A proposed statewide one cent sales tax for school construction will be debated in the Iowa House this week. Rural lawmakers are upset that 19 of the state’s larger counties have passed local option sales taxes to support schools, a tax rural folks pay when they shop in the big city but don’t get the benefits. The idea of collecting a one cent sales tax statewide and distributing the money to all schools probably won’t become law, though, according to Republican House Speaker Brent Siegrist of Council Bluffs says there’s not support to pass the issue this year.Siegrist says powerful lobbying groups like the Iowa State Education Association and unions are lined up against the idea. House Democrat Leader Dick Myers of Iowa City says raising taxes is a stupid idea.Myers says the proposal’s an “exercise in misdirection.”Myers says backers claim the proposal is both property tax relief and aid for schools, and he says it can’t do both. Siegrist and Myers made their comments on Iowa Public Television. The counties which have local option sales taxes for schools are Dickinson, Emmet, Winneshiek, Woodbury, Webster, Black Hawk, Monona, Shelby, Polk, Mahaska, Montgomery, Fremont, Page, Lee, Des Moines, Muscatine, Scott, Clinton and Jones. Other counties collect a local option sales tax, but use it for other purposes.
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