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Iowa Watchdog

Iowans, celebrate your ‘tax freedom’ on Sunday

4/11/2014

DES MOINES, Iowa — Forget about 13 being unlucky. April 13 is a lucky day for Iowans this year. It’s Tax Freedom Day.

Tax Freedom Day is the creation of the Tax Foundation, a Washington, D.C., nonpartisan think tank. Every year the Tax Foundation calculates the date by which the average person has earned enough money to pay his or her total tax bill for the year.

TAX FREEDOM DAY: April 13 is Tax Freedom Day this year in Iowa, according to the Tax Foundation.

TAX FREEDOM DAY: April 13 is Tax Freedom Day this year in Iowa, according to the Tax Foundation.

But before anyone gets too excited about the idea you’ll soon be working for yourself, instead of working to pay the taxman, remember that others are working on new ways to tax you.

Just this week, the Iowa State Senate passed a bill making it easier for Des Moines to impose a one-cent increase in sales tax.

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In Iowa, cities have the option of adding one cent to the state sales tax. But to do so, the entire county in which that city is located must vote in favor of the increase in a referendum.

Des Moines has never been able to convince the rest of Polk County to vote for its tax. Senate File 2238 eliminates the need for countywide approval in Polk and Dallas counties.

City leaders anticipate a one-cent sales tax increase would generate millions for Des Moines, but haven’t yet put forward specific plans on how it would be spent.

Gretchen Tegeler, executive director of the Taxpayers Association of Central Iowa, is concerned about where that additional money would go.

“Very often any increase in tax revenue will go directly into public sector salary and benefit increases rather than actual service improvements,” Tegeler told Iowa Watchdog. “We need to get those spending drivers under control. Until we do that, there will be no limit to tax increases.”

Just something to remember on Tax Freedom Day.

Contact Paul Brennan at pbrennan@watchdog.org. This story originally appeared on Watchdog.org.

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