Charges and counter-charges over state aid to Iowa’s cities and counties. Democrats say republicans will cause a second round of property tax increases and cuts in fire and police departments statewide if the G-O-P doesn’t provide 20-million dollars more in property tax credits to cities and counties. Senate Democrat Leader Michael Gronstal of Council Bluffs says last year’s cut in state aid to local governments has caused pain. Gronstal says democrats will fight “tooth and nail” to ensure cities and counties don’t get hammered again this year. Senate Democrat Leader Pat Murphy of Dubuque says last year’s cuts “hammered” public safety. Murphy says everybody talks about the importance of local responders in the wake of September 11th, but last year’s state cuts forced cities to lay off dozens of cops and fire fighters. Key republican lawmakers say they WILL provide enough state aid to local governments to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen this year. Senate Republican Leader Stewart Iverson of Dows says it’s a promise local officials can “take to the bank.” Iverson says republicans will fund the property tax credits. “Done,” he says, “That’s what’s going to happen.” No bill has passed yet, though, and the leader of the House budgeting committee says he’s not ready to make that commitment. Senate President Jeff Lamberti, a republican from Ankeny, says whatever happens, cities and counties should do a little belt-tightening like the state’s done.Lamberti says the state budget’s half a billion dollars less than it used to be, and lawmakers haven’t resorted to raising taxes. He says “it’s time for local governments to adjust their budgets as well.” Cities and counties must draw up next year’s budgets by March 15, and any state cut passed after that date will likely cause layoffs or increases in local taxes and fees.
You are here: / Democrats and Republicans argue over property tax credits