A group that represents the 17 largest chambers of commerce in Iowa is urging Iowa lawmakers to increase funding for railroad projects.
Dan Culhane, president of the Ames Chamber of Commerce, says the state needs to expand rail service into more industrial business parks.
“More and more companies, as they work to trim costs, are seeking rail service to move raw materials and finished goods,” he says. “I know that in the Ames community, first hand, we see more and more prospects at an annual basis that are continuing to look for rail service sites and so this is a critical piece to economic development here in Iowa.”
The Iowa Chamber Alliance released its annual list of legislative priorities today. The group is, again, pressing legislators to reform the state’s properly tax system. Commercial property in Iowa is taxed at 100 percent of its valuation, while residential property is taxed at 46 percent of the assessed value.
Bob Mundt, president of the Council Bluffs Area Chamber of Commerce, says it’s hard to attract new businesses to Iowa when they face huge property taxes here.
“According to the most recent 50 state property tax comparison study, Iowa’s urban commercial property tax rates have moved from fifth highest in the nation in 2006 to second highest in the nation in 2008,” Mundt says.
Mundt says counties should be allowed to lower commercial property tax rates and, in some cases, replace the revenue with user fees or franchise taxes. He says hat would let local residents vote on a tax structure that best suits the needs of their county.