A new survey of local elected officials released today found Iowans will be facing higher property taxes and cuts in local services next year if Republicans enact their plan to end the state’s property tax backfill.

“Our local elected officials are delivering a clear message to Iowa lawmakers: ending or phasing out the backfill will raise property taxes for homeowners and farmers,” said Rep. Chris Hall, Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee.  “Local officials are telling us they will be forced to cut public safety services, like police and fire.  We also heard from school officials that ending the backfill will lead to higher class sizes and reducing pay for teachers.”

The on-line survey on Republican plans to end or phase out the backfill was completed by 478 school, county, and city officials.  Here are some highlights of the survey released this today:

  • 93% said they will have to raise property taxes on homeowners and farmers to make up the difference
  • 90% said it will lead to cuts in services or programs they offer to Iowans
  • 76% of city and county officials said they would have to make cuts to public safety, including police, fire, sheriff, or other law enforcement
  • School officials said they would be forced to do the following if the backfill is phased out: raise class sizes (29%), reduce pay or benefits for teachers (24%), and delay technology upgrades (23%)
  • 93% are opposed to ending or phasing out the backfill

“This is just latest broken promise from the Governor and Republican lawmakers.  It’s irresponsible for them to raise property taxes on homeowners and farmers in order to balance the state budget or pay for another corporate tax break before session ends,” added Hall.

House Republicans are holding the first subcommittee meeting on their bill to phase out the backfill (HSB 678) on Wednesday at 1 pm at the State Capitol.  The online survey was completed by school board members and superintendents; county elected officials and administrators; and city elected officials and administrators.