Iowa Legislature should extend sales tax for school infrastructure

December 12, 2018

Iowa schools need certainty about the future of the statewide 1-cent sales tax that generates money to help pay for infrastructure. The Iowa Legislature can provide it by repealing the 2029 sunset on the tax, or, better yet, making the tax permanent. There will never come a day when districts do not need money for building repairs and renovations.

Politicians who advocate making tax cuts permanent say the goal is providing certainty to people and businesses trying to plan for the future. Why isn’t the same philosophy applied to tax increases?

Iowa schools need certainty about the future of the statewide 1-cent sales tax that generates money to help pay for infrastructure. The Iowa Legislature can provide it by repealing the 2029 sunset on the tax, or, better yet, making the tax permanent. There will never come a day when districts do not need money for building repairs and renovations.

This money directly benefits the quality of students’ education in a variety of ways. It allows schools to update facilities such as chemistry and computer labs. It gives growing districts the opportunity to expand classroom space — and hire more teachers from other funding sources — instead of having to increase class sizes. Districts may not have to choose between renovations to improve security and updating textbooks.