Latest reduced revenue projections have Farm Bureau calling for budget reform
On Dec. 11 the Revenue Estimating Conference lowered projected state revenues by $36.8 million. Unfortunately Iowa's economy is suffering and our state budget was based on a better outlook. To make matters worse, Iowans will have to deal with more than $250 million in potential property tax increases as a result of actions already taken to balance the budget. For an individual who owns a house valued at $150,000 it's an increase of $130 per year. For a main street businessperson whose building is valued at $500,000 it's an increase of $930 a year. For a farmer who owns and farms 400 acres it's an increase of $580 a year.
"Today's revenue projection is yet another reminder that our state budget process is broken. Setting our budget by a revenue forecast for the coming year is a recipe for disaster, no matter how accurate the forecast. In our families and in business, if we have a good year, we don't make spending decisions that require that level of income to pay our bills from then on. Our budgets are more realistically based on average earnings over the last few years in addition to what we expect in the coming year," said Iowa Farm Bureau Federation President Craig Lang, a farmer of a sixth-generation Brooklyn dairy farm.
Farm Bureau members are asking Governor Culver and state leaders to redesign the state's budgeting process during next year's legislative session. "We have to make the necessary changes to avoid the budget disruptions we are seeing today. Property taxpayers shouldn't have to pick up the tab for failing budget practices and unsustainable state spending. Homeowners, farmers and main street businesses simply can't afford a tax increase and a property tax increase is a tax increase," said Lang.
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