DES MOINES, IOWA — Property taxes were outlined as a huge priority for Republican lawmakers heading into the 90th General Assembly.

On Monday, in the Iowa House Ways & Means subcommittee, House File 1 was voted through. The 30-page bill looks to change school foundation property taxes, set a cap for value assessment changes, and add new transparency measures for levy hikes.

The bill would reduce the school foundation property tax rates by fifty cents. This brings $5.40 per $1,000 of assessed valuation down to $4.90 per $1,000 of taxable property in the district.

For value assessment changes, House Republicans are looking at starting in 2024 with a cap of 3% on individual property value increases. This means that if a property was valued at $200,000 in 2023, it could only be valued at a maximum of $206,000 in 2024.

The third division of the bill involves new rules local governments and school districts have to follow, which includes informing taxpayers in their district when they plan to use bonds or build new infrastructure. There is also other language requiring these local entities to post notices as well.

City officials spoke at the subcommittee meeting voicing concerns on different aspects of the bill. One official from Des Moines said that the value assessment cap makes it tough to budget years in advance.

“It will make it very difficult for our community to estimate revenues moving forward, that is very important for us as we try to do multi-year budgeting and trying to understand what we are going to be looking at sometimes two to three to four years out,” said Scott Sander, the City Manager of Des Moines.

This bill was the first one filed on the House side this session. That was with the intent of having open conversations with Senate Republicans, House and Senate Democrats, as well as lobbyists. The ways & means subcommittee chair said that a final bill will be a combination of input from all these different parties.

“I would expect that a final version will include part of what the House has, that includes democrat and republican, part of what the senate has and part of whatever suggestions the governor’s office and lobby. I think it’s going to be a collective effort to include everyone’s priorities,” said Bobby Kaufmann, (R) from Wilton, District 82.

Democrats are for different aspects of property tax changes as both democrats and republicans acknowledge that property tax increases have been too high as of late. But Democrats want to make sure it is not hurting public services.

“Without hurting our local schools, not only our K-12, but our community colleges and keeping our county services and city services afloat,” said Dave Jacoby, (D) from Coralville, District 86. Jacoby added that it would be good to have some type of cap on property value assessment so families know what to budget for the upcoming year.

Rep. Kauffman said that the goal was to be debating on a final version of property tax policy changes sometime next month.