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4 Oct 2018


Bill Shea

Republican state Sen. Tim Kraayenbrink and his opponent, Democrat John O’Brien, clashed over taxes and collective bargaining rights for public employees during a forum in a crowded auditorium Wednesday night.

Earlier in the evening, Republican Ann Meyer and Democrat Megan Srinivas who are seeking a seat in the Iowa House of Representatives both listed health care and mental health care in particular as a top priority.

The four candidates fielded questions during a forum at Iowa central Community College attended by about 250 people.

Kraayenbrink v. O’Brien

Kraayenbrink, of Fort Dodge, said that during this year’s legislative session, he voted for what he called “the largest tax decrease in the state of Iowa history.”

He said the tax cut was prompted by the federal tax cut signed in late 2017 by President Donald Trump. Kraayenbrink said that because Iowans can deduct their federal taxes from their state income taxes, a lower federal tax burden would mean less to deduct. The result, he said, would be more taxes paid to the state. He estimated the windfall for the state at $111 million.

“We felt, as a Legislature, that it would only be fair to give that money back to hard-working Iowans,” he said.

O’Brien, who’s also from Fort Dodge, said cutting income taxes just moves the burden of paying for needed services to some other source of revenue.

“I’m not for raising taxes,” he said. “I said I hate taxes. But let’s be honest about it. Let’s say if we’re going to cut and give you income tax deduction, tell us where we’re going to get our taxes raised.”

O’Brien did say he is in favor of raising the state’s income tax by 1 percent. He said a constitutional amendment approved by the voters in 2010 calls for dedicating 3/8 of a cent of any future sales tax increase to funding conservation programs.

Full article.

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