Our neighbors to the south in Iowa don’t exactly have a reputation for stoicism, thanks to the quadrennial presidential caucuses, but they’re not exactly known as radicals, either. Fellow Midwesterners like myself will be surprised to see Iowans this agitated over something other than a populist politician making a bungee visit during primary season. In fact, they got so angry over the state legislature’s consideration of a new tax on tax that the legislature cleared the chambers rather than listen to more protests:
More than 500 people who are upset with a plan to change Iowa’s tax laws were cleared from a hearing tonight at the Iowa House after they interrupted multiple times.
House Speaker Pat Murphy, D-Dubuque, cleared the crowd at about 8:30 p.m. The decision brought about loud protests as the crowd was escorted from the chambers by Iowa State Patrol officers.
“This is the most atrocious thing I’ve seen in the history of the 15 years I’ve been a lobbyist. Pat Murphy has acted like a jack-booted Nazi,” said Ed Failor Jr., president of Iowans for Tax Relief, a conservative taxpayers’ rights group from Muscatine with 50,000 members.
Iowa wants to end their rather unique tax policy of federal deductability. Iowans pay state taxes on income after deducting what they pay Uncle Sam in income tax. I’m not aware of other states that allow this; I know for certain that neither California, Arizona, nor Minnesota have this policy from first-hand experience. Iowa Democrats want to raise almost $600 million in new revenues from this policy, although now they say they want to provide balancing tax cuts for most income brackets.
Needless to say, Iowans are not impressed with this logic, especially in a recession that has hit their state hard already. With seasonal flooding affecting businesses on top of the economic turndown, protestors demanded an end to tax increases, especially on taxes on money Iowans don’t keep anyway. The bigger issue now though isn’t the tax per se, but the fact that their political elite just booted them out of the hearing for expressing their anger.
The “jack-booted Nazi” remark is complete hyperbole, but one does have to wonder why Iowa legislators seemed more interested in hearing themselves talk than their constituents. It may be a while before they have to face the voting public for re-election, but don’t expect Iowans to forget this insult.