As Iowa rushes to pass yet another narrowly-targeted tax break, Iowa’s legislators would be wise to ponder this from Roseanne Altshuler at TaxVox:
We seem to have forgotten that the fundamental purpose of our tax system is to raise revenue to fund government. The current system is riddled with tax provisions that favor one activity over another or provide targeted tax benefits to a limited number of taxpayers. Whether permanent or temporary, these provisions create complexity, impose enormous compliance costs, breed perceptions of unfairness, create opportunities to manipulate rules to avoid tax, and lead to an inefficient use of our economic resources. The tax code has become less stable, increasingly unpredictable, and more and more difficult for taxpayers to understand.
While she is talking about the federal income tax, it all applies just as much here in Iowa. But it is hoping for way too much to expect wisdom under the domes.
Related: The Quick and Dirty Iowa Tax Reform.