Two powerful Iowa interest groups that tend to back candidates of one party over the other are both winners in the state budget deal reached Thursday night at the capitol. Iowans for Tax Relief has been pushing for the past five years to get lawmakers to erase state taxes on Social Security benefits and pension income.
Jeff Boeyink, the group’s executive vice president, says they’re thrilled with the deal. It gradually gets rid of state taxes on Social Security over the next eight years and allows the elderly to get a greater share of pension income tax-free. “We went into the session with the elimination of pension and Social Security taxes as our number one priority as an organization,” Boeyink says. “We knew it had some bipartisan support but it faced a lot of uphill battle…We will consider it a victory.”
The organization’s home office is in Muscatine and that has colored their view on this issue. “We live right across the border from a state that doesn’t tax pensions and Social Security,” Boeyink says, referring to Illinois. “We thought it had real world impact in terms of people’s locational decisions and decided this was something we needed to work on.”
While Iowans for Tax Relief, an organization with a political action committee that tends to back Republican candidates over Democrats, is hailing the deal, so is the Iowa State Education Association, which has a PAC of its own that tends to support Democrats.
“We’re grateful that they did the work that Iowans were asking for, to raise teacher salaries,” says Linda Nelson, president of the state teacher’s union. The deal calls for 210-million dollars in additional state spending to raise teacher pay over the next three years.
Bills to be passed next week will set aside 35 million dollars for the coming academic year; another 70 million the next and 105 million in the third year.