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For at least three years, schools in Iowa have been concerned about the extension of the one-cent sales tax for infrastructure known as SAVE.
This week, the House reached a bipartisan agreement and sent a bill to the Senate that would extend the SAVE program until 2050.
As part of the plan, additional funds would be used to provide greater property tax relief for property poor districts and greater property tax relief to all school districts.
Schools have used SAVE funding as a tool to pay for necessary repairs and upgrades to school properties. The bill also addresses the revenue purpose statement of a SAVE project to the electors, and requires an additional public hearing with notice.
Using SAVE dollars for athletic infrastructure construction would be allowed for “replacement” or “upgrade,” but not include repair or maintenance of an existing facility.
The bill creates a grant fund that could be used for building career academies. Nearly 70 percent of all new jobs will require some form of training beyond high school.
Career academies allow high school juniors and seniors to take advantage of college level courses in an advanced high school curriculum.
House File 2481 now goes to the Senate for consideration.
House committee has taken another step forward on a plan that could leave Iowans with higher property taxes and fewer services, like police and fire.
The plan, offered by Republican leaders, would cut the state’s property tax backfill to schools, cities and counties. The backfill was promised to local communities in 2013 as part of a commercial and industrial property tax cut that would have led to millions in lost revenues to local governments.
According to a recent survey, 93 percent of local officials said they will have to raise property taxes if the state ends the backfill, essentially shifting the commercial and industrial tax burden to homeowners and farmers.
Local officials also said the plan will result in a cut of services offered to Iowans, cuts to public safety including police and fire, and increased class sizes in our schools.
House Study Bill 678, which has passed a sub-committee and now heads to full committee, would scale back payments to the backfill that is currently at $152 million to just $25 million over the next several years.