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This week marks our ninth week of the 2021 Legislative Session. I had the opportunity to chair one subcommittee this week for House File 680. This bill will add, “emergency preparedness supplies,” to the existing sales tax holiday for clothing that occurs every August. Only one committee meeting occurred this week for Ways and Means. Other than that, my week was spent debating bills on the floor! This schedule will be normal for the remainder of our session. As committee meetings dwindle in number, time spent debating bills on the house floor will increase. These are some of my favorite weeks because they allow us to take our final step in enacting our legislative agenda for the taxpayers of our state!

On Wednesday afternoon I chaired the subcommittee for House File 680. This is a bill that will add emergency preparedness supplies to the tax-exempt holiday that currently exists for clothing every August. The holiday will continue to occur the first Friday and Saturday of every August. If the past year has taught us anything it is that we have to be prepared for disasters. From pandemics to storms, we need to make sure that we are ready. This bill will give Iowans a way to prepare for these situations without having to pay the added sales tax. It is a great bill for Iowa and I was happy to help pass it through subcommittee. The bill will now move through the Ways and Means committee.

House File 626 passed the Iowa House this week with unanimous support. If you have been following along, you may remember this bill from a few weeks ago when I helped pass it through subcommittee. The bill addresses the ramifications of the housing redlining policies of the New Deal in the 1930s. Currently, Iowa law authorizes cities or counties to designate an area as a revitalization area if the area meets certain conditions. With this designation, the real estate within the area is eligible to receive a property tax exemption for a percentage of the value added by improvements.

House File 626 provides a new option for a city or county to provide an exemption to a revitalization area established by ordinance that is a “federal targeted area” (redlined). This means an area that has previously been identified by the home owners’ loan corporation or similar entity as less desirable, declining, hazardous, or risky for mortgage lending in accordance with or as the result of implementation of the National Housing Act (1934), the United States Housing Act of 1937, or a subsequent piece of legislation.

Under this new option, qualified real estate (owner-occupied) would be eligible to receive a property tax exemption on the total actual value of the qualified real estate. The exemption is for a period of 15 years, beginning at 100 percent and decreasing by 6 percent each year until expiration of the 15-year period. The new option does require the property owner to make improvements costing at least 30 percent of the actual value of the property as of the date the area was designated and exemption does not transfer upon sale of the residential property.

House File 626 now moves to the Senate chamber for consideration.

Next week will once again bring more days of debate! These are some of the most exciting days at the capitol as these important bills have the opportunity to pass the house and move one step closer to becoming law. With every passing debate, we can further enact our legislative agenda for the taxpayers of District 84!  Feel free to reach out with any questions or just to leave a note. I always love hearing from constituents! Be sure to follow me on Twitter and Facebook, so you can stay up to date on the daily happenings here at the Capitol.

Author: Joe Mitchell