To the editor:

In 2013, the Iowa Legislature passed a bipartisan property tax relief bill, which provided property tax relief to Iowans. At the time, the legislature also made a promise to city and county governments that they would provide a back fill to alleviate the budgetary hit they would otherwise inflict on local governments. That back fill was based on taxable value in the city at the time, and does not account for growth since that time.

Now, there is debate in the legislature over whether or not to remove the property tax back fill. The amount of back fill Nevada receives from the state is approximately $270,000; this is money that is used for basic city services and road and infrastructure repair and maintenance. Such a hit would be detrimental to Nevada, but fortunately, we are in strong enough position to be able to continue to encourage economic growth to overcome the loss. Smaller communities in Story County and around the state would be hit far harder.

The legislature requires that city and county governments pass their budget by March 15 each year. Yet, more than two weeks after that deadline, both chambers in the Iowa legislature currently have bills alive that would begin phasing out the property tax back fill beginning in the fiscal year budget that was just passed – again, within the requirement set by the legislature. To require cities and counties to pass a budget by a certain date, and then take away funding promised to those same cities and counties after that date without a chance to plan around it, is to pull the rug out from under municipal governments.

Contact your state representative and senator. Encourage them to protect the back fill. Encourage them to not pull the rug out from under the local governments in their district. Encourage them to keep their promise, and to protect funding for the form of government that impacts their constituents’ day-to-day lives most directly.

Dane Nealson

Nevada City Council, Ward 4