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Budget, Tax Reform Discussed at Legislative Briefing

Posted: Tuesday, February 20th, 2018 at 6:24 am
Author: Sally Y. Hart - KCII News

School transportation, opioid epidemic, health care, gun violence, and mental health care were just some of the topics discussed at Saturday’s legislative briefing in Washington.

Representatives Dave Heaton and Jared Klein, along with Senator Rich Taylor were in attendance. Overall the state’s budget and funding for services was addressed many times. Taylor said services can’t face more cuts and still provide quality services for Iowans, he mentioned human services, judiciary services, and Iowa’s prison system facing cuts, “You’ve got to provide the services, and we can provide the services, and we do have the money, but we’ve got to get our handle on what we’re spending in tax giveaways. It’s not our programs that are killing us, it’s our giveaways that are killing us.” Taylor said it isn’t a problem that occurred overnight and it will take time to resolve, but that it needs to be addressed.

Heaton said that the income tax credit for Iowans is something that shouldn’t be messed with, but he does get suspicious of the research and development tax measure. He gave an example, “When John Deere has a lab that starts kicking out new techniques and new machinery, or new ideas, they can put that in the price they sell their products for. Why do they turn to the Iowa taxpayers to come up the funds? They got $14.5 million last year as a check, it wasn’t even a tax credit, it was a check. And we’ve got some other corporations that are in that same pocket, but John Deere is the biggest.” Heaton, in response to Taylor, says tax reform needs to be discussed by both Republicans and Democrats, “You’re bringing up a point that needs to have discussion, and it needs to have discussion from both sides. When you start messing with tax reform it plays for the long haul, you don’t just do it for two years and then change it when administration’s doing something else. You’re looking at the long haul, so it’s got to be a bipartisan plan.”

Senator Kevin Kinney was unable to attend due to a family funeral. The next legislative briefing in Washington is Saturday, March 17th.