A key Democrat in the legislature is less than enthusiastic about a “flat” income tax in Iowa.
Republican Governor Terry Branstad says he and his staff “have toyed” with the idea and may call on legislators to endorse the concept in 2014. Senator Joe Bolkcom, a Democrat from Iowa City who is chairman of the Senate’s tax-writing committee, says Iowa needs a “fairer” income tax system.
“We should all be working for that. The governor’s proposal seems to be a ‘what more can I do for wealthy Iowans?’ proposal and I look forward to discussing how we can make Iowa’s tax system more fair for working people,” Bolkcom says. “Right now people making less than $50,000 pay a higher percentage of their income in state and local taxes and we ought to be about fixing that.”
Branstad’s mulling the idea of creating a two-track income tax system for the state. Taxpayers could choose track one — a new, flatter income tax rate with fewer deductions — or track two which is the current system. Bolkcom doesn’t support the concept.
“The governor has proposed: ‘Pick your tax system,’” Bolkcom says. “And clearly the flat tax will provide significant benefits to the wealthiest Iowans and I think we should have one tax system that applies to everybody.”
According to Bolkcom, Branstad’s “pick your tax system” would “be much more complicated” for Iowa taxpayers to try to figure out.
Any tax plan would have to clear the Republican-led House and the Democratically-controlled Senate to make it to Branstad’s desk in 2014.