Letter to the Editor

Iowans for Tax Relief Q & A

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Who controls your property tax bill?

The county assessor does NOT determine your bill. Members of your city council, the county board of supervisors and school boards have the largest impact on your final bill when they set their budgets. Property taxes are complicated, but the basic formula is simple: assessed value multiplied by rate equals your bill. When a community's total property value increases and levy rates are not reduced, local government revenue increases automatically — and, so does your tax bill.

Doesn't Iowa have a new property tax transparency law?

Yes, earlier this year Governor Reynolds signed a property tax transparency bill into law. It will now be more difficult for city council members and county supervisors (but not school board members) to claim they didn’t raise taxes. Levy rates for city and county budgets will now be adjusted so the property tax revenues generated will be the same as the year before.

If cities and counties want to increase property tax revenue more than two percent, they now must:

1. Hold an additional public hearing explaining the need for an increase.

2. Give local taxpayers the opportunity to submit objections to the proposal.

3. Approve the increase by a two-thirds majority of the board or councils.

Because this new law focuses on transparency more than hard limits, citizens must engage in the process to control property taxes.

What should I say to my local elected officials?

• Cut the rate!

• Remind them that government budges should not grow faster than household budgets

• Ask the to justify a budget increase larger than the cost of living and inflation.

• Tell them that spending more taxpayer dollars will not solve every problem.

• Oh, one more thing, CUT THE RATE!

Submitted by Carey Wilkens

Arnolds Park