House & Senate GOP closer to deal on property tax plan
DES MOINES — A House committee has unanimously voted for legislation that would prevent the property tax bill on an Iowa residence or ag land from going up more than three percent a year.
Republican Representative Bobby Kaufmann is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. “This is centered around the increase for your actual bill, which is designed to give taxpayers not only predictability but also stop the bleeding for continually increasing property tax bills,” Kaufmann says.
The legislation does have a property improvement exception, so a property tax bill could go up more than three percent if someone spent $100,000 building an addition on a house, for example.
A Senate committee has voted for a three percent cap on most property tax bill increases, but using a slightly different mechanism. Republican Senator Dan Dawson of Council Bluffs — chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee — says he’s talking almost daily with Kaufmann about property tax limitations. “We’re not talking apples and oranges on different topics,” Dawson says. “We’re all in agreement. It’s just kind of working on those details and where we land on in the end.”
The bill that cleared the House Ways and Means Committee also calls for all bond referendums to be decided in November General Elections. It proposes a reduction in the local school district levy — replacing over $200 million in property taxes with state tax revenue.
Representative Dave Jacoby of Coralville says Democrats on the committee voted for the overall package. “The property tax affects every single person in the state of Iowa and we like what we see,” Jacoby says.
But Jacoby says Democrats would like to see some assurances that the state would be required to provide local school districts with that $200 million every year, to avoid budget woes for public schools.