House Republicans have again voted to advance their own property tax reform plan. It would reduce commercial property tax rates by 20 percent over five years and limit future increases on residential property and ag land to two percent a year. Representative Chip Baltimore, a Republican from Boone, touted the plan.
“We need to restore some fairness to our property tax system and, in doing so, we will generate economic growth in this state that we all so desperately want,” Baltimore said, “or say that we want when we campaign.”
Representative Jo Oldson, a Democrat from Des Moines, suggested the bill is largely the bargaining position Republicans staked out in 2011.
“Nothing’s changed on this conversation around property tax reform for commercial and industrial properties — nothing,” Oldson said. “…We are still yards apart from compromising.”
The bill approved by the House Wednesday also calls for increasing state taxpayer support of public schools, as a means of reducing local property taxes, plus Republicans tacked on their idea for an income tax rebate. Rather than reducing tax rates, Democrats in the Senate have proposed a new tax credit for commercial property owners.
Yesterday’s vote in the House does put legislators one step closer to being able to form a 10-member conference committee to try to strike a tax deal. A 10-member panel that’s been discussing education reform has been unable to agree on the finances or on the policy portions of the bill.