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By State Representative Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha)

The second week of the 2012 session is complete and there are several bills moving through committees that will help put Iowans back to work and give the taxpayers a seat at the table.

Over the last two years, there has been a lot of discussion about reforming Iowa’s property tax system – a task imperative to strengthening the economy and putting Iowans back to work. Iowa’s current property tax system is an impediment to economic growth. Our uncompetitive property tax system is a burden to job creators and prohibits employers of all sizes from expanding, hiring or locating to Iowa.

House Republicans are committed to giving the hardworking taxpayers of Iowa more of their money back. We will work to deliver significant tax relief and reform to all Iowa property tax payers.

Out-of-control tax hikes are hurting Iowa families. Over the last ten years, school rates have increased 60 percent, county rates have increased 64 percent and city rates have gone up 74 percent. Over the same time period, Iowans’ personal income only grew by 46 percent. This kind of growth is not sustainable. In fact, if we do nothing, the hardworking taxpayers of Iowa are starring down the barrel of a $2.3 billion property tax increase over the next 10 years, with the majority of that falling to homeowners.

Many legislators talk tough about reducing property taxes on the campaign trail but when they get to Des Moines they refuse to address and tackle the big problem. Last year, House Republicans took the lead on this issue and sent two proposals to the Senate. They still remain in the Senate and can be considered this year. This task is not easy but we must break with the past and develop bold and significant solutions.

One key to the House Republicans’ plan is to ensure that one group of taxpayers is not pitted against the other. ALL Iowans deserve to realize property tax relief. Additionally, we must not shift the burden to any one class of property. Doing nothing or only providing tax credits to the commercial property taxpayer, as proposed last year by the Senate Democrats will cause a significant shift of tax burden onto homeowners. House Republicans will fight for genuine reform that addresses all classes and provides long-term solutions.

Also this week, the Legislature received the Condition of the National Guard by Major General Tim Orr.

Maj. General Orr indicated that Iowa’s Guard is still “Mission Focused and Warrior Ready.” He also highlighted the fact that since 2001, the Guard does not have any units currently deployed overseas. Iowa’s servicemen and women are the bravest in the world and we are proud of all of their efforts. It’s good to have them home.

Kraig Paulsen represents Iowa House District 35 and is Speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives

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