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Area Residents Watch as the Legislature Eyes Property Tax Reform

Area cities are dependent on property taxes. It provides money to schools, EMS, and other services even at a county level too. A key lawmaker says Republicans in the Iowa Senate intend to reform Iowa’s property tax system in 2023. Senator Dan Dawson, a Republican from Council Bluffs, is chairman of the Senate committee that drafts tax policy.

Dawson says the system has been on auto pilot and it’s time for meaningful reform of property tax levies. Senator Pam Jochum of Dubuque is the top-ranking Democrat on the Iowa Senate’s tax-writing committee.

A couple of years ago, state officials agreed to spend about 100 million dollars on Iowa’s mental health system, paying bills that have been covered by county property taxes — but Dawson says that’s barely, if at all, reduced Iowans’ property taxes.

Jochum says lawmakers should have a broader discussion that might let local governments diversify their tax base.

The biggest chunk of local property taxes supports local public schools and Jochum says lawmakers should consider increasing state funding for public schools to offset those dollars. Jochum and Dawson made their comments at the winter meeting of the Iowa Taxpayers Association.


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