May 24, 2021
Is it really a great time to cut taxes?
Senator Cournoyer [District 49] may truly believe Iowa is in a great position to cut taxes (NSP 5/12/21) but I sometimes struggle with Republican math. They are shifting mental health funding from property taxes to the state but the claimed property tax saving is bigger than the increased state funding for mental health. Republicans want to discontinue the backfill funding for local governments in place to offset the 2013 tax cuts even though the promised growth failed to materialize. The 2018 tax cut bill had phase in triggers to guarantee the Iowa economy was growing enough to afford permanent cuts to state revenue.
A lot has happened in Iowa since 2018. Disastrous trade war could have devastated our farm economy but the Federal Government stepped in with a record support, $51.2 billion in 2020 alone. Historic flooding in 2019 and a derecho in 2020 wreaked havoc on Iowa and again the Federal government stepped in. Pandemic relief from both the Trump and Biden administrations have pumped millions into our state keeping businesses afloat and families supported. The state is expected to receive $1.4 billion in new funding through 2024 so we won’t know the true state of Iowa’s economy for years. Nevertheless Republicans passed legislation to eliminate those triggers.
Iowa currently has more job openings than unemployed people. Even cutting all public support to force-fill low wage jobs won’t solve Iowa’s problem.
Millions of baby boomers retire every year. It should come as no surprise that the pandemic triggered a record year for retirements. Many left the workforce to care for grandchildren or aging parents. Families need high enough wages and quality family care if both parents want to work. What is Iowa doing to lure Iowans back into the workforce or attract new workers? The national black eye for voter suppression, anti-diversity legislation, stagnant wages, employer immunity for COVID deaths and cuts to public education don’t exactly say, “Welcome to Iowa.” Rushing through permanent tax cuts now during this false economy is a recipe for disaster.
– Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans Vice President Kay Pence
This letter to the editor was originally published in the North Scott Press on May 19, 2021.