Students say possible new tax policy won’t make them stay in Iowa

by Kate Wall

Opinions are mixed on Simpson’s campus about the economic growth plan revealed by Senate Republicans at the Iowa State Legislature.

In an attempt to attract more young people to the state and reverse the trend of young Iowans leaving, the plan includes a piece that says Iowans under 30 years old would pay no state income taxes.

“I think it’s a good thing,” Frank Colella, professor of economics said. “The goal is to keep the younger, well-educated in Iowa – that’s a good thing.”

Simpson graduate Aubrey Bockwoldt, ’03, agrees.

“I think it is a good idea,” Bockwoldt said. “For people just starting out, the extra money would be nice. So many people under 30 are struggling to get their feet under them.”

However, other students aren’t sure about how much the tax exemption would play into their decision to stay in Iowa or not after graduation.

“It would have to be a significant difference to make me stay,” senior Kyle Hanson said. “I’m not sure where the money would come from. They would have to significantly cut something else or raise the taxes for people over 30. Overall, the tax credit wouldn’t be a major factor in me deciding to stay in Iowa.”

Others share Hanson’s feelings.

Senior Deborah Johnsen thinks the tax credit wouldn’t be a deciding factor unless she was deciding between jobs in comparable cities, one in Iowa and one out of the state.

“It sounds like a good idea, but it sounds too good to be true,” Johnsen said.

According to Colella, the possible tax increase for those over 30 would be manageable.

“If people stay in-state and continue to after the age of 30, the tax increases wouldn’t be huge because there would be more people to pay taxes,” Colella said.

The reasons to stay in Iowa after college vary for each student. Bockwoldt said she stayed in Iowa to teach because of her family and her teaching job.

“By me teaching in Iowa, some of my loans are forgiven,” Bockwoldt said. “That has a big pull on me staying in Iowa.”

Simpson graduate Teresa Kreykes, ’03, spent a semester at a graduate school in Illinois but has recently returned to Iowa.

Kreykes works as the administrative software support specialist for information services on campus.

“[The tax credit] would be nice now, but it wouldn’t be the only reason I would stay,” Kreykes said.

Colella said there are possible alternatives if the economic plan proposed by the Senate Republicans on Jan. 25 doesn’t pass through the state legislature.

“The state could forgive or make payments on loans for those willing to stay in Iowa,” Colella said.

According to the front-page article from the Jan. 26 edition of The Des Moines Register, the economic-development plan proposed by the Senate Republicans is just one option the state legislature is looking at. There are still other plans from other groups to consider.

“[The Senate Republican’s economic plan] is sensible and worth looking at,” Colella said. “The debt relief would be a good idea, and there is a likelihood it could pass.”