A group known as the “Coalition for a Better Iowa” is arguing against competing plans at the statehouse to lower commercial property taxes.

Both Democrats and Republicans say property taxes for business and industry are disproportionately high compared to those on farms and homes. But the coalition’s Victor Elias urges the House Ways and Means committee to consider the total tax burden on Iowa businesses, not just their property taxes.

“A lot of talk has been on the need to address commercial property taxes, which are viewed as being too high in comparison to other states,” Elias says, “I think if you’re looking at commercial property taxes because of its effect on economic development and business location decisions, you need to look at the total tax responsibility that businesses face.“

Elias on the coalition have been the lone voice questioning the need to lower commercial property taxes. “When you look at total effective taxes paid by businesses, Iowa ranks in the middle or the lower half of states. Not looking at our high nominal rates, but when you factor in what they actually pay, we are not a high tax state for business,” Elias says.

The Coalition includes non-profit, labor, and human service organizations.