The impact is still not known for the property tax forgiveness the Linn County Supervisors approved this week for flood victims. The supervisors voted to forgive the property taxes for thousands of flood victims who were not able to use the flooded property. The loss of tax revenue hits schools at a time when their budgets are already tight.
The Cedar Rapids School District says it supports the tax abatement, but district director of business Steve Graham says they aren’t sure how it will affect their bottom line. Graham says, "We don’t know what the impact is going to be financially at this point in time and we’re very hopeful that in mid-October we’re going to know with some specificity what that’s going to be."
Part of the problem is that flood victims must apply for tax abatement, and it’s unknown how many will apply. Taxes will only be forgiven for however long the property wasn’t used. The decision will likely means millions of dollars in lost revenue for the city of Cedar Rapids as well.
City councilman Chuck Wieneke says the recently approved local option sales tax could help recoup some of the cost but not all of it.
"This disaster affected this entire city and this is an example of how this entire city is going to be paying for a portion of the recovery of this city and I think that’s forgotten sometime by folks that were not directly affected by the flood," Wieneke says.
Representatives from Cedar Rapids, the county, and school district say they will ask the state legislature to compensate them for the revenue lost to the floods.