020 Presidential candidates start showing up in Iowa.  Enjoy the downtime, it won’t last long!

I thought I’d share some thoughts on the election results and where things may go from here.

Locally, Governor Reynolds defeated Fred Hubbell in the Governor’s race and the Republican party maintained its control of the Iowa legislature, giving up some seats in the house and increasing their majority in the Senate.  In May of 2018 – the Iowa legislature passed a fairly significant tax bill that will impact tax filings for the next few years.  The politicians will tell you that Iowa’s tax bill is the greatest thing since sliced bread.  From my CPA viewpoint, the legislation is a bit of a mess, with multiple provisions treated differently at the State level than at the Federal level, causing confusion for small-business owners and taxpayers and headaches for tax preparers.  While I’d like to hope that they will revisit the legislation in the next session, I don’t think that will happen.  Beyond that, I’m not sure on the other issues they may take up in 2019.  

A couple of other items that I found interesting with Iowa’s election results.  For the first time in more than 40 years, Iowa will have a non-CPA leading the State Auditor’s office.  Essentially, the State Auditor’s office is a CPA firm, conducting audits of municipalities across the state, so it will be interesting having someone without auditing experience in charge of that office.  

Another interesting take away from the election was Governor Reynolds defeating Fred Hubbell at the same time as the Democratic party nearly sweeping the Iowa Congressional House elections.  Governor Reynolds won by a vote of 663,000 to 623,000 while the Republican congressional candidates were defeated by a total vote of 608,000 to 657,000.  It is encouraging to see that to some extent, people were voting more for an individual and less for a particular party.  

Gridlock – I think that is what we will see on the federal level for at least the next couple of years with the Democrats seizing control of the House and the Republicans maintaining control of the Senate and Trump at the controls in the White House.  The Tax Reform package that was passed in December of 2017 should be safe until the 2020 election cycle comes around and it would be difficult to see any significant legislative actions with a split Congress.  It will likely be a quiet next couple of years, which may not be a bad thing.  

My final thought is in regard to the campaigns themselves.  I wish both parties would stick to the issues, rather than continue to rely on finger pointing, fear mongering and negativity to earn a vote.  Wishful thinking – I know! But I am hopeful.  

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Brian Newton, CPA, Partner

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