Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News
Kalona, Iowa

Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News

April 5, 2018 State needs to fund tax backfill
Article Pages -- as published on the The Kalona News website.

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The Iowa Legislature should fully fund the backfill. In 2013, state law was changed to reduce the amount of taxes that local governments get from commercial and industrial properties.

The backfill is a reimbursement from the state to local governments for this loss.

The total payment for the current fiscal year was more than $152 million, of which nearly $1.5 million went to Johnson County, $3.6 million went to cities in Johnson County, and $2.9 million went to schools in Johnson County.

These reimbursements help ensure local governments aren’t forced to drastically increase property taxes on your home or farm or to make cuts to the services you depend on.

Despite Gov. Reynolds’ full funding of the backfill in her proposed budget, there are currently two pieces of legislation before the Iowa Legislature that would phase-out or greatly reduce funding for the backfill.

Both bills are troubling for many reasons.

First, the taxable value of commercial and industrial property hasn’t even returned to the levels from before the legislation was implemented, so if the backfill is significantly reduced or eliminated, counties will be receiving less tax revenue than they did five years ago.

Second, both plans call for reductions far too rapidly for most counties to absorb without significant property tax increases or reductions in services.

Third, the phase out begins in fiscal year 2019, and counties have already set their budgets for fiscal year 2019, so this would force immediate budget amendments to raise property taxes or cut back on services.

As Johnson County works to continue to provide the high quality local services that you deserve and depend on, we want to do so without putting the burden on you – local property taxpayers.

We will continue to urge our legislators to back the backfill, and we encourage you to join us. Please ask your legislators to support the governor’s proposal and to fulfill its commitment to replace their reductions from commercial and industrial property tax revenue.

Mike Carberry, Chairman

Johnson County Board of Supervisors

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