Lawmakers pass supermajority vote for property tax increases

DES MOINES (AP) — The Iowa Legislature has approved a property tax bill that forces counties and cities to publicize and pass by a two-thirds vote any property tax increase over 2 percent.

The bill was touted by Republican Sen. Randy Feenstra as a truth in taxation bill that creates transparency in the budgeting process at county and city levels.

Democratic Sen. Pam Jochum says the bill flies in the face of the constitutional home rule amendment added in 1968 that grants cities and counties local control. She says there’s already adequate public input and visibility of local budgets and taxes.

Republican leaders began the session declaring property tax reform a priority but earlier bills that limited annual tax increases faded as criticism from local government officials intensified.

The bill passed the Senate on Wednesday 33-17 and the House took up debate at around 11 p.m. and finally passed it 53-46 just before 3 a.m. Thursday.