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Ragan: Nobody’s giving up on cutting property taxes

From Sen. Amanda Ragan:

Cutting property taxes is long overdue here in Iowa, and it would be a great way to create local jobs.

Senate Democrats have taken the advice of Iowans, community leaders and business leaders from across the state in putting together a plan for cutting commercial property taxes.

The Legislature does its best work when we avoid divisive issues and work together on the top priorities of Iowans. Iowans want property tax relief. That’s why I’m frustrated and disappointed that the House, Senate and Governor let the opportunity to pass permanent property tax reform slip through our fingers this year.

In 2011, the Iowa Senate voted 46-4 for $200 million annually in commercial property tax relief. Four out of five commercial property tax payers would have received a 40 percent tax cut under the Senate’s bipartisan plan—a plan that would not shift any additional tax burden to homeowners. Unfortunately, our proposal was not taken up in the Iowa House.

During the 2012 session, we developed a bigger, bolder plan that would have cut commercial property taxes by more than $350 million. In the end, Senate File 2344was caught up in election-year politics. It didn’t garner one Republican vote, despite including suggestions from Governor Branstad and Republican lawmakers.

This was a missed opportunity. It would have dramatically cut property taxes for almost every business and also would have cut taxes for working families.

I will continue to push for a commercial property tax cut for every Iowa business—one that helps our small businesses the most, without hurting local schools and services. I know we can get the job done.

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