District 47 Representative Phil Thompson. Photo courtesy of Iowa House Republicans
More work continues from Iowa lawmakers when it comes to the issue of Emergency Medical Services.
District 47 Representative Phil Thompson of Jefferson says a bill is in the house state government committee, which he vice-chairs. Thompson wants to make sure there is additional funding going to EMS because some areas are drastically underfunded and response time is critical for that service when it’s needed. He says last year they set up a funding mechanism with sports-betting that some revenues go directly to fund EMS.
Thompson says there is currently $330,000 from the state budget allocated to all 99 counties for EMS funding. He adds, with sports-betting projections, that total will increase to $2.5 million. The goal is to have $5-$10 million. Thompson explains, part of the bill is allowing counties to declare EMS an essential service, which could trigger additional funding routes.
“With that, a couple of different avenues (of funding), either an income surtax or a property tax levy to help them get to the level they need to be while being supplemented by our state dollars.”
Thompson is confident the bill will get through his committee and that it will survive the first funnel week. The funnel is when any bills that are not through at least one committee in either the House or Senate it is effectively dead for the rest of the legislative session.