Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 18, 2014

On the Hill with Klein – Week 6

By Jarad Klein | Feb 17, 2012

This week the Iowa House passed House File 2274 which reformed Iowa’s 30-year-old property tax system. Our bill from the House is the only property tax proposal that delivers significant tax relief and genuine reform to all classes of Iowa’s property tax payers. Without the passage of this bill in the Senate, Iowa taxpayers will see a $2.5 billion property tax increase over the next 10 years, with a majority of that falling to homeowners.

Iowa currently has the second highest commercial property taxes and the 16th highest residential property taxes in the country. Additionally, over the last ten years, school property tax collections have increased 60 percent, counties have increased 64 percent, and cities have gone up 74 percent. Over the same time period, Iowans’ personal income only grew by 46 percent.

The highlights of our House plan are:

• ALL Iowans receive tax relief and there is no shifting of burdens to any one class of property

• Job creators receive a $602 million property tax cut

• Homeowners receive a $417 million property tax cut

We also had a unique opportunity this week to practice some international relations. The Vice President of China, Xi Jinping, was in Iowa Wednesday to discuss trade deals as well as visit some old friends in Muscatine. Vice President Xi traveled to Muscatine 27 years ago on an agricultural research trip and stayed with Eleanor and Thomas Dvorchak, the couple who served as his host family. Mr. Xi returned to Muscatine on Wednesday to visit with them and have tea.

In addition to visiting Muscatine, Mr. Xi traveled to Des Moines to sign a trade agreement with the state and have an Iowa-themed dinner with members of the General Assembly and other special guests. Mr. Xi and his Chinese delegation signed the $4.3 billion trade agreement which will provide China with 8.62 million tons of soybeans. The trade agreement, signed in Iowa, is part of a record-setting trade deal by the Chinese. To put into perspective how big this deal is for Iowa, just look at the fields this upcoming summer; for every 4 rows of soybeans planted, 1 of those will be heading to China. This is a great opportunity for Iowa economically.

Our Iowa-themed dinner with Vice President Xi and the Chinese delegation was also a good time. Both Iowa-grown beef and pork tenderloin were served along with corn salad. The drinks were even made in Iowa as we were served root beer from Peace Tree Brewery in Knoxville, wine from Jasper Winery in Newton, and beer from Madhouse Brewery in Newton. This was a unique experience for Iowa to showcase not only our edible creations, but also our agricultural superiority.

I enjoyed sharing stories about agriculture in southeast Iowa and our community with our guests. I feel they learned a lot about how we really do things, in order to feed the world. I look forward to a long, prosperous, and mutually beneficial trade relationship with them.

 

 

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