Whether it is visiting with a constituent in their home, talking with neighbors at the grocery store, or receiving call or email, one topic is always on the minds of Ankeny residents as well as Iowans from across the state – runaway property taxes.
Rising property taxes are a concern voiced repeatedly to me and my colleagues in the Iowa Senate and House. Iowans should be concerned, especially when it forces our friends, neighbors and family members to make the difficult decision of selling their home because they are literally being taxed out of their homes.
Property tax collections have more than doubled over the last 18 years. These property tax increases resulted in more than $3 billion in collections across Iowa. However, in the same 18 years, the incomes of Iowans rose only 43 percent. Keeping pace with the runaway property tax growth is simply not sustainable for hard-working Iowans and our retirees.
Senate Republicans went into the 2019 Legislative Session with the plan to address skyrocketing property taxes. Property tax reform has been discussed in the Statehouse for more than three decades, yet previous General Assemblies were unable to tackle the issue.
This year, we passed Senate File 634 to slow the growth of property tax increases,improve transparency, and enhance accountability of local governments. Our truth in taxation bill equips Iowans with the information they need to have a greater voice in the budgeting process. Local governments will provide each homeowner the amount of property taxes paid currently and the proposed property taxes for next year accounting for the increase in their property’s assessment.
Another key piece of this law limits the growth of local budgets by limiting tax revenues increases to 2 percent from the previous year. If an increase of more than 2 percent is sought, the local government must approve the levy increase by a two-thirds majority during a public budget hearing.
On May 23rd, I was proud to stand by Governor Reynolds as she signed this important piece of legislation into law. This law is a substantial step in addressing the property tax burden on Iowans. I am proud of this law and pleased that for the first time in decades we have the courage to take action instead kicking that can down the road for future legislatures to handle.