Getting into the business of raising honeybees would get a little easier under legislation that has advanced in the Iowa House.
To address a decline in the pollinator's population, lawmakers want to exempt the purchase of honeybees from the state sales tax. They say that will encourage hobbyists to raise more bees.
Keokuk Democrat Jerry Kearns opposes the bill.
“First off, let me tell you I’m not a honeybee hater,” Kearns says. “But taking the sales tax off of honeybees is not going to help at all.”
Kearns says the tax break might encourage a few more people to raise bees, but the bees themselves won’t benefit.
“What we should be doing is increasing our investment at Iowa State or some other universities on the disease that’s causing the decline of the honeybee in our environment,” Kearns says.
The House Ways and Means Committee approved the bill by a vote of 22 to 1 with Kearns the only no vote.
The bill, which was introduced by Representative Pat Grassley, chair of the House Agriculture Committee, now goes to the full House for debate.
Officials estimate the bill would reduce tax collections by less than $100,000 a year.