House Republicans are offering a revised approach to property tax reform, cutting commercial property taxes for smaller businesses immediately and phasing in the cut for larger businesses over the next 14 years.
Governor Branstad has called for reducing commercial property taxes for all businesses by 40 percent over a shorter, eight-year period. Representative Tom Sands, a Republican from Wapello, says House Republicans are trying to respond to nervous city and county officials.
“One of the reasons of stretching it over a 14-year period is giving communities the ability to experience some of the growth,” Sands says.
Republicans like Sands argue cities and counties will see overall commercial property tax collections grow as businesses expand and relocate here due to the dwindling commercial property tax rate.
Representative Dave Jacoby, a Democrat from Coralville, says while House Republicans have made some changes, he still sees flaws in the GOP approach.
“So in my affinity for Clint Eastwood movies, again, there’s the good, the bad and the ugly,” Jacoby says.
“The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” was a 1966 movie about a race to find gold in a cemetery. In 2011, Senate Democrats passed a property tax relief package that created new tax credits for small and medium-sized businesses rather than rolling back commercial property tax rates for all property owners as Republicans favor.