A Step in the Right Direction

On Wednesday the House approved House File 697, the omnibus appropriations bill, which is the Republican alternative to break the current budget stalemate. The bill went through a thorough committee process and a public hearing before floor debate and final passage. We’re proud of the finished product, which maintains our strong stand on fiscal responsibility by spending less than $6 billion. It also restores good budgeting practices by increasing transparency and not spending more than the state takes in.

House File 697 is the House Republican attempt to make progress and move forward and even by Thursday, we had accomplished that goal. As early as Thursday morning, we had a productive meeting with the Governor’s office and positive discussions with Senate Democrats, who have now put forth a counter proposal. We are reviewing the details of the plan and are hopeful it is a step in the right direction.

That said, House Republicans maintain resolved to give taxpayers a seat at the table and we will not wavier from our overall spending target of $5.9 billion. Iowans expect us to pass a responsible budget and that is a commitment we will deliver on.

Included in House File 697 is a comprehensive strategy to cut property taxes for all property owners in Iowa.

Part of this plan is to lower property taxes on employers by rolling back their tax burden to 75 percent of assessed value. The Republican plan provides relief to homeowners by strengthening the limit of annual property tax growth and increasing the state portion of the school aid formula – removing a significant amount of school funding levied on the backs of homeowners.

City property taxes in Iowa have risen 74 percent over the last ten years; county property taxes have risen over 64 percent throughout that same period. In the meantime, the Legislature has conducted study after study on the issue, without moving forward on a plan to fix the problem. The time for action is now. Iowans can no longer afford to carry the heavy burden of never ending property tax increases. With over 100,000 Iowans out of work, now is not the time to be timid. We need to give businesses of ALL sizes the impetus to hire without punishing residential taxpayers.

Our budget bill, including the property tax relief portion, has been sent to the Senate for their consideration. We are hopeful that these measures will be acted upon and we can reach agreement soon.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me at kraig.paulsen@legis.state.ia.usor at my office at (515) 281-3521.