Yogi Berra, the New York Yankees’ hall of fame catcher, St. Louis native and master of the one-liner, famously (or infamously) uttered, “The game isn’t over til it’s over”. The Iowa Statehouse has two chambers full of Yogi Berras right now. Thursday morning, it sounded like lawmakers had their elusive deal on reforming commercial property taxes. The governor’s office and senate Democrats had been working on a compromise to lower rates. The deal was done…that is, until a few hours later, when Republican House Speaker Kraig Paulsen without actually saying the words, offered another Yogi-ism, “It’s like deja vu all over again”. There is no deal. House Republicans can’t go for that supposed deal because they want to do more for residential tax rates, too, not just commercial.
Today, the governor’s office put out a statement from his Chief of Staff Jeff Boeyink. Here is it:
Statement from Branstad/Reynolds Chief of Staff Jeff Boeyink on property tax reform
(DES MOINES) – Jeff Boeyink, chief of staff in the Branstad/Reynolds administration, today praised House Republicans for submitting a compromise tax reform proposal that embodies all the elements necessary to forge a final agreement.
· It includes permanent reductions in property value for commercial and industrial property taxpayers—meaning permanent tax relief that will improve Iowa’s competitiveness.
· It includes property tax credits that will further jumpstart small business owners as they attempt to take their businesses to the next level.
· It provides property tax equity for multi-residential housing so it is treated the same as residential property—meaning you do not pay a property tax penalty for being a renter, rather than an owner.
· It also solves a long-standing problem regarding the inequitable treatment of property owned by telecommunications companies.
· It further caps the growth rate of residential and agricultural property to prevent a massive tax increase over the next decade.
· It implements a CPI-based spending limit on cities and counties to further protect Iowa property taxpayers and control government growth.
· And, it raises the earned income tax credit to help lower income Iowans.
In response, Boeyink released the following statement:
“There has been general agreement between the House, Senate, and the governor’s office on the framework of a compromise. The Senate has responded with their draft yesterday and the House has responded with their version of that understanding, today.
“There are some significant similarities in the House and Senate bills, and some significant differences.
“That said, I believe all three parties are committed to getting this worked out over the next week to ensure this unique opportunity to reduce property taxes for Iowans owning all classes of property is not wasted.”
But everyone supposedly remains committed to making a deal happen before this session ends in April. Just remember: “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going because you might not get there.”–Yogi Berra