Taxation was the main topic of discussion at the monthly Chamber legislative forum. Rep. Tom Sands, chair of the House Ways and Means committee joined Senator Rich Taylor and Rep. Dave Heaton Saturday at the IWC library for the event moderated by Jan Towne. Sands talked about his support for an alternative income tax that allows the taxpayer to chose how to file. The alternative would be a flat 4 and a half percent. Heaton questioned how this fits with the governor’s tax proposal and Sands replied that there would have to be some negotiation but the most important thing it will do is start the discussion of how to make Iowa’s income tax simpler. Senator Taylor spoke in favor of a tax credit as a way to provide some commercial property tax relief. He said it would help those smaller Main Street businesses and would be fair and affordable. Taylor and Heaton agreed that across the board cuts, like those made by Culver aren’t good because cities and counties never seem to get the back fill funding that is promised. Rep Heaton is always concerned about cuts because they are usually made in the areas he works on such as human services. He expressed concern that the state government has never gotten the state back to the service level it was at before tough times. He said he wants a more efficient effective government. Rep. Sands insisted that money is being used by the government to grow parts of government that we have no business growing, he wants to see money given back to the state’s residents to use. A forum attendee pointed out that there is a tax discussion every year but nothing seems to help and suggested a comprehensive look at the state code by a bipartisan committee. Sands replied that Iowa’s tax system has been studied to death and now its time to act. He said the problem is not everyone has the same focus when it comes to taxes.