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Iowa Farm Bureau Establishes Legislative Priorities

(West Des Moines) -- Iowa Farm Bureau Federation members take on property tax reform, water quality, and infrastructure improvements in the 2013 legislative session.

Farm Bureau members say Iowa's unprecedented property tax growth impacts all Iowans.  "Property taxes have increased by over $2 billion since the the year 2000, an increase of over 75 percent," said Craig Hill, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation president.  "Farm Bureau members believe the primary objective of property tax reform should be to reduce the property tax burden on all classes of property.  As lawmakers address issues such as commercial property tax reform, Iowans need to be assured that any reform affecting one class of property would not bring a shift to other classes of property.  In addition, reasonable property tax growth limitations are needed so property tax collections do not continue to outpace the economy and family wages," Hill said.

Controlling growth of property taxes is just one of several priorities named by IFBF.  Members also support using the state's one-time ending fund balance, which will total hundreds of millions of dollars on one-time expenditures such as property tax relief or infrastructure, as opposed to being used for ongoing expenses.

Hill says, "We're at the point where more and more local governments are turning to bonding as an alternative source of revenue to pay for deteriorating rural roads.  Last year alone, rural property owners paid over $140 million in property taxes to their local roads and bridges," said Hill.  IFBF policy calls for an increase in the fuel tax to bring additional revenue for road improvements.  "Iowa's fuel tax hasn't been increased since 1989 and would insure that users of the roads, including out-of-state motorists, are paying directly for the infrastructure repairs.  A user fee is definitely the most equitable and fair method of funding.

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