Keep promises to Iowa taxpayers

Ragan Report: A bill moving through the Io-wa Senate would break prom-ises that the Legislature made to taxpayers just five years ago.

In 2013, the Legislature approved the largest property tax cut in Iowa history. At the same time, the law was changed to require the state to reimburse cities, counties and school districts for lost revenue that came from reducing prop-erty tax rates.

This year, SF 2081 would end the money that the state agreed to pay to cities, coun-ties and schools for those property tax decreases.

The bill could cut reim-bursements by up to one-third each year until they're phased out completely. This would force communities to raise property taxes or make drastic cuts to police, fire and other emergency services, road and bridge maintenance, drinking water systems and other im-portant services.

Our small towns and rural communities especially count on the "backfill" dollars. Of Iowa's 942 cities, 82 percent have populations below 2,000.

The Iowa League of Cities, the Iowa Association of Coun-ties and many others oppose the Legislature breaking its promise to Iowa taxpayers.

You can find how much your school district, city and county will lose through a searchable list on the Iowa Senate Democrats website: www.senate.iowa.gov/democrats.

The Iowa House is also working on a proposal to go back on promised dollars to local governments (HSB 678). If you are concerned about the state taking back this $152 million commitment to property taxpayers and local govern-ments, contact your legislators to let them know how this broken promise impacts you.

Sen. Amanda Ragan (D-Mason City) serves Franklin, Butler and Cerro Gordo counties in Senate District 27. She can be reached at 515-281-3371 or 641-424-0874. Email her at aman-da.ragan@legis.iowa.gov.