Gov. Kim Reynolds’ signature proposal for 2020 legislative session, the Invest in Iowa Act, is showing signs of momentum as she and allies push to see its passage before this year’s session adjourns.

The Invest in Iowa Act would increase the state sales tax by a penny to fund the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust. It would also tweak the formula that distributes money from the fund to increase the amount allocated for water quality and conservation projects. To offset any tax increase, the plan will lower income taxes and property taxes. The act would also provide funding to the state’s mental health care system.

Shortly after it was announced, some legislators were initially skeptical of the ambitious plan, citing its scope. The Governor, however, was insistent that the program was essential to Iowa remaining competitive and improving Iowan’s quality of life. Rather than fighting behind closed doors with legislators on the plan, Renolds took her message directly to the people. In February, she announced a series of town hall-style meetings across the state, talking to Iowans about the Invest in Iowa Act. Polling released by Iowans for Tax Relief shows that 51.8% of Iowans are in favor of a tax reform plan similar to what she proposed during her 2020 condition of the state address. Last week, the Reynolds campaign launched a new digital ad and five-figure buy that would run for the duration of the legislative session. In the ad, the Governor asks Iowans to contact their legislators to tell them they support the Invest in Iowa Act.

It seems the Governor’s hands-on approach is paying off. At a subcommittee meeting, the Invest in Iowa Act received high praise from conservation groups, business coalitions, and individuals. Over the weekend, the Sioux City Journal Endorsed the Invest In Iowa Act.

An excerpt is below:

“…we support the Invest in Iowa Act proposed earlier this year by Gov. Kim Reynolds. It provides the dedicated, protected funding stream for natural resources and recreation created by the constitutional amendment, but balances the one-cent sales tax hike through decreases in income and property taxes. The penny sales tax increase would raise state revenue by an estimated $540 million.


In addition to funding the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust, the Act would:


* Cut income taxes incrementally, eventually lowering the top income tax rate to 5.5 percent by 2023. Reynolds said her plan will move Iowa from 42nd in the nation to 20th in the nation in personal income taxes.


* Reduce property taxes by lowering the cap for the mental health levy imposed on taxpayers by counties, shifting more mental health funding responsibilities to the state.


In addition, the Act would increase child care tax credits and provide exemptions from the sales tax for diapers and feminine hygienic products.”

Legislators are aware of the growing support too. “Due to the strong effort the Governor has put in, especially in the town halls she’s hosted across the state, I’m seeing significant momentum behind the Invest in Iowa Act. Additionally, in interactions with my constituents, I’m hearing overwhelming positive things,” said State Representative Bobbly Kaufmann.

The Governor has not let up. She has been posting video testimonials of folks at her town halls that support the Invest in Iowa Act.

For the Invest in Iowa Act to become a reality, it must pass through the legislature and then be signed into law. While there is no official end date for the legislature to adjourn, April 21st is the unofficial date. The 21st is the 100th calendar day of the session and the last day State Senators and Representatives can claim per diam expenses.