Iowa Condition of the State: Governor calls for sales tax increase, other tax cuts

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds declared the state as strong, proposing a bill to fund increased spending on water quality, the environment and mental health care programs.
Kim Reynolds

DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is asking lawmakers to consider a bill increasing the state sales tax by 1 cent to fund increased spending on water quality, the environment and mental health care programs.

To offset the tax increase she’s proposing an income tax cut of 10% and a property tax cut. Reynolds made the proposals in her annual Condition of the State address delivered to lawmakers Tuesday.

The bill, dubbed the ‘Invest in Iowa Act’, will specifically help fund the $100 million Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust. Reynolds’ budget also includes an additional $20 million for flood relief.

“We were given this beautiful land to work, but also to keep,” Reynolds said in the address. “Preserving what we’ve been given must be a responsibility of all Iowans.”

Reynolds said the formula for the 2010 trust fund is outdated and more money will be allocated toward water quality and conservation.

Again calling for a constitutional amendment to allow felons to vote upon completing their sentences, Reynolds introduced William Burt of Waterloo. The governor said she recently restored Burt’s voting rights to a standing ovation.

“You cannot imagine the gratitude and dignity Iowans like William feel when they are told they can once again exercise what  Ronald Reagan called ‘the crown jewel of American liberties,'” Reynolds said. “Together we can help put returning citizens on a path to redemption. We can help them become productive members of society, reduce recidivism and make our communities a safer place.”

This is Reynolds’ third Condition of the State address. She again called for an amendment declaring there is no right to an abortion under the Iowa Constitution.

Republicans maintain control of the governorship, Iowa House and Senate.

This article includes reporting from the AP.