Increased Value Should Not Be Punishment
The Des Moines Register is reporting that homeowners in Polk County will see a 10 percent increase in assessed home values. Commercial and multi-residential assessments are expected to increase as well. Economic growth and a strong market are driving the increase in property values.
Should local governments in Polk County receive an automatic 10 percent revenue increase simply because property valuations increased by 10 percent? No, they shouldn’t!
This problem impacts every Iowan, not just those living in Polk County. The growth of property taxes is a major concern for many Iowans.
What part of your family’s budget are you going to cut so you can afford your new property tax bill? We know property taxes keep getting more expensive. Since 2000 total property tax revenue across the state of Iowa has increased over 100%. Over that same time, the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) provided to Social Security beneficiaries has only increased by 46%. This growing property tax burden is painful to families and retirees.
Many local governments have avoided hiking property tax rates. Instead, they have relied on increasing assessments to drive property tax revenue higher and higher. Iowa’s current property tax structure does contain some property tax protections in the form of a valuation rollback and a 3 percent statewide assessment limitation, but these protections have proved ineffective at keeping property tax bills in check.
Elected officials need to look at the total revenue collected, not just tax rates.
The Iowa legislature can help provide taxpayers with property tax relief by establishing a revenue limit on property tax growth that is tied to a benchmark like inflation plus population growth or the Social Security COLA. This limit would not interfere with the assessment process, but it would control the growth of property tax bills and ensure local governments have enough revenue to fund their priorities. If elected local government officials want to push past the revenue growth limit, they need to explain to their citizens why they are going to collect extra dollars and cast a vote to collect more tax dollars than the limit would allow.
Property taxes, as with any tax, must not be excessive; property owners should not be punished just for owning property.
Visit taxrelief.org/property-taxes/ to learn more about property taxes.