New polling shows that 51.8% of Iowans are in favor of a tax reform plan similar to what Governor Kim Reynolds proposed during her 2020 condition of the state address. Only 32.5% of those surveyed were opposed to the idea.

The Governor has proposed a two-part plan. The first part would bring down Iowa’s top personal income tax rate to 5.5% by 2023. It would also shift the funding of the mental health care system via property tax levies at the county level to the state, thereby lowering property taxes. The second part of the plan calls for a one-cent increase in the sates sales tax. The proceeds from that increase would fully fund the state’s mental health care system as well as fund water quality, conservation, and outdoor recreation programs. The plan was a key part of her Invest in Iowa Act.

In a statement provided to Iowa Field Report, the Governor said, “We are seeing the same positive support in town halls across the state, and I look forward to continuing the conversation about the Invest in Iowa Act. Iowans want lower income and property taxes; they want us to invest in priorities like mental health, water quality, and quality of life. People have supported these ideas for years, and now we have an opportunity to get it done.”

The survey was paid for by the influential advocacy group, Iowans for Tax Relief. They claim that Iowa has the 42nd worst tax climate in the nation. The Iowans for Tax Relief website states, “While progress has been made, Iowa is still lagging behind neighboring states. When people and businesses see more desirable rates across the border, many opt to locate on the side that costs less to live and do business.”

“Reform requires serious choices by taxpayers about how we’d prefer to pay for government if we don’t like the current level of income taxes,” said Chris Ingstad, president of Iowans for Tax Relief. “The Legislature and the Governor have an opportunity to work together to define a vision for how our entire tax system can be improved in a way that serves the long-term interests of Iowans. We believe the Governor is leading the charge and responding to the needs of Iowans.”

The poll showed that a majority of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents would support, at nearly 60%, a proposal to provide property tax relief by shifting much of Iowa’s mental health funding from county governments to the state government. Less than 18% surveyed were opposed. 

However, capital insiders are skeptical the plan can make it all the way through the legislature this year. The Cedar Rapids Gazette recently published a piece with the headline “Governor Reynolds’ tax plan lacks excitement, momentum” When asked about the article this week, the Governor hit back at critics and the premise that the plan was unpopular or too complicated.

Republican Speaker of the House Speaker Grassley still seems to support the effort. He provided the following statement, “House Republicans are continuing to work through the Governor’s Invest in Iowa plan. We appreciate that she has brought forward a bold initiative but are still reviewing the many pieces involved. We are also continuing to listen to our constituents and gathering feedback from them directly. Just like legislators, there are many different views and ideas from our folks back home on how to move forward. House Republicans are committed to working with Governor Reynolds and the Senate on her proposal.”

The poll was conducted on February 10th through the 13th, 2020. It included 865 respondents. The margin of error was 3.3%.


Photo Credit: “Kim Reynolds” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Gage Skidmore