Iowa continues to make progress in many areas, and continues to go in the right direction, but more work needs to be done – especially in tax reform.
That’s the message Gov. Kim Reynolds brought to Davenport during a noon meeting on Friday.
The governor, who was the keynote speaker at North Scott Rotary club meeting at the Best Western Plus Steeplegate Inn, promoted her reform plans, such as tax reforms and helping businesses find more workers.
“This (tax reforms and other proposed reforms) truly will say to the rest of the country ‘Come to Iowa; we are open for business,’” the governor told the Friday lunch crowd.
Ms. Reynolds has proposed a 4% flat income tax, stating a flat tax is fair and that it will save Iowans money and encourage more businesses to set up shop in Iowa. She called the proposal “bold, but practical tax reforms.”
Her tax proposals include:
- Establishing a flat 4% individual income tax rate, further reducing individual income tax for all taxpaying Iowans. It is projected to save Iowa taxpayers more than $1.58 billion by tax year 2026, according to the governor’s office.
- Eliminating retirement income tax.
- Exempting net capital gains on the sale of employee-awarded capital stock.
- Reforming Iowa’s corporate income tax.
The state taxes on all Iowans’ income would be reduced every year until resting at 4 percent in 2026, under the proposal, she said. The governor’s office said that would make Iowa’s income tax burden the fifth-lowest in the country. The state currently has the 16th-highest burden, according to information from the governor’s office.
Ms. Reynolds said the average Iowa family will pay about $1,300 less in income taxes after the plan is fully phased in. “If you empower Iowans, you will like the results,” she said about her reform proposals on taxes and other issues.
During Friday’s meeting, the governor also repeated many of the plans she outlined in her recent Condition of the State speech. Some of those plans include: shortening the time Iowans could claim jobless benefits and a new plan for devoting public K-12 aid for private school tuition.
Her proposal includes using state money to help families pay for private school tuition through Students First Scholarships.
She said reforms also need to be made at Iowa Workforce Development because of the vastly changing times. Many businesses in the state are having problems finding employees, and the state needs to address that issue, she said.
The governor also said she wants to cut unemployment benefits so that they last for a maximum of 16 weeks instead of the current 26 weeks. Other proposed reforms include making one-on-one career counseling for unemployed Iowa available much sooner in the unemployment process, and launching apprenticeship programs to help train young people for future jobs.
Ms. Reynolds recently announced the launch of a first-in-the-nation Teacher and Paraeducator Registered Apprenticeship Grant Program. The grant program will provide opportunities for current high school students to earn a paraeducator certificate and associate’s degree and paraeducators to earn their bachelor’s degree all while learning and working in the classroom. The program will begin in the 2022-2023 school year.
“This is a transformational opportunity that puts our schools at the center of growing their future workforce,” said Ms. Reynolds in a recent statement. “I can’t think of a better place to recruit our future generations of teachers and paraeducators than in our own classrooms. Through this first-in-the-nation experience today, we’ll be shaping our educators of tomorrow.”
Also during Friday’s meeting, one audience member praised the governor’s COVID-19 response efforts in the past couple of years, stating that “your actions saved lives.”