County officials seek changes in Iowa property tax caps

By O. Kay Henderson (Radio Iowa)

The president of the Iowa State Association of Counties says county officials are hoping the state legislature makes changes in the 2023 law that capped property tax assessments.

Barry Anderson, a Republican from Greenville, is a member of the Clay County Board of Supervisors. “It kind of ties local government’s hands,” he said during a recent appearance on “Iowa Press” on Iowa PBS, “and so I guess that’s where I want to hopefully work with legislation over this coming year to clean up some things, maybe look at how it affects different counties different than other counties.”

Under the law, county officials must abide by limits on the general property tax levy as well as the levy for rural services. “I understand that we don’t want property taxes to just run rampant,” Anderson said, “but I hope that everybody also understands…wages, roads and bridges, all kinds of expenses continue to grow.”

Officials in about a dozen counties say their county’s share of money from the state’s Road Use Tax Fund will be reduced because of the new property tax calculations. Anderson said he hopes discussions with state lawmakers can be less adversarial, so changes can be made in 2025.

“We have to, at the local level, be better at coming to the table and coming up with ideas of how to work through these things,” Anderson said, “but we have to also hopefully have legislators at the statehouse that are willing to come to the table at the statehouse and ask us: ‘How is this going to affect you?’”

The 2023 state law says if the total assessed value of property in a county grows by more than 3%, some of the excess revenue must be used to reduce that county’s main property tax levy. In 2024, lawmakers reduced the required property tax cut in counties where growth in property tax assessments was under 6%.


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