A tax plan that would significantly alter Iowa’s income tax system may be debated Tuesday in the Iowa House.
When first announced, the proposal from Democrats cut taxes for just over 49 percent of Iowans. Senator Joe Bolkcom, a Democrat from Iowa City, has been involved in the negotiations between Democrats in the legislature and fellow Democrat Chet Culver, the governor.
"We’ve listened to some of the concerns that have been brought forward and we are going to have an improved proposal…to actually provide a middle class tax cut to even more Iowans," Bolkcom says.
Which means it’s likely the goal is to adjust the proposal so it will cut taxes for over 50 percent — over half — of Iowans. According to Bolkcom, he and other Democrats have engaged in a "listening process" this past week, but Bolkcom’s not ready to reveal the details.
"We’ve heard a few new ideas that we’re going to incorporate into this proposal to make it even better."
However, Representative Tom Sands of Columbus Junction, the top-ranking Republican on the House Ways and Means tax-writing Committee, says unless the proposal is changed dramatically, Democrats can’t call it a "middle class" tax cut.
"There are people that their taxes will go higher in each income tax bracket, from the bottom to the top," Sands says. "In fact, several people earning less than $20,000 a year will see a tax increase."
Democrats hold 32 seats in the Iowa Senate and 56 seats in the Iowa House, so Democrats control the debate agenda. But Sands says he and other Republicans are trying to do everything they can to stop this plan. "Not all Democrats support it and especially once you get outside the legislature there are several Democrats who are conservative who are against this because they see it for what it is," Sands says. "And we’ve slowed it down so far, so we’re going to continue to fight it."
Sands and Bolkcom made their comments during an appearance on the Iowa Public Television program, "Iowa Press."