Local Government Property Tax Transparency Passes Legislature

April 25, 2019

The Iowa Senate on Wednesday debated SF 634, which prescribes the process a local government must follow when increasing property taxes. The bill passed on a bipartisan 33 to 17 vote as Sen. Bisignano (D-Des Moines) joined the Republicans in supporting the bill. The House debated the legislation late Wednesday into Thursday morning. The bill passed the House on a party-line vote.

The legislation requires a city and county to pass a resolution that establishes maximum property tax dollars with an explanation if the amount exceeds the current year’s collections. If the maximum dollars exceed 102%, the council must pass a resolution by a two-thirds majority for the increase to go into effect. The legislation requires public hearings to be held and the city to follow notice provisions prior to adopting the resolution. There is no reverse referendum in the language, and it does not alter the current levy rates that are in code.

The goal of the legislation is to increase the transparency and accountability of local governments. The Iowa House Republicans posted a staff analysis of the legislation. At the time of publication, no House Democrat analysis of the legislation was found online to share with members. ABI supports the legislation.