Iowa’s commercial property tax debate involves a large difference of opinion. Governor Terry Branstad is campaigning for an overhaul of the way commercial property taxes are configured. According to him, the excessive rate is impeding commercial development in Iowa. Could this be accurate, as he claims that it is higher than that in New York City?
He has been addressing this topic since 2010. He believes that changes will help create jobs. His opinion is the result of a fact that is debatable. It is his contention that the commercial property tax rate in Iowa is the second highest in the United States. The research study his claim is based on used only Des Moines, one of the largest cities in Iowa, and one small city to judge the rates against other states. The parameters of the study seem to be uneven since all large cities are not the same size, nor are all small ones.
Lowering the rates by 40 percent sounds like a radical reduction. In 2010-2011, the rate was $45.28 per thousand. Other cities had lower tax rates than Des Moines. Two claims were made. First, the high rates are impeding expansion of existing businesses. Secondly, new businesses cannot establish themselves.
One of the aldermen in the state legislature would argue the point. According to him, no one has stated in a commercial property tax debate that rates have a negative effect on business in the state of Iowa. Other local politicians noted no such effect on business either.