Sunday, October 18, 2009

Eliminate Iowa's Income Taxes

There seems to be a little more chatter about eliminating Iowa's state income tax these days. Ed Failor, Jr., President of Iowans for Tax Relief (ITR), for instance, had a guest column in the Cedar Rapids Gazette advocating such.

In the extended version of Failor's column on ITR's website, Failor cites a 2008 study by the Mt. Pleasant-based Public Interest Institute. The study found that South Dakota, which has no income taxes, outpaced neighboring Iowa in the growth of total personal income, per capita personal income, population, and non-farm employment from 1967-2007. Failor points out: "We all know people are not flocking to South Dakota for the warm climate. These jobs and former Iowans are leaving the Tall Corn State and moving just across our western border because there is no income tax in the Mount Rushmore State."

At least two Republican gubernatorial candidates have expressed support for eliminating Iowa's income tax. “That would be an ultimate goal, absolutely. Other states have done it and they have seen good growth," said state Senator and gubernatorial candidate Jerry Behn of Boone. I don't know whether or not Senator Behn actually worked to repeal the income tax while in the legislature.

Businessman, Corridor Recovery president and GOP candidate Christian Fong also supports getting rid of the state income tax. Fong says that his immigrant father put the issue into perspective for him. "He said, 'You don't need all that policy talk,'" Fong explained. "He said, 'High taxes are wrong because they inhibit personal freedom.' Done. For an immigrant from China who's bottom line is about the American Dream, taxation is really a freedom issue."

Whether or not the Republicans actually believe in any of the principles that they espouse while campaigning and whether they will follow through if elected remains to be seen. Either way, it's good to see that the idea of eliminating income taxes is at least part of the discourse.

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