State Income Tax Reduction, Property Tax Transparency is a Must – Newton Daily News
Editor’s Note: The following is the first of four articles detailing the points of interest and goals of local lawmakers representing Jasper County as they enter the next legislative session. The Iowa Legislature is currently scheduled to meet on January 10, 2022.
Several issues are on the agenda of Iowa State Representative Jon Dunwell, R-Newton, as he begins his first full legislative session next year, including: improving transparency property taxes, reducing state income taxes, renewable energy policies, addressing workforce issues and mental health issues. health, among others.
Representing Iowa House District 29, Dunwell was only recently elected to the post in an October special election when former Rep. Wes Breckenridge resigned his seat. Dunwell had previously campaigned for the district in 2020. House District 29 represents most of Jasper County.
Dunwell has already voted on a few bills and amendments for the legislature, including the second redistribution map that will be in place after the 2022 election cycle. Jasper County will be rediscovered into two residential districts and a senatorial district. Until then, Dunwell will serve voters in House District 29.
Committees served by Dunwell include: local government, transportation, environmental protection, and administrative and regulatory credits.
REDUCING THE STATE TAX ON INCOME
Efforts to reduce the state’s income tax are driven in part by the surplus of more than $ 1.2 billion, which Dunwell says must go to taxpayers. For the Republican lawmaker, reducing state income tax is a top priority and he believes legislation will be proposed in this next session that he will support.
“We would build on the four different tax brackets and then make everyone experience a reduction in the percentage they would pay for income tax,” he said. “We’re really looking for something that is going to be quick and easy, something that is going to return that billion dollars to the taxpayer.”
Something that doesn’t raise someone else’s taxes to lower someone else’s taxes and maybe do away with any kind of tax town that is winners and losers, Dunwell added. He also believes, according to the projections he has seen, that some of these surpluses will be maintained.
“As we look to cut taxes, we must keep in mind that we will continue – and we have continued to do so over the past 10 years – to invest in education,” he said. . “Over the past 10 years, Republicans have beaten the pace of inflation to ensure that we continue to properly fund our public schools. “
TRANSPARENCY OF THE PROPERTY TAX
Prior to becoming a lawmaker, Dunwell had frequently raised his concerns about the transparency of property taxes with city councils, the county supervisory board and school boards in Jasper County. Now he’s bringing this discussion to the Iowa Legislature. Dunwell said he had no problem with property taxes.
“But I really believe there needs to be more transparency in property taxes,” he said. “So the truth about taxation is an important question. It’s more of a process than it says, “We’re just going to allow the state, counties, and schools to do X.” We want to continue to think about ways to create greater transparency. “
This ensures that taxpayers really understand the links between levies and assessments and what government authorities are doing in terms of the taxes they levy on citizens for the services they provide, Dunwell added. Overall, he wants to make the process accessible and transparent to the voter.
GIVE ETHANOL ITS FAIR SHOT
Dunwell also has a “personal goal” when it comes to Iowa’s environment and energy policies, and he wants to make sure ethanol is part of a “big picture.” He hopes ethanol will be treated fairly alongside other renewable energy sources, which can also greatly benefit farmers.
“We know ethanol is good for the farmer in Iowa and for Jasper County,” he said. “… This is part of what I call the ‘big deal’ when it comes to doing what we can to protect our environment while creating more and more energy independence. “
Dunwell is curious how the Iowa Legislature will approach the state’s workforce struggles. Looking through the job market and talking to business leaders, the workforce is a huge problem, he said, due to the “demographic changes” exasperated by the pandemic and the Iowa’s growing problems.
“The workforce needs to come at the forefront of how we can develop our workforce,” Dunwell said. “I think our tax policy has an impact on this. But I look forward to having good discussions and dialogues to understand what else we can do. “
It is not a simple problem, he added, and it is not a problem that can be fixed quickly.
As Dunwell continues to engage with law enforcement and other community leaders, he noticed that there were still gaps in the mental health system that needed to be addressed. Many of these holes deal with the complex mental health issues of people, which may not belong to places like prison or may have other illnesses as well.
“We still have to figure out how to plug this hole and make sure our law enforcement and others working in this area have a resource on how to deal with what we call ‘complex issues’,” said Dunwell, noting no we want people in hospitals or in jail unnecessarily.
LOCAL COLLABORATION WITH IDOT
From a more hyper-local perspective, Dunwell worked with the Jasper County Treasurer’s Office to hopefully work with the Iowa Department of Transportation to strike a potential 28E deal, which could bring the commercial driver’s license and clearing the backlog in the Des Moines area. .
“(I like) to offer five slots here per week that we could potentially fill, and that’s led by our Treasurer Doug Bishop. He’s sort of leading this charge and brought me in. We’re in a conversation right now with DOT to see what that might look like, ”Dunwell said.
Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or [email protected]