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As we said in this space in December when Congress was debating tax reform, members of our editorial board believe, as a general principle, in lower taxes for everyone who pays them - individuals, families, businesses - because we believe Americans should keep more of the money they earn.

The same holds true in Iowa.

Of the tax reform plans debated in the Legislature this year, we don't advocate for one over another at this point, but we do support a goal of lowering the tax burden on Iowans.

On this condition.

We believe Republican lawmakers should explain how they intend to pay for whatever plan ultimately emerges from the Statehouse.

To different degrees, tax plans proposed by Gov. Kim Reynolds and lawmakers in the Senate and House will, of course, reduce revenue to the state. Even if tax reform produces economic growth in Iowa, the growth won't happen overnight. In other words, short-term state budgets will need adjustments - perhaps significant adjustments, depending on what plan the governor signs.

Iowa isn't (thankfully) Washington, D.C., where spending more than what the government has and running deficits is common practice.

It's possible the two chambers of the Legislature won't agree on tax reform this year, but let's say they do. And let's say they agree to something closer to what the Senate passed. According to the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency, the Senate bill will reduce revenue $207.8 million for fiscal 2019, $770 million for fiscal 2020, $941.3 million for fiscal 2021, $1.069 billion for fiscal 2022 and $1.163 billion for fiscal 2023.

We don't have a problem with less spending by state government, but we do believe it's reasonable for Iowans to ask Republicans to lay out their budget strategy for loss of those dollars.

Today, not tomorrow.


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