Republicans in the Iowa Senate tonight cast their “yes” votes for legislation that would ultimately cut state taxes by more than a billion dollars a year. The vote came after what Republican Senator Randy Feenstra described as a “lively” debate.
“The one thing this talk or this discussion truly showed tonight, I mean…in black and white, it showed the difference between our political parties,” Feenstra said.
There was a sharp exchange when Democratic Senator Herman Quirmbach asked Republican Senator Charles Schneider where the GOP planned to cut the state budget to make up for the tax reductions.
“I think this shows a fundamental difference in approaches between your side of the aisle and mine,” Schneider said.
Quirmbach interjected: “Yeah, we believe in facts and you believe in fantasy.”
Schneider replied: “We believe in keeping money in taxpayers’ pockets.”
Democrats like Senator Pam Jochum of Dubuque cited a report indicating Iowans who earn less than 250-thousand dollars a year will get a tax cut worth a little less than $10 a week — about the price of a McDonald’s “Happy Meal”.
“So in exchange for that ‘Happy Meal’, Iowans are going to see increases in tuition at our universities and colleges,” Jochum said. “We may see further consolidation of rural school districts. We will have fewer state troopers.”
Senator Matt McCoy, a Democrat from Des Moines, said it was the “height of fiscal irresponsibility” to cut taxes by a billion dollars a year.
“Senator Feenstra, I know you mean well, but you are about to pilot a bobsled to bankruptcy for the state of Iowa,” McCoy said.
Feenstra, the chief Republican architect of the plan, responded at the close of the debate.
“We want to carry the Olympic torch for the hard-working Iowans and inside every one of our Happy Meals, the toy will be $1000,” Feenstra said, drawing chuckles from his fellow Republicans.
Tonight’s debate may be the final airing in the Capitol for Feenstra’s tax plan, however. Late tomorrow morning, Republicans in the House will hold a hearing for a bill that would implement Governor Kim Reynolds’ tax cut plan instead.