By Kraig Paulsen, Iowa House Republican Leader
This weekend I was on the Iowa Public Television program, Iowa Press, with Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. We discussed several issues that are before the legislature (you can click here to watch it online or read the transcript).
One of the questions asked was what will the 2010 legislative session be remembered for? I believe Iowans will remember this session as the one that significantly increased their property taxes. Regrettably, Iowans will soon experience for themselves an additional financial hardship imposed upon them by the decisions of Governor Culver and his Democrat-controlled legislature.
Specifically, the governor and legislative Democrats underfunded the state’s commitments to K-12 education, mental health and property tax credits. That means Iowans’ property taxes are going up and every Iowan will soon realize it when their property tax bills land in their mail box. Because the payment of property taxes begins 18 months following the assessment date, I am further concerned that they will continue to climb over the next several years.
In Fiscal Year 2010, the governor underfunded K-12, mental health and property tax credits by roughly $250 million. For Fiscal Year 2011, they’re underfunding K-12 by approximately $160 million. I have stated for several years now that Governor Culver and legislative Democrats have passed irresponsible and unsustainable budgets. Now Iowans property taxes will balloon by as much as $250 million, with an additional $160 million right around the corner.
I’ve stated numerous times that we should not balance the budget on the backs of Iowans. Now is a time when we should be lessening the burdens on taxpayers, not making it more difficult to pay the bills. We must be sensible with taxpayers’ money and instead of raising taxes to pick up the government’s tab, we should be prioritizing and eliminating the spending that is of marginal or no benefit to Iowans.