Iowa business interests push tax changes

2013-12-11T19:30:00Z 2013-12-12T07:31:18Z Iowa business interests push tax changesROD BOSHART Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier

DES MOINES | Iowa’s big-city business leaders Wednesday called for a simpler, flatter income tax and a higher gas tax to help fix roads and bridges.

Leaders of the Iowa Chamber Alliance, representing business interests in the state’s 16 largest urban areas, say Iowa’s complicated income tax system for individuals and corporations is hard to explain to businesses looking to locate in the state.

Deteriorating infrastructure also hurts business recruitment efforts, the said in outlining their priorities for the 2014 legislative session.

“Iowa’s road system requires immediate attention,” said Kelly Halstead, economic development director for the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance. She said her nonpartisan group supports new or alternative sources of revenue, including a fuel tax increase.

Alliance leaders also said they support efforts to simplify and reduce income taxes, allowing businesses and individuals to choose to file under the current system or to use a filing alternative that would be simpler, with lower rates and fewer deductions.

Steve Firman, director of government relations for the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber in Waterloo-Cedar Falls, said Iowa ranked 40th among states in the Tax Foundation’s 2014 tax climate comparisons because it’s difficult to explain the complexity of federal deductibility that skews Iowa’s true rates.

“In economic development, if you’re explaining, you’re losing,” Firman said.

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