DES MOINES — House Democratic Leader Jennifer Konfrst says the 2024 Iowa legislature should focus on improving access to child care and affordable housing rather than another round of tax cuts.
“What does an Iowa family of four who’s a middle class family just trying to make their way in the world, what does their budget look like on July 1 versus June 30 and what have we done in the legislature to address in a way that’s truly meaningful and not just headline grabbing?” Konfrst asks.
The state income tax accounts for about 46% of current state revenue. Republicans are considering getting rid of the state’s personal income tax and Konfrst says that’s a non-starter with Democrats. “What really lowers costs for families? The past tax cuts that Republicans have passed have really been great for special interests, for big corporations and for the richest Iowans,” Konfrst says. “500,000 Iowans haven’t seen a dime from the tax cuts, so if there are going to be tax cuts, we need to make sure they’re targeted at middle and lower income families.”
Konfrst says the latest data shows Iowa will be short 25,000 housing units by the end of the decade and it’s time for the state to be more creative in supporting affordable housing. “What can we do in small communities to ensure that existing housing stock can be rehabilitated in a way that lets families move in and have starter homes in these communities? What can we do to provide incentives for (home) building?” Konfrst asks.
She says Democrats also support zoning changes and incentives that would help convert vacant commercial space into housing. The 2024 Iowa legislature convenes Monday.