Bob Vander Plaats, a Republican candidate for governor, says he’ll work to simplify Iowa’s income taxes if he’s elected. “We have too complicated and too complex (an) income tax system,” Vander Plaats says. Vander Plaats says it would be close to a “flat tax” on your income of about five percent. “If you make a hundred dollars, you pay $5. If you make $1000 you pay $50. If you make $100,000, you pay $5000,” Vander Plaats says. “People need to know what is their state income tax…instead of playing games with the complications in the tax system.” Iowans currently have a number of deductions, including a deduction that gives Iowans a credit for the federal taxes they pay. Critics say that makes Iowa’s income tax rates look artificially high, and the past two governors — Republican Terry Branstad and current Governor Tom Vilsack, a Democrat — have both sought to get rid of that complication, but Republican legislators have refused. Two years ago, Vilsack tried but failed to negotiate with the Republican-led legislature to come up with a simpler tax system. Vander Plaats says he’d try again, and he’s examining the options — like keeping the deductions for charitable contributions and home ownership. “Those are things my economic development team are taking a look at right now,” Vander Plaats says. “Our concern with opening up that door is all the sudden you are right back at all the deductions, all the exemptions that have made Iowa’s income tax system so complicated.” Vander Plaats ran for governor in 2002 before losing in a Republican primary. He announced the past February that he was running again for the Republican party’s 2006 gubernatorial nomination.
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