Republican legislators and the G-O-P candidate for governor plege to focus on property tax relief if elected in November. Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Gross proposes a new state law that would make local officials vote when property taxes are raised. Often today, no vote is taken as property taxes go up automatically. Gross also says it shold be more difficult for the legislature to shift state responsibilities onto local governments and property taxpayers. He suggests such a move should only be allowed by a 60-percent vote in the legislature. Gross’ running mate, Debi Durham, says property tax relief is something Iowans are demanding as they travel across the state. She says it’s an issue that crosses party lines.House Republican leader Christopher Rants of Sioux City says property tax reform will be at the top of the legislature’s agenda. He says Iowans don’t understand why their taxes go up without a vote, and he says if Gross and Durham are elected, they’ll correct it in January.Rants says the G-O-P will explore significant reform, perhaps shifting the burden property owners now shoulder to other taxpayers. He says the 150-year-old system is difficult to change, and he says the entire property tax system needs an overhaul.Senate Republican leader Stewart Iverson of Dows says lawmakers will make property tax relief a priority.Vilsack’s campaign says Gross is making the case for a democratic legislature, as republican lawmakers refused a Vilsack budget proposal which would not have raised property taxes. Vilsack’s campaign says Gross is the only candidate in the race who’s responsible for raising taxes, as the state gas tax and sales tax were raised during Gross’ tenure as Governor Branstad’s chief of staff.
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