Democrats decry 'fast-track' of Iowa Senate Republican tax plan

'I hope we don't do a D.C.-style tax bill here in the Iowa Senate'

People walk through the State Capitol Building in Des Moines on Tuesday, January 14, 2014. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette-KCRG TV9)
People walk through the State Capitol Building in Des Moines on Tuesday, January 14, 2014. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette-KCRG TV9)

DES MOINES — Democrats on the Senate Ways and Means Committee expressed concern Wednesday that majority Republicans were trying to “fast-track” a $1 billion tax cut and tax code rewrite without proper documentation of the legislation’s fiscal impact or adequate time for Iowans to weigh in on it.

“I hope we don’t do a D.C.-style tax bill here in the Iowa Senate,” said Sen. Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City, in noting that many members of Congress had not read the federal tax-cut legislation before it was approved and signed into law by President Donald Trump. “We have words but not numbers,” he noted.

The committee met less than seven hours after majority GOP senators unveiled a sweeping rewrite of the state tax code that would cut individual and corporate income tax rates more than $1 billion a year beginning in 2019, reduce the number of tax brackets and expand the sales tax base by capturing more online transactions.

We talked to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle today. Here's the view from each side:

Republicans say:

  • "Largest tax cut in the history of the state of Iowa" -- cutting overall individual income tax rate by 30 percent

  • Simplifies and reduces confusion by allowing for a more “taxpayer friendly” income tax form

  • Drops Iowa’s top corporate tax rate of 12 percent -- the highest in the country -- to 7 percent

  • Democrats say:

  • Agree with Republicans on eliminating federal deductibility

  • Question whether this would lead to budget cuts for education, public safety and human services

  • Point to "disastrous tax-cut plans" in Kansas and Oklahoma

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    Democrats on the committee requested a fiscal analysis by the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency. As it is, a subcommittee is slated to discuss Senate Study Bill 3179 at 8 a.m. Thursday and the full committee is slated to vote on the 130-page package six hours later.

    Sen. Randy Feenstra, R-Hull, chairman of the Senate’s tax-writing panel, said no fiscal support documents were available for review but told senators and others in attendance “we’re working on it” in hopes of having details of the estimated financial impact soon.

    Sen. Pam Jochum, D-Dubuque, committee ranking member, said she had hoped there would be multiple subcommittee meetings on a bill of this magnitude.

    Sen. Herman Quirmbach, D-Ames, called it irresponsible for Republicans to be moving a bill at such speed that “effectively will be signing the death warrant for public education” by taking $1 billion out of the state’s revenue stream.



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