Senator Jim Carlin’s (R-Sioux City) joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Iowa Constitution, which would require a two-thirds majority vote for certain changes to state individual income tax rates or the taxable income ranges applied to the individual income tax rates, was signed through subcommittee on Wednesday.
Sen. Annette Sweeney (R-Alden) joined Carlin in supporting while Sen. Bill Dotzler (D-Waterloo) did not.
Victoria Sinclair of Iowans for Tax Relief spoke in support of the resolution.
“We see this as a reasonable taxpayer protection,” Sinclair said. “Often around here we forget that what we refer to as the ‘state’s money’ is really the money of hardworking Iowans across the state. If lawmakers decide more money is needed from the incomes of families across the state, it is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
“A two-thirds majority to raise income taxes is a commonsense protection that puts taxpayers before the noisy special interests that are constantly asking for a bigger piece of their paychecks.”
Carlin said the amendment is necessary.
“At some point you have to limit government from taking more and more money from people,” he said.
From 2008-13 there was 19 percent inflation. Sixty-thousand dollars in 2008 was only worth $49,000 in 2013. Iowans also pay corporate taxes through the purchase of goods and services.
“Corporate taxes are built in and passed on to consumers,” Carlin said. “It affects low and middle income people. We want to get on a track where we start talking about really finding ways to eliminate the amount of money government spends. One budget does not get a lot of consideration, that’s a family budget.”
Tax rates go up. Property taxes go up.
“This is just a way to say ‘hey, let’s put the brakes on this,'” Carlin said. “If we ever do have a crisis come up, this is not a ban to increasing tax rates, it’s just going to set the bar higher, which it should.
Dotzler took exception to Sinclair’s comment about special interest groups.
“You don’t call police and fire special interest groups,” he said. “You know, this is government of the people and by the people.”
Mental health, health care, day care, seniors, people with disabilities — all those costs increase, Dotzler said.
“All we’ve done since I’ve been in this legislature is decrease taxes,” Dotzler said. “We started cutting income tax in 1997 and we haven’t increased it at all. Property tax increases have gone up. We haven’t funded education, which might be another one of these special interest groups that drive our economy. I see this as not needed, it’s on the wrong track and I’m not going to support it.”
During that same period from 2008-13, Carlin said the government’s budget grew by 34 percent, which was almost double the rate of inflation.
“If government is doubling inflation, somebody is being taken advantage of and I think it’s the taxpayer,” Carlin said.
He also noted there is precedent for requiring a two-thirds majority vote. Carlin said families are paying three times as much for their health insurance due to President Obama. Student loans are almost twice as expensive. Adding it all up with all of the taxes, things aren’t great.
“Right now how many people are saving money,” Carlin asked. “We’re trying to protect the people that pay the bills. Statistically, most people don’t have $400 in the bank. The middle class is disappearing because the government is now the single greatest creator of poverty in America. We need to get this conversation started and get this train rolling.”
Dotzler said Obama had nothing to do with the rising health care cost. He blamed medicine cost.
“I’m sorry, I disagree with you and I’m not going to sign it.”