The Iowa House this morning overwhelmingly passed a bill that places a federal tax break in the state tax code for one year — saving Iowa small business owners and farmers $95 million.
“This isn’t about how much government gets to spend,” Representative Matt Windschitl, a Republican from Missouri Valley, said. “This is about how Iowans are able to spend their own money.”
The legislation also pares back a tax break Governor Branstad acted on his own to extend to Iowa manufacturers last year. Seventeen Democrats in the House voted “no” on the bill, arguing the legislature should make its decision about state taxpayer support of public schools first.
“We have half a million students waiting for us, urgently waiting for us — not for this bill,” said Representative Sharon Steckman, a Democrat from Mason City.
Representative Art Staed, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, said this decision to cut taxes will reduce the amount of tax money available for schools.
“There is a more urgent consideration that we need to have for our public schools,” Staed said.
Representative Gary Worthan, a Republican from Storm Lake, said a debate about education spending and tax policy don’t belong in the same room at the same time.
“This discussion is not about the amount of revenue we need,” Worthan said. “This is about a fair tax policy.”
The Iowa Senate is expected to debate the bill later today. This agreement between Republicans and Democrats on tax policy is seen as step one in resolving a major stumbling block at the statehouse. Step two will be deciding how much state tax dollars K-12 public schools will get.