As Iowans face economic problems from high gas prices to stagnant wages, Republican candidate Zach Nunn proposed federal tax cuts modeled after Iowa’s as an antidote for inflation.
Nunn met with small business owners Wednesday for a campaign stop in his race against US Rep. Cindy Axe.
He criticized programs like President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” act, which his opponent Axne supported, that included tax changes for corporations and high-income households. Instead, he said he wants to bring Iowa economic policies, like this year’s income tax cut, to Washington.
“The things we have done successfully in Iowa can and should be a playbook for the rest of the country,” Nunn said. “This is something that Iowa can export that we should be very happy about in Washington DC. We can take what works here, and replicate that in our nation’s capital.”
Iowa this year approved a tax cut for individuals and corporations that fiscal estimates project will slash state revenues by nearly $2 billion — more than 20% of the state’s current general fund spending — by the time the law is fully implemented. Nunn did not offer a specific plan for cutting federal taxes.
The Axne campaign did not immediately respond to a message seeking a response.
Nunn, a state senator from Bondurant, said the number one issue he has heard about when out door-knocking is the economy.
“It’s everything not just from like, price of gas, price of gallon of milk, it’s overwhelmingly, ‘Hey, how am I going to be able to afford my rent next month?'” he told reporters.
US inflation reached a 40-year high in June according to the Consumer Price Index, with costs of rent, gas and food increasing. A study by the Iowa Small Towns Project found rural households are hit harder than urban residents.
Nunn said addressing the effects of inflation on Iowa families starts with helping local businesses, as both employers and members of the community themselves. He sat down with small business owners affiliated with the National Federation of Independent Businesses at The Heartland Companies in Des Moines to hear about what problems they were having, and what they’d like to see done.
Multiple owners said their businesses were struggling because of supply chain delays. Lana Pol, who owns several small businesses including Geetings, Inc. & GI Warehouse Corp., a trucking business, said she’s seen the prices for semi-trucks rise drastically while having to wait for two years to get the new equipment.
Pol said she was fortunate to have employees who kept working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, putting her in a better place than many other business owners. The economic issues now are hurting her businesses more than the pandemic did, she said.
“It seems like it’s just getting worse and worse and worse,” Pol said. “We’re probably seeing more issues now than we saw two years ago, when you would’ve thought, when other companies were struggling.”
Nunn said the past three years have been a “constant kick in the teeth” to small businesses. The pandemic destroyed many Main Street businesses, and now supply chain issues and inflation are causing more problems across different industries.
The pandemic was a national health crisis, Nunn said, but now the country faces policy-driven crises. Problems like workforce shortages, government overspending and rising energy costs can be linked directly to bad decision-making in Washington, he said.
Small business owners did not limit themselves to economic issues during the discussion. Several people brought up issues like school choice, supporting law enforcement and immigration during the roundtable discussion as issues they want Congress to act on.
At the beginning of the roundtable event, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) endorsed Nunn. Matt Everson, Iowa State director for the NFIB, said he hopes to see Nunn put both his legislative experience and family history working with small businesses to work in Washington.
“You come from a small business family, so you get it, so you get what creating paychecks takes: taxes and deregulation,” Everson said. “I’m looking forward to getting you into Congress to fight for that.”