Iowa tax policy activity

Cedar Rapids, City Hall, photographed by User:...

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The Des Moines Register has a nice summary on the activity that the state government has taken, will likely examine, and also notable items that are pretty much dead in the water.

A few items that have cleared the hurdle into approved territory are the Taxpayers First Act that reduces funding for university sabbaticals and a few other government spending items and state tax exemption for active duty military pay. It is also now illegal to impersonate a decorated military veteran in Iowa and certain state agencies and pension funds are now prohibited from investing in companies that do business in Iran in an effort to reduce support for terrorism. I’m glad to see some spending cuts rather than just grasping at revenue straws and some recognition of our military personnel.

A couple items that are likely to see activity are restrictions on the ability of animal rights activists to take undercover videos on producer premises and the transformation of the Economic Development office into a public/private partnership. I think both of these moves should be positives for Iowa businesses as the activists are usually from out of state groups that have no vested interest in Iowa and forming a public/private partnership in Economic development should bring some more perspective to the table and perhaps make the agency more nimble.

Several items have been shot down, some making pretty good sense, others may come back to life under further review. Same-sex marriage has been put to rest and Cedar Rapids flood aid has been taken off the table after the citizens of Cedar Rapids refused to pick up their part of the tab.

The state has refused to legalize in-state internet poker gaming, but this is set to be reviewed further by the state gaming commission. It seems to me that this may come back into consideration as a revenue generator since the tax hike on brick and mortar gross gambling revenues (from 24% to 36%) was also shot down. Can you imagine owning a franchise with royalties at 24% of gross revenues (and then having the audacity to think it’s not enough)?

Education policy changes regarding private school accreditation and hours instead of days requirements for education were also rejected. We still won’t need a valid identification to vote (wonder who this helps…) and there is still no limit on “Red Light Camera” fines aka the city pension re-balancing fund.

I also wanted to point out a little typo egregious error in the comment left by MercedesSLK (obviously a low income taxpayer) who asserted that commercial property tax relief was unnecessary because Iowa “ranks near the top of states with a favorable business climate” as the Tax Foundation has ranked Iowa as 45 out of 50 for business climate (yeah, that’s the bottom 5).

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