A plan to raise the sales tax a penny, statewide, is under consideration in a House Committee. Fifteen Iowa counties have installed a local option sales tax to raise money for local school improvements. That riles the other 84 counties, most of which are rural, where it’s difficult to raise local property taxes to build or repair schools. The plan under consideration would establish a statewide one-cent sales tax for school improvements, but it wouldn’t mess with the school construction plans in the 15 counties. In the rest of the state, the sales tax money would be used to lower property tax rates. Representative Bill Dix, a republican from Shellrock, is one of the bill’s architects.Dix says letting counties pass local option sales taxes has created inequities. Some school districts are now flush with money to fix their buildings, while others have no money at all for construction projects. House Speaker Brent Siegrist, a republican from Council Bluffs, says the proposal faces “tough sledding” because it’s a tax increase. The following counties have passed a local option sales tax for schools: Woodbury, Shelby, Des Moines, Emmet, Scott, Webster, Black Hawk, Monona, Lee, Montgomery, Muscatine, Polk, Dickinson, Fremont, and Page.
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