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Iowa lawmakers look to extend tax holiday and add emergency preparedness items to list


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The Iowa Sales Tax Holiday sits on the first Friday and Saturday of August each year. Items that can be bought tax free include clothing and school supplies. Some Iowa lawmakers are looking to expand that list.

House File 2563/Senate File 604 would extend the tax holiday one extra day to include Sunday and allow emergency preparedness items to be purchased tax free. These items include, but are not limited to, generators, batteries, duct tape, and tarps.

“Iowa is no stranger to severe weather events," said Lucas Beenken, Iowa State Association of Counties Public Policy Specialist. “It’s probably a matter of when it effects them, not if it effects them, so we want individuals to be prepared for those emergency events."

Iowa has experienced 67 federal natural disasters total with 45 of those happening in the last 30 years. Brenda Leonard, Jones County Emergency Management Coordinator, feels that this bill will help educate Iowans on the importance of being prepared before a disaster strikes.

“We’ve actually found that for every dollar spent before a disaster saves six dollars in recovery," said Leonard. “I think it’s just a win win for everybody."

State Representative Joe Mitchell (R) introduced the bill and has been lobbying for it ever since.

"The emergency management folks in each county brought this to our attention that this would be well worth our time as a legislature to pass," said Mitchell.

Currently, there are no lobbyist declarations against the bill. However, Beeken recognizes that many may be concerned about the loss of tax revenue if an extra day and more items are added.

“It’s only going to cost a couple million dollars projection. So I think sacrificing those additional dollars to the state is worth it when we’re talking about Iowans lives," said Mitchell.

Currently, the bill has made it through the Ways and Means Committee in the House, but not the senate. It is eligible for debate on the house floor. Mitchell is working to get it to that point.

“I think that everyone kind of realizes the value that this bill brings to the table," he said.

If the bill passes, Iowa would join four other states, including Alabama, Texas, Virginia, and Florida, that already have emergency preparedness items as a part of their tax holiday.

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There is not set date on when this bill could be debated or passed.

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