Democrats in the Iowa Senate have mounted a public relations campaign to push for enhancing a tax credit that benefits low income Iowans. Senator Joe Bolkcom, a Democrat from Iowa City, spoke at a statehouse news conference this past Thursday.
“I can’t think of a more important tax cut right now,” he said.
Last year, Republican Governor Terry Branstad twice vetoed an increase in the “Earned Income Tax Credit” for Iowa families making less than $45,000 a year, but he’s less confrontational now.
“I think there’s a possibility of working something out there,” Branstad says.
What Branstad envisions is a larger tax deal that would include reducing commercial property taxes.
“I’m willing to consider the Earned Income Tax Credit (increase) as part of an overall tax reform package,” Branstad says.
Branstad talked about the possibility of such a deal Friday during an appearance on Iowa Public Television.
“I think that it’s critically important that we address commercial property tax. It’s been a problem for 30 years,” Brasntad said. “Two previous governors and I don’t know how many General Assemblies have failed to address it.”
Last Thursday, Senate Democrats invited Julie Heck of Pleasantville — a single mother of three — to speak at a statehouse news conference to tout the tax break that’s geared toward low-income Iowans.
“In recent years the E.I.T.C. refund has helped me put a downpayment on a car so that I had reliable transportation to get to school and work,” Heck said.
According to the Iowa Child and Family Policy Center, 37 percent of Iowa children live in a household that gets a tax refund through the Earned Income Tax Credit. Senator Bolkcom intends to propose nearly doubling the state Earned Income Tax Credit and a bill to accomplish that is on this week’s Senate Ways and Means Committee agenda.
“Until we get this passed, that long list of special interest tax treatments and tax policy ahead of us is going to be on the shelf,” Bolkcom said.
He’s talking, of course, about the governor’s proposal to cut commercial property taxes.