Iowans who were hardest hit by the spring storms could get a break from paying property taxes if a southeast Iowa lawmaker gets his way. Burlington Senator Tom Courtney says if the governor calls the legislature into special session, lawmakers should consider a temporary tax break for some Iowans.
Courtney says some residents of Oakville, for instance, probably won’t be able to get back on their property for one year. "Maybe that’s something we ought to be looking at, maybe they shouldn’t have to pay a property tax if they can’t use the property for a year," Courtney said. The Democrat says the state government would then have to reimburse cities and counties for the lost tax revenue.
"Places like Oakville, sections of Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, and don’t forget Parkersburg…they are absolutely devastated," Courtney said. "Life won’t ever be the same for them and it seems to me the legislature can do some things, in a limited way, to help ease that pain a little bit."
Another idea proposed at the statehouse involves suspending the sales tax for the rest of the year in counties that were declared disaster areas. Sioux City Senate Republican leader Ron Wieck says that would make it easier for residents to purchase materials they need to rebuild.
"Obviously, sales tax revenue will be up tremendously because of all the materials and personal property that will need to be replaced. I don’t think the state of Iowa should gain from it," Wieck said. "I think it makes sense that we suspend sales tax ’til the end of the year and maybe beyond that if we need to."
Wieck does not yet have a pricetag for his proposal, but says he hopes to by the time the governor calls lawmakers back for a special session, possibly in September.