DES MOINES, Iowa — In 2013 and 2021, bills were passed changing portions of the property tax code, but it caused an unintended consequence.

A mistake was noticed by the Legislative Service Agency last fall, where residential property owners were grouped in with multi-residential property owners. This caused residential property owners to pay more in taxes in some cases. So lawmakers quickly passed a bill to fix the unintentional tax increase.

“What this bill does do is prevent a $133 million residential property tax increase,” said State Representative Bobby Kaufmann, (R), District 82 from Wilton. “What this bill does not do is set up a situation where one dime from law enforcement or public safety budgets have to be cut.”

The bill passed by a vote of 86 to 13 with one absent. Some House Democrats were concerned that the bill would result in cuts in public safety departments, as city officials raised concerns to lawmakers about the difficulty this bill would cause them in budgeting for fiscal year 2024.

“I just received a text just moments ago from an eastern Iowa mayor. She was very clear if this bill goes into effect, we will lose 2.0 FTEs (full time employees) in our police department, we will lose 4.0 FTEs in our parks and rec,” said State Representative Dave Jacoby, (D), District 86 from Coralville.

“Cities have two choices to make, they either have to raise their levy rate and most likely it would be around a 2 percentage point levy rate increase, or cut services to their residents,” said State Representative John Forbes, (D) , District 44 from Urbandale.

Rep. Kaufmann responded to those two concerns, and others, saying if public safety was cut that is a local decision.

“There will not be one dime cut form public safety due to this piece of legislation and if someone chooses to do that, that is a local decision, that’s a poor local decision and I don’t think it’s one that is actually going to happen,” said State Representative Bobby Kaufmann, (R), District 82 from Wilton.

The bill passed the Iowa Senate two weeks ago, and just passed the house, allowing Governor Reynolds to sign the bill into law.