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House Panel Advances Property Tax Bill To Limit Revenue Growth, Give Voters More Say

iowa capitol
John Pemble
The proposal would limit property tax revenue growth to 2 percent a year. Voters could call for a referendum if a city or county wanted to raise more than that.

An Iowa House panel advanced a proposal Wednesday that is meant to address concerns Republican leaders said they heard from voters about property taxes.

The bill caps property tax revenue growth at 2 percent each year.

If cities and counties want to raise more money than that, they would have to hold a public meeting to hear feedback from residents and property owners before acting. Then residents would have 20 days to file a petition for the city or county to hold a referendum in which voters would be asked to approve any growth above the 2 percent cap.

Kendall Kruse, a Huxley resident, said he supports the bill because rising property taxes are a major concern for him and his wife as they consider buying a house.

“While I do acknowledge that property taxes provide our state and communities with services like education, fire, police, roads, other infrastructure, the rate at which taxes are rising on us feel like they’re getting out of control, and sometimes I feel like they’re getting unchecked,” Kruse said.

Associations representing counties, county supervisors and county auditors oppose the bill.

Lobbyist Lucas Beenken said county supervisors also hear these concerns from voters and don’t enjoy asking friends and neighbors to pay more in property taxes.

“But we live in a society where everyone chips in to pay for those services that people want and depend on,” Beenken said. “So that’s really what the county supervisors are trying to do when they’re asking their friends and neighbors to pay their property taxes.”

Beenken also said a 25 percent cap on funds carried over into the next budget year could lead to cash flow problems. 

Rep. Lee Hein, R-Monticello, said the House Ways and Means Committee would consider the bill soon, along with an amendment that was distributed at Wednesday’s subcommittee meeting. 

Katarina Sostaric is IPR's State Government Reporter