As the 2023 Iowa legislature enters its 13th week, Republicans in the House and Senate have yet to agree on a property tax reduction plan.
Sen. Dawson Sponsors 3 Different Bills
Senator Dan Dawson, chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, has sponsored three different bills on the subject. Dawson believes that something will get done this session, and while the House is looking at debt, the Senate is focused on assessments.
Assessments are naturally going up because the sale prices of homes and farmland have gone up over the past few years, but lawmakers are discussing ways to limit how much city and county property tax collections may grow annually, according to an article published in Radio Iowa.
Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver has said that there is nothing wrong with an assessment going up, but the problem arises when it results in higher property taxes. The lawmakers are looking at the formula and the rollbacks and ensuring that cities are only taxing what they need to.
One of Dawson’s proposals would consolidate most local government operations under one general property tax levy, getting rid of special levies. This would give locals more responsibility and accountability in how they budget.
Common Ground for Democrats and Republicans
Senator Pam Jochum of Dubuque, the top Democrat on the Senate’s tax policy committee, is optimistic that Republicans and Democrats can find common ground on a property tax reduction plan. Jochum believes that the property tax system is probably the most complicated of all the tax systems they have in Iowa, and it’s essential to figure out how it works and ensure that the tax burden is not shifted onto somebody else.
House Republicans have introduced a bill that would lower the property tax levy for state school funding and have the state cover a larger share of local public school budgets.
It would also require schools to use cash reserves or other sources to come up with 10% of a construction project’s cost before asking voters to approve borrowing money for the project. House Speaker Pat Grassley has acknowledged that House and Senate Republicans are not close to agreeing on a common approach to property tax adjustments.