November 21, 2014

Branstad says pending property tax reform package is “significant”

Republican Governor Terry Branstad uses the word “significant” to describe the pending property tax deal between Republicans and Democrats in the legislature.

“This is something that has been needed for 30 years,” Branstad said during an interview with Radio Iowa. “And I think this is the year that it needs to happen.”

The governor and legislative leaders are reluctant to reveal the entire plan to the public, but indicated on Thursday that it would provide $250 million in commercial property tax relief over the next several years. According to the governor, residential property owners will be helped by the plan, too. Without action, property taxes on homes would climb because those are linked to the value of farmland.

“We’ve tried to work something out that, hopefully, will get broad-based support,” Branstad said.

One component of the plan will deal with a tax-related issue in the telecommunications industry as well as deciding how much the state will reimburse local governments to cover property tax credits. Other details are still being hammered out, according to the governor.

“I’m encouraged about it,” Branstad said. “It’s not everything we want, but I think it’s a very significant step.”

On Thursday, the top two partisan leaders in the legislature indicated an agreement on property tax reform is “much closer” than ever before.