Iowa's House and Senate Republicans Work on Tax Compromise

Apr 16, 2018

Republicans who control the Iowa House unveiled a more than $1 billion tax cut bill. And, Republicans who control the Senate have their own new $2 billion tax plan. Time is ticking on the Iowa legislative session because lawmakers’ expense accounts expire on Tuesday. IPR Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell breaks it down. 

The House bill cuts Iowa income taxes on average by 9 percent. That’s a cut of $1.3 billion over five years. “For example, a single person paying taxes on $50,000 of income would see a tax break of $150,” Russell says. “Married person with two kids in that range would save $250 on their taxes.”

The Senate bill is scaled back from an earlier bill. The tax bill in that chamber still cuts taxes more than the House would. Their total price tag is about $2 billion over at least five years. “(The Senate’s bill) is an 8 percent across the board income tax cut right away,” Russell says. The main arguments in both chambers is the hit on the state budget, which is already stressed.

The governor’s staff is staying in on the discussions. The House started out with Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds’s bill. The House speaker says her chamber “tweaked” the bill. It’s down to the House and Senate bills now. “Make no mistake, Republicans in both chambers are very enthused about what they call the first income tax cuts in a generation,” Russell reports. “They won’t adjourn until they cut taxes.”

Two controversial bills are still alive even after a tax cut bill is passed. A bill to ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected and a bill that would scale back the state’s energy efficiency programs still have a possibility for passage. That’s according to a Republican spokesman. Both bills are sharply opposed by Democrats.