An Iowa House member isn’t doing any favors for his father. Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, R-Wilton, who succeeded his father in the Johnson-Cedar County legislative district, is proposing that the state stop collecting voluntary contributions to the state Democratic and Republican parties from Iowa income taxpayers. Kaufmann’s dad, Jeff Kaufmann, is the chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa. “My dad can raise his own money,” the younger Kaufmann said Wednesday after the House Ways and Means Committee approved his plan on a party-line vote. The income tax checkoff doesn’t raise a lot of money — $72,797 in 2016, but it allows Iowans, especially low-income Iowans, to make a contribution toward the political process, Rep. John Forbes, D-Des Moines, said in opposing the bill during the committee meeting.
“This gives them the opportunity to say that they may have made a little bit of difference,” he said. Forbes acknowledged that to some degree, the checkoff that funnels $1.50 into the political party fund creates a “feel-good factor for Iowans to know they have that option to contribute in their small way.”
Political parties make it easy to contribute, Kaufmann said, and he doesn’t think the government should be involved in raising money for two political parties.
By limiting the income tax checkoff to the Democratic and Republicans parties state government is “inherently disenfranchising” people who are independent or favor other parties, such as Greens and Libertarians, he said.