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Iowa House, Senate float ag tax cut plan

By Staff | Apr 17, 2009

DES MOINES – On the eve of the federal tax deadline, House and Senate Democrats Tuesday announced that their middle-class tax cut plan will provide fairer, lower taxes for most Iowa farmers and small businesses.

“The facts back up this basic argument,” said Sen. Bill Heckroth, D-Waverly, and the vice chairman of the commerce committee. “The middle-class tax cut will help the majority of Iowa small business owners and farmers because they are in the middle class.

“It is that simple. I’m a financial advisor by profession. I work directly with Iowa small business owners and farmers. Most pay taxes on their business income through their individual tax returns. That’s why the middle-class tax cut makes their taxes lower and fairer.”

State Rep. Roger Thomas, D-Elkader, chairman of the economic growth committee, said both groups need help right now. “Under the middle-class tax cut, taxes will be cut or be unchanged for 80 percent of farmers and about 70 percent of small businesses. That’s great news for the Iowa economy.”

State and local economic development groups across Iowa urged lawmakers to reduce Iowa’s income tax rate, which is often perceived to be the fourth highest in the nation. The middle-class tax cut proposal will lower tax rates for all Iowans and lower Iowa’s top tax rate by 22 percent, from 8.98 to 6.98 percent.

Taxes will be cut for more than 60 percent of Iowa taxpayers, more than 825,000 Iowa households. Nearly 75 percent of Iowa taxpayers – almost 1 million households – will either have a tax cut or no change at all to their taxes.

Overall, Iowa income taxes will be cut by $55 million.

“We are fighting to make Iowa’s taxes lower, fairer, simpler,” said State Rep. Paul Shomshor, D-Council Bluffs, a certified public accountant and chairman of the ways and means committee. “When you do that, you get some pushback from the people at the top who like the tax system the way it is.

“Our response is to tell the truth. In this case, the truth is that this middle-class tax cut helps most Iowa farmers and small business owners.”

“This is not a tax cut for the special interests. This is a tax cut for the middle class,” said Sena. Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City, chairman of the ways and means committee. “Legislators will have the opportunity to cut taxes for more than 60 percent of Iowa taxpayers and for even higher percentages of Iowa farmers and small business owners.

“That’s a good thing and that’s why I think this plan will pass.”

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