The Iowa legislature begins regular session on January 13th. Before lawmakers return to Des Moines, NFIB State Director Matt Everson is reminding our elected officials to keep small businesses in mind this year. Small business owners create jobs and keep Iowa’s economy running. NFIB has over 10,000 members in Iowa. A full 98% of them have 20 employees or less and represent every industry from family farms to manufacturers to small-town storefronts. “Here in Iowa, as it is nationwide, small business optimism is at an all-time high. Small business owners employ nearly 650,000 people in Iowa. NFIB’s mission this year is to build upon past successes and make improvements to the state’s tax structure and the way the state hands out and regulates occupational licenses,” says NFIB State Director Matt Everson. “I look forward to working with lawmakers to enact positive measures to keep small businesses thriving in Iowa.” Here are NFIB’s top priorities for the 2020 legislative session.
Occupational Licensing Reform
Iowa is one of the most regulated and licensed states in the country and it’s hurting our economy. Many small businesses in Iowa are delaying plans to expand or turning down new business opportunities because there aren’t enough Iowans to fill job vacancies. According to the Institute for Justice, Iowa has lost 48,000 jobs and $290 million in revenue because of burdensome occupational licensing regimes. Universal recognition or reciprocity, review of licenses and licensing boards, and fee waivers for those under 200% of the poverty level must be included in any reform legislators consider in 2020. NFIB is urging Iowa legislators to take action in 2020 and pass a comprehensive occupational licensing reform bill that breaks the financial and time-consuming barriers for those who want to work in Iowa.
Income Tax Reform
One of the top issues for NFIB small business members is Iowa’s burdensome tax code, specifically income tax rates. Despite the reforms implemented in 2018, Iowa still has one of the highest income-tax rates in the country. Income tax reform is essential. It gives small businesses and their employees more of their hard-earned income and ensures continued economic growth in Iowa. NFIB is urging Iowa legislators to eliminate the “4% growth trigger,” couple the QBI and 179 expensing with federal code, and establish future revenue based “triggers” to guarantee Iowa’s income tax rates continue to decrease.
Property Tax Reform
Property taxes in Iowa are too high, uncompetitive with neighboring states, and have doubled in the last twenty years. Property taxes should only fund essential property services. Iowa is one of only a few states in the country that funds mental health through a property tax levy. NFIB is urging Iowa Legislators to stop funding mental health services with property taxes and instead use the state’s general fund. This would provide immediate relief for ALL property taxpayers.
Eliminate Iowa’s Inheritance Tax
The beneficiary of a business or a family farm should not be penalized for the death of a previous owner. In Iowa, if a small business or family farm is left to an aunt/uncle, cousin, sibling, niece/nephew, business partner/friend, step-grandchildren, or daughter/son-in-law, they are forced to pay a 5 – 15% tax. Most beneficiaries don’t have the liquid cash to pay these outrageous tax bills and either end up selling or closing the business. NFIB is urging Iowa Legislators to eliminate the state’s inheritance tax to help preserve family farms and small businesses.