Statehouse gridlock keeps Iowa taxpayers in the dark

Tod Bowman
Iowa State Senator, 29th Dist.

     The Iowa Senate’s electronic board says it is Thursday, May 3. We are adjourned until Friday at noon. I am disappointed to say that I still do not have a tax bill to read, evaluate and share with my constituents so that I can get your input.

     In addition, Senate Republicans have announced they plan to debate the tax bill on Saturday. This rushed process will not allow any opportunity for me to get your feedback and learn how it might affect different professions and individual taxpayers. This is not how representative democracy is designed to work, and it contradicts past practice in the Iowa Senate.

     I did receive a two-page summary of what might be in the tax bill, but what I really need is an analysis that helps me determine how fiscally responsible the proposal is, especially since we are constitutionally bound to balance the state budget.

     The proposal will not eliminate federal deductibility right away. Iowa is one of only a few states that allow you to deduct your federal taxes from your state tax bill. I want to make sure this bill doesn’t inadvertently raise your taxes.

     The bill summary provided by the Senate Republicans suggests the bill includes a corporate tax decrease, individual income tax decrease, new items subject to sales tax (e.g., Netflix and other digital services), K-12 educational expenses in the Iowa College Savings program, and higher Section 179 limits for coupling to match federal tax law.

     This is all I know at the moment. I promise you I will read, study, evaluate and listen to as many people as possible in the short window I will have between receiving the bill and being required to vote on it.

     In other business, the Senate approved an Education budget bill Wednesday night. It decreases funding to our universities and community colleges, which will make higher education more expensive and less affordable for working Iowa families. Student debt will go up, and schools will have to raise tuition and cut services that help students succeed. At a time when Iowa needs a lot more skilled workers, I’m afraid that our lack of commitment to higher education will push more bright young Iowans to leave our state.             



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