Sioux City officials meet with state legislators to discuss tax policy

Published: Jan. 7, 2022 at 6:46 PM CST
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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - The city wants to keep businesses coming in.

But to do that, they have to tackle issues like affordable housing, the workforce and taxes. On the housing front, city council members discussed tax incentives to build new housing or forgivable loans to Iowans who agree to stay in the area for a certain number of years. Both the legislators and council members agreed there’s no clear solution, which could make passing meaningful change difficult.

“We’ve got a lot of momentum going right now. We’ve been very successful, and we want to keep going with that momentum with that success. And I think today’s meeting was very productive,” said Dan Moore, a city council member.

Like many other cities, Sioux City has struggled to retain workers. Council members brought up pay and other factors, but the legislature is wrapped in discussions about the federal “vaccine or test” mandate.

One Republican representative says he doesn’t want to see the Iowa General Assembly passed a law forbidding vaccine mandates - but he doesn’t like that the federal government instituted one at all. While a Democratic Senator says she understands why the mandate was created.

“I think that they need to be allowed to determine what’s best for their business and their employees. Understanding that, you know, they might lose employees either way, and we’re in a very tight job market. But I think that’s a decision that needs to be left up to them,” said Rep. Jacob Bossman, a Sioux City Republican.

“So I understand the reasoning behind wanting to get people vaccinated. I think all of this legislation placates a very small amount of people that are extreme, said Sen. Jackie Smith.

For her part, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds says the General Assembly shouldn’t act on its bill until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the legality of the mandate.

Tax Incremental Financing - or “TIF” - is an important way Sioux City raises money for special projects. Tax policy was also a focal point of the discussions this morning. Council Members urged the legislature not to change the laws surrounding TIFS, which is often discussed in the General Assembly because some legislators would like any TIFS passed by cities to have a sunset clause.

Both Bossman and Smith seemed to agree with the council that the law should not be changed.

“And especially out here in Sioux City, when we’re far away from Des Moines, where people kind of sometimes forget about us, the people in Des Moines, we really do a good job of, of knowing what our needs are and advocating for them,” said Sen. Smith.

“So I think it’s something that works really well. When done properly. We have a situation just like with a lot of programs, state and federal where some people are misusing it, everybody gets kind of squeezed because of that, but in this area has always been used very responsibly,” said Rep. Bossman.

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