The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

May 17, 2013

Mixed reactions to tax reduction

(Continued)

But raising residential property tax was almost immediately dismissed as a possibility. The next idea was to have the state of Iowa "back fill" funding decreases to local bodies. Whether that will actually happen is unclear, but Kenning said even if it does, there's not enough back-fill money to do the job for more than a year or two. So while the state will make counties lower property tax, they won't allow them to make up for it in other places.

"I hope, I hope," he emphasized, "that this won't bring disaster for municipalities and schools around the state because they're losing that money."

That may mean spending on services and human resources has to be reduced, Kenning warned.

Still, Chelgren said, even if approved, the new law won't go as far as he wants to see equitable taxation. The state's Constitution says the tax structure is supposed to be fair, he said, and what we have now is not.

"We need to fix some things completely, but I'm not going to vote against a step in the right direction," he said.

There are Republicans who may vote for the law, Chelgren suspects, in the hope of seeing the governor achieve victory on something he'd promised during his campaign.

"I'm not necessarily doing this for the governor," he said. "I want to know if a bill is going to mean progress. And in this case, the answer is 'yes.'"

The Associated Press contributed to this story. To see reporter Mark Newman's Twitter feed, go to @couriermark.

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