The Iowa Senate has voted to keep a one cent sales tax on your utility bills — and use the money on alternative energy. Senator David Miller, a republican from Fairfield, says it’d be a wise investment in small, independent energy producers, like wind “farmers.”Miller says Iowa could become a leader in wind energy. Miller says he “hates taxes worse than anybody,” but Miller says he’s recognized that “for certain things you’ve got to have a pot of money.” The state has been phasing out the sales tax on electric and gas utility bills, but this bill would keep one penny in place, raising about 20 million dollars an alternative energy fund. Senator Michael Connolly, a democrat from Dubuque, was a bit steamed by the proposal. Connolly says he’s as much for alternative energy as any body. He says the state has cut taxes for insurance companies and rich people who have “oodles of money,” and this utility sales tax elimination was one tax he says helped people “on the bottom end.” Connolly says he’s “upset, to say the very least.” But Connolly and other democrats joined republicans to vote for the bill because if the bill didn’t pass, the state’s five percent sales tax on utility bills would have gone back into effect. The measure will next be considered by the House.
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