A Des Moines legislator wants the state to keep 24-million dollars that’s headed to public schools. That 24-million is to cover lost tax revenue from what’re called “Tax Increment Financing” or TIF districts. Those districts are created by local officials to encourage development. Property taxes are frozen, so improvements can be made without increasing property taxes. By law, the state picks up the difference in increased value and writes checks to school districts. Representative Ed Fallon, a democrat from Des Moines, says since local officials make the decision, the state shouldn’t be the one paying. Fallon says the number of TIF districts in Iowa has increased 400 percent since 1993. He says it was originally established to try and fix decaying downtown neighborhoods, but later shifted to economic development.House Republican Leader Christopher Rants of Sioux City says he’s surprised Fallon wants to cut aid to public schools at this time. Rants says schools have already suffered a four-point-three percent cut, and Republicans aren’t interested in cutting any deeper this year. Rants says Fallon should present his idea for the next year. Over the past decade, the state has paid local governments 140 million dollars to make up for lost property tax revenue from those TIF districts.
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