ITR: Legislators need to focus on taxpayer issues

Income TaxBy Iowans for Tax Reform


The 2015 Legislative session met another important milestone last week with the completion of the second funnel deadline.  The second funnel usually marks the point in the session when Legislators get serious about priorities and it becomes clearer what legislation has a serious chance of becoming law and what will fall by the wayside for the year.

The second funnel, like the first, is a procedural deadline Legislators impose on themselves to help them focus on bills that may have enough support to pass through both chambers.  In order for any bill to be eligible for consideration after the second funnel deadline, it must have passed through a Committee in both the Senate and House by Friday last week.  All bills that passed on the House floor must have been passed by a Senate Committee, and vice versa, in order to still be alive for this Legislative session.

There are exceptions to the second funnel as there are to the first.  A major exception to both deadlines is that Ways and Means and Appropriations bills are exempt from the funnel.  Nearly all legislation on taxes, spending, and debt must go through one of these two Committees in each chamber.  This means that taxpayer-concerned bills often take a back seat to other bills that have to meet the deadline during funnel weeks.

With the second and last funnel deadline completed for this session, Legislators should now be able to spend more time focusing on the budget and other taxpayer issues.  We hope Legislators will soon begin to debate budget bills in Committee and then on the floor, and the major decisions that affect your taxes can start to move forward.

However, more often than not the coming weeks can be a time when the session slows down as leadership in the Senate and House try to reach agreements on the more contentious budget issues.  Iowans for Tax Relief will be watching carefully and working hard to win a pro-taxpayer budget.

We also urge pro-taxpayer Legislators, especially in the House, to take up important taxpayer issues such as across-the-board income tax cuts, increasing the exemption for retirement income, and offering taxpayers a choice between the current Iowa income tax system and a new flat-rate income tax option.  We are always on guard to protect your right to deduct all your federal income tax payments on your Iowa income tax return.  We insist: no tax on a tax!

We hope each of you had a wonderful Easter weekend celebrating and reflecting with family and friends.  Happy Easter Monday!