This bill adds new steps to the city and county budget processes, aimed at clarifying intentions around property tax increases and giving citizens a better opportunity to have their voices heard. The reform does the following:
- Requires cities and counties to pass a resolution that identifies the maximum amount of property tax dollars they are going to collect in the next fiscal year and to hold a public hearing on that resolution.
- Calls for local elected officials to justify property tax increases with a specific explanation as to why they need more funding.
- Gives local taxpayers the opportunity to submit objections to the proposal at the public hearing.
- Requires a two-thirds supermajority vote of the local elected officials to approve a budget increase over two percent.
Governor Reynolds said, “This bill creates an additional public hearing prior to the approval of a city or county budget, allowing more public input and helping increase awareness and transparency to the budgeting process and Iowa taxpayers.”
New York and Utah, two states that have enacted similar legislation, have proven increasing transparency and local government accountability can make a difference in people’s property tax bills. This bill provides a framework to empower citizens with a seat at the table when local governments make their budget decisions.
ITR President Chris Ingstad said, “When the first public hearing of property tax reform was held in March, Iowans for Tax Relief advocated that an open conversation between local government and their constituents is needed. This bill accomplishes that goal. Transparency, citizen input, and local government accountability will all be increased.”