A key Republican says the public’s reaction to a lack of action is one reason he’s optimistic legislators of both political parties will find a way to reform Iowa’s property tax system.
Representative Tom Sands, a Republican from Wapello, is chairman of the House Committee that drafts state tax policy. “I believe that the voters would punish both sides of the aisle if (legislators) simply do nothing and come to gridlock,” Sands says.
The Republican-led Iowa House this week passed a far different property tax reform package than the one advancd several weeks ago by the Democratically-led Iowa Senate, but Sands isn’t ruling out the possibility a compromise can be reached.
“We have both laid out our plans,” Sands says. “There are ways to work through that.”
Senator Joe Bolkcom, a Democrat from Iowa City, is chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee and he says there is a “risk” of a backlash if legslators fail to enact property tax reform. “We’re not done with this Session,” Bolkcom says. “I think there is some opportunity to find a “third way”, if you will.”
Senate Democrats have embraced a plan that would provide a property tax credit to small businesses. Republicans in the House have passed a plan that would gradually reduce commercial property taxes by 40 percent over the next few years. The G-O-P proposal also promises the state will send more money to public schools, reducing the burden on property owners. Bolkcom isn’t sugar-coating the difficulty in reaching a compromise.
“There are differences of opinion, legitimate,” Bolkcom says.
The two legislators made their comments today during taping of the Iowa Public Television program, “Iowa Press.”