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Unanimous support for property tax reform. Where did it happen?

posted on March 22, 2019

Property Tax Reform Passes… in Nebraska.

Yes, it can happen! Lawmakers from both parties can agree with each other and create real property tax protections.

A bill to prevent property tax bills from automatically increasing has been UNANIMOUSLY approved by Nebraska’s legislature.

Property taxpayers in both Iowa and Nebraska have seen significant valuation increases in recent years. Local governments have been able to raise property taxes almost automatically, even if property tax rates stayed the same or were reduced less than the increase in values.

Nebraska’s reform would end that practice. Now, as their valuations increase, rates must fall by the same percentage. If local boards in Nebraska want to tap into any property tax increase resulting from higher valuations, they have to hold a special hearing and a public vote to raise the rates back up.

This is similar to HSB 165, a bill in the Iowa House that would:

  • Set a reasonable limit for revenue growth of cities and counties
  • Allow an override of that limit by local governments after a transparent process of notifications, public hearings, and vote by elected officials
  • Permit citizens to call for a vote of the people if they disagree with the budget passed by their local government

A recent Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll shows most Iowans think property taxes are too high; an opinion shared by most demographic groups, as well as Democrats, Independents, and Republicans. This confirms a statewide public opinion survey ITR conducted in January.

Legislators in both chambers and the Governor have indicated property tax reform is a priority this year. If Nebraska can do it, so can Iowa!

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