Bob Vander Plaats, a likely 2010 Republican candidate for governor, held a statehouse news conference this morning to denounce the tax plan Democrats in the legislature are advancing.
"Probably the biggest problem I have with this is the whole concept of winners and losers," Vander Plaats said. "…When there’s 450,000…projected losers in the state of Iowa, that is way too many."
Democrats say their plan cuts taxes or keeps taxes the same for two-thirds of Iowans. It would raise taxes on one-third of Iowans — primarily those with incomes above $125,000 — and Vander Plaats calls that an attack on the "producers" in the economy.
"Everybody right now understands the best benefit and the best break you can have is having a job today, so let our producers produce," Vander Plaats said. "Get out of their way, but let them produce."
The Democrats’ plan also gets rid of a tax break which allows Iowans to deduct their federal tax bill from their income before they calculate their state income taxes. Two businessmen who supported Vander Plaats in his two previous bids for governor in 2002 and 2006 appeared with Vander Plaats at today’s news conference to denounce that part of the bill.
Tony Caligiuri of Osceola is president of Boyt Harness and Bob Allen Sportswear. "It’s hard enough to get people to move to Iowa sometimes," Caligiuri said. "You take away one more advantage, which is this federal income tax deductibility, it’s going to make it a lot tougher."
Henry Elder, co-owner of Brothers Construction in Des Moines, contends the small businesses that hire his firm will be paying more in taxes. "The business environment here in the state of Iowa, it’s not that bad, but it needs all the help it can get and taking that away from small business would hurt us at a time we need it the most," Elder said.
Governor Culver, a Democrat, told legislators he was opposed to a gas tax increase because now — during a recession — is not the time to raise taxes. Vander Plaats is challenging Culver to reject the income tax plan from Democrats in the legislature for the same reason.
"I think elections do have consequences. I think elections matter and I think what the people of Iowa are seeing today is that we’re adjusting a tax code that’s going to punish producers, " Vander Plaats said. "…That’s why 2010 is going to be a critical year, to bring that pendulum back."
A spokesman for Governor Culver’s 2010 re-election campaign was not immediately available.
Listen to today’s news conference by clicking on the audio link below.