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War of the GOP Tax Cuts: House Takes Up Reynolds Plan

Joyce Russell/lPR
House Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Peter Cownie (R-West Des Moines)

Round Two for Republican-sponsored tax cuts got underway at the statehouse today.   

Gov. Reynolds’ proposal to cut taxes by $1.7 billion over the next six years got its first airing in the Iowa House, one day after the Senate approved a bigger, faster plan.   

Senate Republicans call their bill “bold” to cut taxes by a billion dollars a year.  

People do leave this state because of our income tax. -Rep. Peter Cownie

The GOP is characterizing the governor’s plan as sustainable, practical, and pragmatic.    

The bill cuts personal income taxes by up to 23 percent. 

That was well-received by the Chairman of the House Commerce Committee.

“One of the reasons why we should all care about this bill, people do leave this state because of our income taxes,” said Rep. Peter Cownie (R-West Des Moines.) 

The governor’s bill includes a trigger to delay the cuts if the state budget can’t afford them.  

Skeptics questioned whether that would be enough to protect education and other priorities. 

What are the true priorities here? -Brad Hudson, Iowa State Education Association

“We're trying to reduce revenues here by $1.7 billion,” said Brad Hudson with the Iowa State Education Association.  “That's a cut of over 20 percent to the state budget. 

“What are the true priorities here?” Hudson  asked.

The governor wants tax breaks for small businesses but not corporations, setting up one of the biggest disagreements with the Senate.    

Some interest groups also argued for cutting corporate taxes.

If we work together, we can make this a tax bill all of us can get behind. -Rep. Todd Pritchard

“Iowa had the great honor of being named the number one state in the nation and we can't help but also think we are number one in corporate income tax as well," said Iowa Taxpayers Association lobbyist Jennifer Kingland.

“I do think it will be a missed opportunity if we do tax reform this year and don't address the corporate side of the ledger as well,” added spokesman Drew Klein with the  Koch brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity. 

But there was bipartisan support for the bill on the Commerce Committee.

“I think if we work together we can make this a tax bill that all of us can get behind,” said Rep. Todd Pritchard (D-Charles City).

“I'm very excited about this bill,” added Rep. Dawn Pettengill (R-Mount Auburn.)  “We are addressing things for working Iowans, middle-class Iowans.”

The Senate bill was rushed through over the course of a week.   The House bill will go through the typical paces for a major piece of legislation with a vote expected by mid-March.

"I believe that will give good time to take input from Iowans, stakeholders, constituents and legislators," Cownie said.