The Iowa Senate has passed a tax bill that resolves part of the stalemate that has delayed major legislative decision-making for the past two months. All 50 senators voted “yes” for the bill.
“‘Yes’ for fiscal responsibility and ‘yes’ for the taxpayers and the farmers and the businesses that made investments in 2015 and are hoping that we will be able to get this done today,” said Senator Rob Hogg, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, just before the vote was taken.
The bill puts a federal tax break in the state tax code for one year — saving Iowa small business owners and farmers nearly $100 million in taxes. Senator Mark Chelgren, a Republican from Ottumwa, predicted the move will boost farm equipment sales.
“Because when their tax refunds come back is when they start their next round of buying,” Chelgren said.
The other part of the bill keeps in place about two-thirds of a tax break Governor Branstad extended to Iowa manufacturers last year. Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal said the two political parties worked together to strike a compromise and get something done.
“What we’re doing today is what we were all elected to do,” Gronstal said during remarks on the senate floor.
Then, Gronstal challenged Republicans to agree to boost state aid for Iowa’s public schools.
“Are you proud of the fact that we have had the worst six years in the history of the school aid formula…back to 1973 when Richard Nixon was president?” Gronstal asked.
Republicans in the legislature bristled today at any discussion of state spending on schools. One House Republican, Representative Matt Windschitl, said the GOP was focused on returning money to Iowa taxpayers rather than spend it on “frivolous government bloat.”
The House passed the same tax cut plan this morning on a 79 to 18 vote.