The past legislative forum was interesting, very interesting. About three dozen concerned citizens were in attendance, most of whom I would consider to have average incomes for Mitchell County residents. Hard working citizens, trying to make ends meet. Keep this thought.
When Senator Brown addressed the gathering, the one issue he dwelled upon was the billion dollar tax reduction bill being considered by the Iowa Senate. The Senator was basically very supportive of this tax reduction bill. He explained for the working person, personal taxes would be reduced by around $1,000 or so. I am sure every person in attendance could use the extra $1,000.
What surprised me was, the group in attendance did not rush to praise the tax reductions. Instead, citizens seemed alarmed that taxes could be reduced and thus, vital educational funding, mental health funding, Medicaid monies and promised backfilling of county and city requirements may be the victims of this tax bill.
Former Mitchell County Supervisor Betty McCarthy reminded the legislators that substantial commercial and industrial taxes have been cut in the past: the elimination of the machinery and equipment tax plus the commercial tax reduction of four years ago. With these substantial tax breaks, Iowa did not see a major influx of new industry into Iowa. No “trickle down” in Iowa.
One of my concerns was: Iowa is broke today. For two years, Iowa has had to drastically cut expenses due to a lack of revenues in order to maintain a balanced budget. It has even been proposed to move 30 Clerk of Courts from small counties to larger counties.
So, the past few days President Trump has proposed a 1.5 trillion dollar infrastructure bill. In this bill, the President wants to spend 20 percent federal monies while having the States, counties, cities and private enterprise anting up the 80 percent. So, if we are talking roads and bridges, Iowa has a gas tax that can cover the 80% for the roads and bridges. For other infrastructure, Iowa is broke and has no contingency in their big tax cut bill to set aside monies for infrastructure improvements, vitally needed infrastructure improvements.
Let’s assume President Trump’s infrastructure bill becomes law. Other than roads and bridges, Iowa will be sitting on the sidelines, allowing other well financed states to make the infrastructure match while Iowa falls further and further behind in needed infrastructure.
Back in 2009, Governor Dayton of MN increased taxes on the super-rich. Minnesota has money. Minnesota did not lose the super-rich, the super-rich did not leave the state.
As much as most of us would like to pay less taxes, Iowa also needs to continue to provide necessary services that only the State can provide. Please explain to Sen. Brown and Rep. Bloomingdale this tax bill needs substantial improvements.