The Des Moines Register

GOP lawmakers push to make it harder to raise income taxes

- Galen Bacharier Des Moines Register

Iowa legislator­s moved a step closer Wednesday toward making it much more difficult to raise income taxes in the state.

State senators on Wednesday approved a proposed constituti­onal amendment that would require a twothirds vote to approve income tax increases and help deter efforts to reverse Republican-led tax cuts passed in recent years.

It would apply to proposed changes to the state’s individual and corporate income tax rates, as well as rates on legal or special reserves.

Currently, all legislatio­n is approved through a simple majority (50% plus one) vote.

The Senate’s passage marks a key step toward putting the questions to voters on a future ballot, referring the proposal to next year’s legislativ­e session. If it is again approved by both chambers in either 2025 or 2026, it will go before the voters and could be approved by a simple majority at the ballot box.

House Joint Resolution 2006 was approved by a 31-13 vote in the upper chamber after passing on a party-line vote in the House.

“We don’t have a bill that can correct the monetary and spending malfeasanc­e of Washington, D.C.,” said Sen. Dan Dawson, R-Council Bluffs. “But what we can do, what we should do, is let people have a little bit more of a say whether or not it’s harder to raise their taxes, to steal the money out of their pockets and put it in the coffers of government.”

Democrats said the amendment, if approved, would effectivel­y bar any increase to income tax while shifting the tax burden onto lower-income Iowans.

“Where do you think we’ll go to balance the budgets?” said Sen. Cindy Winckler, D-Davenport. “A yes vote on this resolution means higher property taxes, higher sales taxes, new fees and

fines in government.”

And Sen. Janet Petersen, D-Des Moines, argued that Republican­s were being selective in which policies they chose to put to a public vote, specifical­ly referencin­g a potential amendment on the right to abortion.

Dawson pushed back on Democrats’ criticism of the bills.

“This does not freeze the income tax for the wealthy. This does not shift taxes anywhere,” he said. “It simply says there has to be a higher standard of threshold to raise the income tax.”

Flat tax proposal moving through House

A separate amendment proposal, approved by the Senate last week, would require Iowa to have a flat individual income tax rate.

Senate Joint Resolution 2004, which is now advancing through the House after passing the upper chamber on a party-line vote, would forbid a graduated income tax system with multiple rates based on income level.

Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a law in 2022 that will take Iowa to a flat income tax rate of 3.9% by 2026. The state’s top rate this year is 5.7% and will drop to 4.82% next year unless lawmakers make further changes.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States