The top Republican in the Iowa House has a plan to address complaints from school districts in counties which do not have a local option sales tax for school renovation and construction. Christopher Rants of Sioux City, the House Speaker-elect, suggests creating a new fund for local option sales tax deposits. The money would be distributed on a per-pupil basis to schools in counties where the local option tax has been approved.Rants says it would be a voluntary “pool” or fund a county could participate in by advancing a plan for school improvements to voters, who would approve a local option sales tax. The plan would not affect school improvement projects in counties which already have a local option sales tax in place, but if those counties approved another 10 year collection period for the local option sales tax, they’d become part of the new money distribution scheme.Rants lives in Woodbury County, which passed a local option sales tax for schools five years ago, and it’ll expire in five years. He says he has a hunch that the measure will be approved again. Critics of Iowa’s current local option sales tax law say it favors schools in metro areas like Des Moines which are retail centers that draw customers from neighboring counties who pay the sales tax for Des Moines-area schools. Some have suggested a statewide sales tax increase solely for school building improvements, while others want to let counties that’re adjacent to counties with a big pot of local option sales tax money to draw on it.
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