Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Opinion

April 22, 2013

Heartsill Report

The Cost of Doing Nothing

Des Moines —

Last week witnessed some pretty important dates for Iowa taxpayers.  Clearly, the most obvious date was April 15, the deadline for all taxpayers to file their federal tax returns.  Just a few days later, April 18, marked an occasion known as “Tax Freedom Day”.  Tax Freedom Day is the day when the nation as a whole has earned enough money to pay off its total tax bill for the year. Tax Freedom Day provides Americans with an easy way to gauge the overall tax burden that we share.

Essentially, the nation’s total tax collections are divided by the nation's total income.  According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, every dollar that is officially called income by the government is counted, and every payment that is officially considered a tax is counted.  The resulting percentage is then converted into days based on a 365-day calendar year. For 2013, Tax Freedom Day is April 18th, five days later than last year.  This year, Americans will pay $2.76 trillion in federal taxes and $1.45 trillion in state taxes, for a total tax bill of $4.22 trillion, or 29.4 percent of the income.  April 18 is 29.4 percent of a 365-day year.  The latest Tax Freedom Day on record was May 1, 2000.

Also last week, the Iowa Senate and Iowa House passed their respective versions of Property Tax Reform.  The Senate version may look familiar as it has been modeled for the past three years after the Iowa Homestead Tax Credit.

Major points of the House version include:

Rollback

 
·       20% rollback of taxable value on commercial and industrial property.  5% per year over 4 years
 
·       Approximately $339 million in property tax relief when fully implemented

Backfill

 
·       A standing unlimited appropriation is created to backfill lost revenue to local governments.
 
·       Backfill appropriation is exempt from future “across the board” cuts
 
·       TIF properties held harmless

Assessment limitation

 
·       Assessment growth limitation moves from 4% to 2% on Ag and residential immediately

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