Republican Governor Kim Reynolds plans to outline her own “broad ideas” on tax policy next Tuesday. That’s when she delivers her “Condition of the State” speech to legislators.
“I don’t know if at that point it will be a ‘five-point’ tax plan because I think it’s really important that we make sure that it’s sustainable and it’s financially prudent and does what we want it to do and so I don’t know if my goal is to rush in and to do something, but to more importantly kind of set out a broad parameter,” Reynolds said during an interview with Radio Iowa.
By revealing guideposts rather than a detailed plan, Reynolds said that will give GOP lawmakers time to test and develop components of a comprehensive tax package.
“It’s the same process kind of that they used at the federal level, I think, to: ‘Here’s the broad agreement and then let’s work through some of the details in what that looks like and take a look the different ideas that are being projected,” Reynolds said, “and see, really, where we can have the best bang for the buck.”
A 43-page memo prepared for Republicans in the Iowa Senate was obtained by the “Bleeding Heartland” blog. It outlined a wide-ranging tax plan that included reducing income tax rates for individual Iowans, cutting the state’s corporate tax rate and phasing out the state inheritance tax.
Senate Republican Leader Bill Dix’s “main goal” in 2018 is to reduce income tax rates.
“If you just think about it, from common sense, taxing income taxes hard work, taxes risk-taking, taxes people who would be making investments here in high-quality career opportunities in our state,” Dix said during an interview with Radio Iowa.
House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, the top Republican in the legislature, said Iowa’s corporate taxes and the top income tax rate for individuals are “among the highest in the country.”
“We’d sure like to improve that. We’d like to make Iowa more competitive,” Upmeyer told Radio Iowa. “We’d like to leave more dollars in Iowans’ pockets and invest that the way they’d like to.”
Republicans hold a majority of seats in both the Iowa House and the Iowa Senate, so the GOP gets to decide which bills get voted upon. Senator Janet Petersen was elected as the leader of the 19 Democrats in the Senate this fall.
“We have been having town hall meetings across the state and the things that we’re hearing from people in rural areas and small towns and communities all over is they want better paying job opportunities in their hometowns,” Petersen said during an appearance on IPTV, “so our focus is going to be on job growth and on improving the skills to help people job-up and skill-up for better-paying jobs.”
Petersen said Iowans are also raising concerns about Medicaid and the state’s mental health care system “in particular.”
State Representative Mark Smith, the leader of Democrats in the Iowa House, said during a Greater Des Moines Partnership forum in December that Iowa cannot reach the goal of being the healthiest state in the country without fixing the mental health system.