Mayor Ron Corbett of Cedar Rapids spoke to the Polk County Republican Women on Thursday. His message was that he wants Iowans to be a place that can raise people who stay Iowans.
In addition to his role in local government, Corbett is the founder and President of Engage Iowa, a conservative think tank that focuses on economic policy and solutions to water quality issues. Before that, Corbett was the former Speaker of the Iowa House. He then became the CEO and President of the Cedar Rapids Chamber of Commerce.
Mayor Corbett said that the first goal of Engage Iowa was to examine income tax structure.
“I believe that taxes should be fair, simple, and competitive. Iowa has struck out on all three of those measures,” said Corbett. “It fails the fairness test because we have a bell curve that leaves the middle class footing a disproportionate percentage of the bill. It doesn’t pass the simplicity test because of all the complicated forms, bureaucrats, and long waiting periods. You can’t do your own taxes anymore. Instead you have to hire tax attorneys or accountants. Even basic forms require going to websites with confusing instructions to fill out. Furthermore, our tax system is littered with credits and special interest deductions. Finally, Iowa has the fourth highest tax rates in the US-that’s not competitive. We all know someone who lives six months and one day in another state. People are going to states like Florida, Texas, and Arizona because their taxes are better. In other states, they have a higher tax on consumption and a lower tax on income. Iowa is the opposite.”
The second goal of Engage Iowa is improving water quality. “If you are a farmer and want to participate in a conservation program, you can. But you will not be penalized if you don’t. We want annual, sustainable plans that are not dependent on the fluctuations of the farm economy. The best way to keep law suits and the EPA away is to find an Iowa way.”
Looking ahead, Mayor Corbett said that Engage Iowa plans to release an education report in April. He concluded by talking about the importance of working together to accomplish policy goals using the 2008 and 2016 floods in Cedar Rapids as an example of how individuals working together in a community can make a positive difference.
“It’s important to get this message of Iowans working together across the private and public sector to places like the Polk County Republican Women. But we need to get it to Iowans everywhere.”
Polk County Republican Women President Cheryl Weisheit thanked the Mayor of Iowa’s second biggest city for attending their forum which was attended by about 30-40 people. She reminded them of their next event on April 20th with Matt Whitaker.
MacKenzie Dreeszen is a legislative assistant and a political consultant specializing in fundraising.