Protection for the Taxpayer

During the 2019 Iowa legislative session, the legislature passed a property tax accountability and transparency law. This new law was modeled after Utah’s Truth-in-Taxation law, which is considered the most “taxpayer friendly law.” The 2019 law requires local governments such as counties and cities to hold a public hearing if the proposed budget increases more than two percent (school district […]

Property Taxes are Wealth Taxes

For many Iowans property taxes represent a significant financial burden. A recent independent poll commissioned by TEF Iowa found that close to 50 percent of Iowans surveyed support making property tax relief a priority.   Did you know property taxes are a form of wealth tax?  It’s true! For example, if the value of a home increased by 10 percent, […]

Truth-in-Taxation: A Property Tax Solution

The issue of rapidly escalating property tax burdens is a concern for both individuals and businesses across Iowa. It is important to remember the ultimate source of high property taxes is excessive local government spending. Unless spending is controlled, any property tax relief will be limited.   The objective of real property tax reform should not be to single out […]

2020 Candidate Education Guide

Recently TEF Iowa polled Iowans to get their view on some key public policy issues. In this guide you will find not only how Iowans think about these issues, but also public policy solutions that align with the interest of Iowans. TEF Iowa has developed this guide as a resource to provide legislative candidates additional information on some of the […]

Iowa’s High Property Taxes

Iowans are demanding property tax relief. High property taxes continue to be a problem for Iowa. The Tax Foundation recently examined the “effective tax rates on owner-occupied housing” across the United States. Iowa ranked 12th highest in the nation. Iowa relies heavily on property tax to fund local government. In 1934, Iowa enacted the sales and income tax to provide property tax relief. […]

How Much Does Government Cost in Iowa?

Can you think of any area of your life that is not directly impacted by government? Government, whether at the federal, state, or local level, has grown considerably overtime. The escalating $26 trillion national debt is the most symbolic description of the growth of government.  As more demands are placed on all levels of government, it creates a problem. As […]

Proven Property Tax Reform

At the heart of high property taxes is local government spending. County assessors are often blamed because people receive their property tax valuation bills in the mail and they immediately think that a valuation increase translates into a property tax increase. This is misplaced blame because it is the local government taxing authority that decides on how much taxes are […]

Solving Iowa’s Property Tax Problem

The rising cost of property taxes are a concern for both individuals and businesses across Iowa. Often blame is placed on county assessors for high property taxes. A reason for this is the fact that taxpayers receive an assessment notice in the mail and are angry because of the increase in property values. Property is assessed upon market values; the […]

Are PILOTs Needed?

In Des Moines, PILOTs (payment in lieu of taxes) on non-profits are being considered to address high property taxes. Should government focus more on additional revenue or fight for less spending?   The city of Des Moines is trying to address high property taxes and PILOTs are being considered as a solution.  PILOTs or payment in lieu of taxes, are payments […]

Empowering Property Taxpayers

Reducing the property burden is a priority for most Iowans. Cities and counties across Iowa are in the process of planning their budgets and holding public hearings. Government spending is at the heart of high property tax rates, and these budget hearings will not just establish what the city or county intends to spend, but also determine your future property […]

For Property Tax Reform Focus on Spending

In 1934, Iowa enacted the first sales and income taxes to provide property tax relief. Today, nearly a century later, Iowa taxpayers still face the challenge of not only high property taxes, but also income and sales taxes.   Between 2000 and 2017, Iowa property taxes increased by more than 100 percent. This increase is more than inflation and population […]

Strengthening Property Tax Transparency

Direct notification will make local elected officials think twice before increasing property tax rates because they know all citizens will be notified of the increase and its potential impact on their properties.   This fall, local governments across Iowa will begin the process of creating their budgets. Local government, whether county, city, or school boards, depend heavily on property taxes […]

Economic Development Reform in Iowa

Forty-nine states and the District of Columbia have some sort of tax-increment financing program incentivizing companies to do things they otherwise would not do. The concept has merits, but the way it is applied in Iowa and elsewhere has problems. In fact, many local policymakers hate it, but they feel powerless to stop offering these giveaways.   In Iowa, the […]

Our Taxes Aren’t “Iowa Nice”

A businessman in Sioux City recently stated it very plainly to us:  “We have stores in seven states.  Iowa is more expensive for property taxes than any other.”   Iowans are, for the most part, hardworking, friendly, and willing to help a stranger in need. Many call this “Iowa nice.”  However, our state’s tax code has been ranked as one […]

Will Polk County Property Tax Relief be Wiped Out?

Property tax bills might increase from valuation growth more than the promised reduction from increasing the sales tax.   Many property owners in Polk County received a shock recently as they opened their new property tax assessments. Assessments in Polk County increased from 7.1 percent in Johnston to 11.6 percent in Des Moines. Numerous property owners saw a 10 percent […]

If It Can Make It There, It Can Work Anywhere

New York has a permanent property tax cap to slow the growth of tax bills.   New York is not known as a tax friendly state. The Empire State’s high tax rates have received national attention as they have forced an exodus of people leaving New York in search of lower tax states. Although New Yorkers continue to struggle under […]

Is a Four Percent Raise Enough?

Would a four percent increase in income next year help your household budget? For most families it would. Four percent isn’t enough for the city of North Liberty according to their city administrator and they want to increase the property tax rate another 1.2 percent. In recent years the city’s taxable valuation growth has increased between seven and 14 percent […]

Iowa’s Tax Burden

How does Iowa compare with the other 49 states and Washington, D.C.? The individual income tax rate, corporate income tax rate, sales tax rate all as of January 1, 2019, and property taxes paid as a percentage of owner-occupied housing value for CY 2016 are ranked from 1 to 51 with 1 being the lowest and 51 the highest. Individual […]

 
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