Monday, August 24, 2020

Property Tax Increases Driven By Spending

Too often, we hear elected officials brag about keeping the property tax levy rate low. They are misleading the voters. Taxpayers don't care about the levy rate; they care about the ever-increasing amount of their property tax bill!

One ITR member shared with us:
"Property taxes are my largest monthly payment except for my mortgage. At least my mortgage is fixed and doesn't increase. I don't see my property tax payment remaining steady or decreasing... EVER."

Why do property taxes increase?

Many people think the increasing value of a property is the reason their tax bill grows. It isn't. Local government spending is the reasonand spending is controlled by city council members, county supervisors, and school board members.

When any level of government takes dollars out of your pocket, those who create the tax should be able to clearly explain why they need your money than you do and where they will spend it. 

Are all property taxes out of control?

Recently, we researched property tax growth for school districts and cities across Iowa. Now, we look at counties.

When a community is growing, it needs to pay for new infrastructure. Residents might also want and be willing to pay for new parks, trails, and flood control. However, many communities are not growing or have other priorities.

In both situations, a local government's property tax collection shouldn't exceed population growth and inflation without voters knowing the reason for the increase.

Data for the 15 largest counties is posted on our website, and the top four are shown below. If you would like us to look up this information for your county, city, or school district, email

Counties are usually the third-largest consumer of property taxes behind school districts and cities. 

More than once, we have heard from ITR members their county supervisors tell them, "The county budget is on automatic pilot." Or, "The county can't limit spending because it is mandated by the state."

The conversation needs to continue. The entire county budget is not set by state mandates or automatic increases. If it is, why do we need county supervisors?

When property taxes grow faster than household budgets, they:

  • Force people on fixed incomes out of their homes
  • Make it harder for young families to afford their first home
  • Consume more and more income from renters and homeowners alike
  • Allow government bureaucrats to steal choices from taxpayers on how and where to spend their money

What's the best solution to control property taxes?

If you haven't taken our short property tax survey yet, click the button below:
Property Tax Solution Survey

Nationwide, Where Do People
Pay the Most in Property Taxes?

Median property taxes paid vary widely across Iowa and the nation. Our friends at the Tax Foundation looked at the median property taxes paid for each county nationwide. 

The highest in Iowa are Dallas, Johnson, and Polk. The lowest are Oceola, Ida, and Audubon. 

Click here or on the image below to see an interactive map where you can hover over each county's median property taxes.  
Click the image above to see data on an interactive map on your computer. Phones will only show a static image.

Community College Property Tax Revenue

Iowa has 15 community college districts that levy taxes on your property. 

Total statewide community college revenue from property tax grew from $50.7 million in FY 1999 to $166.6 million in FY 2019.

Links of Interest

Iowa's teacher salaries are 2% more than Iowa's average income, a difference ranking them as one of the best in the country. -
Kamala Harris on Trump Tax Cuts: "Get rid of the whole thing." 
- American for Tax Reform
Joe Biden plans to raise taxes by almost $4 trillion before 2030. Biden’s collective policies would reduce GDP by 1.5% over the long-run, reduce wages by 1% and eliminate about 585,000 jobs. - Fox Business
A pandemic and a derecho: Iowa's economy is not out of the woods yet.
- CR Gazette/TEF Iowa
The middle class is shrinking, but that is because people are getting richer.
- Center of the American Experiment

Recent ITR Watchdog Email Updates

  • 66% say taxes are a deciding factor
  • Iowa's Rich States, Poor States ranking
  • School district enrollment and property tax comparison
  • Are Iowa's public universities bloated or under-managed
  • City population and property tax comparison
  • Property tax solution survey

Winning Elections is the Best Taxpayer Protection

Vote and encourage like-minded friends to as well. 

The government takes too much of your paycheck. ITR promotes solutions to get government out of your pocket and off your back.

However, the best solutions are worthless if tax-and-spend candidates win.

Click the image below to visit the Iowa Secretary of State's website to register to vote, request an absentee ballot, or to find your polling place. 
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It’s easy for politicians to yield to noisy special interest groups when the taxpayer keeps quietly paying the bills.
Copyright © 2020 Iowans for Tax Relief, All rights reserved.

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