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Amendment would make it tougher for Iowa lawmakers to pass income tax law change

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(The Center Square) – Iowa voters could decide if income tax law changes need approval of two-thirds of the Legislature.

House Joint Resolution 2006 passed the Senate this week after receiving approval from the House of Representatives last month.

The legislation would ask the voters if they want to add the change to the state’s constitution. Senate Democrats argued against the bill during the debate, saying it would hurt lower-income Iowans.

“Iowans, you better hold on to your wallet and your purses because this bill is about freezing income taxes for the wealthy,” said Cindy Winckler, D-Davenport. “Where do you think we’ll go to balance the budgets? A ‘yes’ vote on this resolution means higher property taxes, higher sales taxes, new fees and fines in government.”

Sen. Dan Dawson, R-Council Bluffs, said the amendment would “protect Iowans for generations to come.”

The Senate passed the resolution by a vote of 61-35. It will go before the Legislature for approval again next year before it could be placed on the ballot.

A tax plan passed by the Legislature in 2022 and signed into law by Gov. Kim Reynolds gradually lowers the state’s tax rate before implementing a 3.6% flat tax in 2026.

A second resolution would let voters decide if they want to keep the flat tax permanently.

Senate Joint Resolution 2004 passed the Senate 34 to 15 last week and is now up for consideration in the House. If approved by the House, it would also need approval next year before it could appear on the ballot.

Twelve states have a flat income tax rate, according to the Tax Foundation. Four states — Colorado, Illinois, Michigan and Pennsylvania — include it in their state constitution. Illinois voters rejected an amendment in 2020 that would have scrapped the constitutionally protected flat tax rate for a progressive income tax.

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