A greater portion of the penny sales tax you pay to support your local school district may soon be shared with other districts. An Iowa House committee has voted to replace the local option sales taxes in Iowa’s 99 counties with a one-cent statewide sales tax, with the ultimate goal of distributing the money for school construction and renovation on a per-pupil basis.
Iowa Association of School Boards spokeswoman Margaret Buckton says it’s a matter of fairness for rural districts that have few retail businesses in their county. "As a taxpayer, you’re going to spend your money in the urban center and you’re paying the tax either way," Buckton says. "What this gets is some true equity so it doesn’t matter where you live or where you shop, every student will have the backing of enough money to have a quality facility."
But the group "Iowans for Tax Relief" opposes the change. The group argued local voters would no longer have to re-approve the one-cent sales tax on a regular basis. That extra penny of sales tax on every one-dollar’s worth of good sold would instead be permanent.
The bill still must pass the House and Senate, and be signed by the governor, before it becomes law. Voters in all of Iowa’s 99 counties have approved a one-cent local option sales tax, with the proceeds going to school construction and renovation.