The Legislature is considering several tax proposals this year. Last week, the Iowa Senate passed a $1 billion tax bill, Senate File 2383, and sent it to the House for consideration. The bill was introduced and passed the Senate in less than a week. The House held a meeting to discuss a different plan offered by the Governor.
House Democrats have developed three common sense principals that should be applied to all tax bills in the Legislature this year. The first is that the state must balance the budget. Considering the state’s current budget problems that include mid-year budget cuts, any new tax bill must not burden the state with more budget problems or debt. Republicans were forced to put $144 million on the state’s credit card last year because of budget mismanagement and the state cannot afford to borrow more money to pay for a new round of tax breaks.
Second, any tax plan must be fair and simple for all Iowans. Both of these bills favor the wealthy and special interests while providing very little actual relief for everyday Iowans. The Senate bill goes so far as to end several tax credits for regular Iowans, including the $100 tax credit for volunteer fire fighters and emergency responders.
Finally, any tax reform must provide relief to the middle class. These bills provide few incentives for working Iowans and, according to the nonpartisan fiscal analysis, the Senate proposal would actually increase taxes or provide no relief for one third of all Iowans. In addition, the hundreds of millions in lost revenue under these bills would lead to increased property taxes, higher tuition at state universities, and reduce services that many Iowans rely on.
These tax plans will remove hundreds of millions of dollars from the state budget each year. In other states, such as Kansas, this has led to cuts in services and reversing parts of the tax cuts. House Democrats have offered proposals to help reform the state’s corporate tax giveaways but none of the options have even been considered by Republicans.