We need to oppose the push by various Iowa public school supporters to extend the state-wide one-cent sales tax that is used for infrastructure and technology: (“Advocates hope to extend tax for schools” 7/30/2018 – see link below.) The original local option taxes that started in 1998 were supposed to expire after 10 years. Then, in 2008, the Iowa Legislature expanded the tax to the entire state and extended it for 20-years – to expire in 2029. Now, school sales tax advocates want to extend the state-wide tax for an additional 20 years!
Taxpayers might ask why anyone would want to extend the tax now, since the current tax doesn’t expire until more than 10 years from now. The answer is that many school districts have already borrowed against and spent the not-yet-collected future taxes. They did this by issuing bonds and pledging the future taxes as security.
It is understandable that people may want to fund school infrastructure with a sales tax rather than a property tax. But it is not clear that all that every school district in Iowa needs the additional revenue. We need to let the current tax expire in 2029 and then give local school districts a local option if citizens feel the additional tax is really needed.