Ames residents share concerns about new sales tax at event with area legislators


Three Ames-area state legislators hosted a “listening post” to hear constituents’ concerns for the 2020 legislative session on Jan. 17 at the Ames Public Library.

Katherine Kealey

Sen. Herman Quirmbach, Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell and Rep. Ross Wilburn met with 26 members of the public for a listening post on constituents’ concerns about the ongoing legislative session.

The event took place in the midst of a snowstorm Friday at the Ames Public Library. The event was open to the public to address any concerns or questions the public may have regarding the 2020 legislative session. 

Issues such as the environment, abortion, health care, education and taxes were mentioned.

Gov. Kim Reynolds delivered her 2020 Condition of the State Address on Tuesday. The governor announced a proposal for a sales tax increase to cover expenses associated with proposals such as increased mental health coverage and the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreational Trust.

Alongside the sales tax increase, Reynolds said in the address she plans to cut income taxes by at least 10 percent. Quirmbach said the sales tax is a regressive tax that hurts people of lower income and called it a “poison pill,” while the income tax benefits the upper class. 

Some constituents were concerned whether the sales tax increase would be enough to cover upcoming expenses, and Quirmbach said he believes the money will have to come from other items in the state budget as well in order to cover the tax cuts.

“It has to come from education and health care,” Quirmbach said. “I will not be supporting any bill that is not revenue neutral; people are willing to pay more to get more, and we should not be messing around with income tax cuts.”

Wessel-Kroeschell said the sales tax is “regressive,” while the income tax is “progressive” and agreed the tax was a “poison pill,” but she said Republicans cannot pass the bill without Democratic votes.

Mike Bryant, a former firefighter and farmland owner, has lived in Ames since 1976. He said he believes more money should be put towards protecting the environment, and those who have damaged it should be taxed as well. 

“I enjoy paying taxes,” Bryant said. “If I am paying taxes I’m doing well.”

Quirmbach said the state cannot afford any more tax cuts and it has lost millions in revenue because of tax cuts.

Wessel-Kroeschell said she was “pleased” with the turnout for the event and discussion at it, and invited those who have concerns to schedule appointments with her to talk about them.

“I love to meet people,” Wessel-Kroeschell said. “It is part of my job to know what they are thinking and what their concerns are about.”