Rural Matters

Relief! For Iowa Property Taxpayers

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Updates as of 04/25:

  • Farm Bill round table 
  • Iowa Supreme Court Scolds Legislature 
  • Property tax relief

Updates as of 4/25:

Farm Bill round table

A round table discussion was held in Ames at the Iowa State University Research Park to discuss the future needs in the 2023 Farm Bill. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Naig, moderated the discussion. Senators Joni Ernst, Chuck Grassley, and John Boozman (Arkansas), all members of the Farm Bill committee discussed the process. Afterwards the Senators heard from Iowa agricultural associations and individuals in their concerns and desired components of the next farm bill. 

Among the issues, audience members mentioned they would like addressed in the Farm Bill: 

  • the need for increased funding for research at the university level 
  • a plan and available vaccines for swine flu and avian flu 
  • higher commodity support levels to protect the higher risks of increased input costs 
  • and the need to keep adoption of sustainable practices support separate from price support levels and program requirements

Senator Boozman commented on Iowans good fortune to have both Senators Ernst and Grassley on the Farm Bill committee. Representatives Nunn and Feenstra are on the committee as well. 

Iowa Supreme Court takes action against past Iowa legislative and Governor’s office decisions

If you’ve been following the 2023 Iowa legislative session, you’ve seen lawmakers refuse to answer questions about laws, push laws out the door before addressing secondary impacts, and other haphazard methods of deceiving the intentions of bills. The problem with this — public input, dissenting opinions, and democratic process have been curbed for bills to become law. 

The judicial branch, specifically the Iowa Supreme Court, is now forced to interpret the laws and deem them constitutional or not. 

A lawsuit accusing Gov. Kim Reynolds of failing to follow Iowa's public records law can continue, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday, saying the governor's office can be sued just like any other public entity for not producing requested documents in a timely way. 

The decision came in a lawsuit filed in December 2021 by three plaintiffs represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, who accused Reynolds' office of "stonewalling" public records requests, in some cases for more than a year. 

When legislatures are refusing to go through their due diligence of vetting bills before they’re signed by the governor, concerns are out of the hands of the public. If your representatives aren’t using their platform to field questions and concerns from other districts of the state, you may want to reach out to your legislators to share your concerns about transparency and the opportunity for input.

Discussion: Property tax relief

In the House and Senate, lawmakers are putting forth a bipartisan effort to lower the tax burden on Iowans and reel in the rising home assessments. With the Senate passing SF 569 and the House Passing HF 718, each chamber is attacking the issue in two different ways. 

The bills are similar in the sense that they both put limits on a local government's ability to raise property taxes. They also both mention an attempt to add transparency that requires cities, counties, and school districts to publish information on plans to take on debt. 

“The Senate bill would limit local governments’ levy rates. Cities’ rate would be capped at $8.10 per $1,000 in taxable value. County general services would be limited to $3.50 per $1,000 in taxable value and county rural services at $3.95 per $1,000.” — Iowa Capital Dispatch

“The House bill proposes different changes to reduce property tax costs. The bill reduces the school foundation property tax rate of $5.40 for every $1,000 of taxable valuation to $4.40, with the state taking over the $204 million in lost revenue. The legislation also introduces caps on property tax increases on per-parcel basis. Increases would be limited to 3% per year for homes and farms, and limited to 8% per year for commercial and industrial properties.” — Iowa Capital Dispatch

Regardless of where the compromises are going to be made, Iowans are going to be come out ahead and pay less in property taxes. 

If you have questions, comments, or concerns about any of this information, contact Sue Tronchetti, Landus external affairs lead, at or 515-370-0232. We want to hear from you!

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