A study by two advocacy groups shows Iowa’s tax system in the last decade benefited the wealthy over the poor. The Iowa Policy Project and the Family Policy Center teamed up for the study of personal income trends of Iowans in the 90s. Iowa Policy Project economist Peter Fisher says personal income grew by 53-percent in that decade, but the wealth was not evenly distributed.He says the study found 60-percent of the income gains went to the top 20-percent of the population. Fisher says the increase in the state sales tax by a penny and the 10-percent income tax cut in 1997 did more to help the wealthy than the poor. He says the study showed the two tax moves were a wash or slight increase for about 80-percent of the population, but the top five percent of taxpayers paid significantly lower taxes. Some lawmakers are pushing to raise the sales tax again to cover school repairs. Fisher says lawmakers need to look at all the ramifications before taking action.Fisher says the state could end up penalizing low-income Iowans. He says any tax increase should be offset with refunds or credits for the working poor.
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