Tax Rates Never Sleep

Iowa must continue to improve tax rates to make the state more attractive to firms and employees seeking to relocate.

As Iowans wrapped up their New Year’s celebrations in January, they were greeted by a new tax code with lower income tax rates for families and businesses.  With even more tax cuts scheduled, and a  complete elimination being considered, Iowa’s lawmakers are steadily improving our state’s tax climate.  When considering the top corporate income tax rate, Iowa has moved from the highest rate in the country (50th) at 12.00 percent in 2018, to a better, but still high rate of 8.40 percent (41st) in 2023.  Similarly, Iowa’s individual income tax rate has moved from 8.98 percent (46th) in 2018, to 6.00 percent (33rd) this year.

While Iowa and its leaders have rightly been celebrated for their tax reform efforts, we can’t become complacent.  Our neighboring states have not been standing pat in the wake of Iowa’s progress, with Missouri and Nebraska delivering corporate tax cuts over the past five years, too.  As the chart below illustrates, four of our six neighboring states still offer corporations a lower tax rate than Iowa does.

Source: Tax Foundation

Missouri and Nebraska have also reduced their individual tax rates since 2018, while Illinois and South Dakota have kept their rates below Iowa’s.  Though we have been able to leapfrog Wisconsin, the Badger State is discussing major reforms.  The additional rate reductions that are being phased in for Iowa are good policy and they will continue to make us more competitive within the Midwest and in comparison to the rest of the country.

Source: Tax Foundation

It is likely that many factors, but especially technology, will only increase the number of individuals and businesses who are willing to pull up their stakes and relocate.  States need to do all they can to be an attractive landing place for firms and employees.  Offering a chance for a healthier bottom-line through lower tax rates is a good starting point for Iowa.

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