A plan to cut Iowa income taxes and raise the state sales tax to finance water quality projects has failed to clear a procedural hurdle in the state senate. Senator David Johnson, a Republican from Ocheyedan, unsuccessfully tried to attach the proposal to a budget bill.
“We are about to adjourn the session for the year,” Johnson said. “We’ve just turned down the opportunity to make soil and water conservation, outdoor recreation and a number of other things that are important to Iowans, especially young families, out of their reach. It’s not going to happen.”
Senator Brad Zaun, a Republican from Urbandale, said given the current political environment, it shouldn’t happen.
“People are sick and tired of increases in taxes,” Zaun said. “Every time there is a new increase in taxes, with all these promises that tend to not be followed through.”
Senator Dick Dearden, a Democrat from Des Moines, wants to increase the state sales tax by three-eighths of a percent, to raise money for projects that improve water and soil quality.
“The resources that we have in this state are second to none in this world,” Dearden said. “We just keep (saying): ‘Oh well, kick the can down the road. We’ll take care of it some other day.'”
In January, Republican Governor Terry Branstad proposed diverting some sales tax money levied for school infrastructure projects to water quality initiatives. House Republicans devised their own plan, using water usage fees and gambling taxes for water quality projects.