Des Moines, Iowa — The 2024 Iowa legislative session is underway, with more tax cuts at the top of the majority party’s agenda.
Governor Kim Reynolds will outline her priorities during a speech at the Capitol on Tuesday night. Reynolds has been saying elimination of the state income tax is a long-term goal.
The state income tax is currently scheduled to shrink to one rate — of three-point-nine percent — for income tax payments due in 2027. Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver says expediting that tax cut is likely the first step lawmakers will take in the tax debate.
House Speaker Pat Grassley says as discussion of eliminating the income tax begins, House Republicans will press to ensure the state can meet its spending commitments. “It’s going to be something that’s sustainable,” Grassley says. “Other states that have not passed sustainable tax policy, it’s backfired on them, so from the perspective of House Republicans, we want to get the money in the hands of Iowans, but at the same time making sure it’s a forward-thinking vision.”
Democrats say Iowans have more immediate concerns that should be addressed by lawmakers, like the lack of child care slots and affordable housing. House Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst. “I’m pretty tired of watching Republicans govern by headline,” Konfrst says. “I think it’s time we get down to business and we actually try to see what’s going to make a difference for Iowans.”
Senate Minority Leader Pam Jochum, a Democrat from Dubuque, says it’s time for lawmakers to get serious about investing in a mental health care system for children.
Republicans have held both the House, Senate and governorship for the past seven years. Senate Whitver says aside from taxes, they’ve accomplished almost every other top policy item on the GOP agenda.
House Republicans are calling for tougher penalties for groups caught stealing from retailers — so-called smash-and-grab episodes — that have taken place in other states. Grassley says House Republicans also plan to review K-through-12 education standards, school discipline policies and teacher pay — and investigate whether out-of-state staffing agencies are overcharging Iowa hospitals and nursing homes.