By Senator Paul McKinley, Iowa Senate Republican Leader
Are you sitting down? If not, you may want to brace yourself.
Iowans in every corner of the state are opening their mailboxes to find their property tax bills – and they are not happy with the massive tax increases courtesy of Governor Culver and the Culver Democrats in the Legislature.
If you have not yet received your notice, there is a good chance it is on its way soon.
Senate Republicans have spent the last few years warning Iowans that the reckless budgeting, irresponsible spending and debt will lead to higher property taxes. Time and again, our predictions have proven to be accurate.
According to a detailed analysis of Iowa’s property tax situation, Governor Culver’s actions have lead to a property tax shift over the last four years of $526.9 million dollars.
Culver campaigned four years ago that he would do something about Iowa’s high and burdensome property taxes – and he did. But it wasn’t what Iowans expected.
He made the situation worse.
Nearly a year ago, he made his 10 percent across-the-board reduction after three years of unsustainable spending and irresponsible budgeting. Hundreds of millions of dollars were slashed from Iowa’s schools, a gaping divide was left between the money schools had to spend and the budget their local school boards had approved and property taxes increased.
But this issue is more than just about school funding and property taxes. It is also about jobs. With some of the highest property tax rates in the country already, Governor Culver’s property tax increase makes Iowa even less competitive when it comes to attracting and keeping employers and entrepreneurs who are the job creators we need to grow our state.
Culver’s property tax increase is just the latest barrier to job creation at a time when we have over 113,800 Iowans unemployed along with many who are underemployed and have stopped looking. Just last week, Iowa’s unemployment rate jumped another tenth of a percent higher to 6.8 percent – a level that continues to be unacceptably high.
Last year alone, Iowa lost 222 manufacturing plants and 23,000 factory jobs. Two-thirds of Iowa counties lost population because of a lack of jobs.
Culver’s tax increases are leaving taxpayers with less in their wallets at a time when our economy is already struggling to recover. Even Iowans who rent will likely have the added tax expenses passed down to them by their landlords.
Like the current governor, many legislative Democrats campaigned as conservatives promising to hold the line on spending, reduce taxes and focus on jobs – but once elected – showed their true colors as spend and tax Culver Democrats who have not moved Iowa forward.
As Senate Republicans, we believe its not just okay to talk the talk – we must walk the walk and really get serious about broad-based property tax relief.
Iowans are ready to embrace a positive agenda that focuses on real property tax relief, responsible budgeting and fostering a climate where private sector job creation can flourish. If given the opportunity to lead, Senate Republicans pledge to make those issues our chief focus.