Property Taxes

Most Iowans do not follow their local governments’ agendas on a weekly basis and are unaware of the budget process. They may not know when or where they may oppose a tax increase imposed on them by their local elected officials, and it is necessary that they are given the tools to make their voices heard.

 

The Iowa Legislature passed property tax reform measures into law in 2019. The adopted changes require public notice and an extra hearing if a municipality’s or county’s new budget is 2 percent greater than the previous year’s budget. While this was a great step forward, few Iowans have taken advantage of this new process to voice their concerns.

An additional reform that could help empower more Iowans is a “truth in taxation” system similar to that utilized by the State of Utah. Utah requires parcel-specific notifications to be sent to property taxpayers if the rate in consideration is above the calculated certified tax rate and shows them what their bill would be if the budget in question passes. In Iowa, this would be a rate above the 2 percent growth allowed by the 2019 legislation. In sending direct notification to property owners, they will be empowered to voice their opinions when it is possible to have their voices heard—not after the fact when they receive their property tax bill. Most Iowans do not follow their local governments’ agendas on a weekly basis and are unaware of the budget process. They may not know when or where they may oppose a tax increase imposed on them by their local elected officials, and it is necessary that they are given the tools to make their voices heard.

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