Dallas County Recorder Airhart Backs Governor’s Property Tax Plan

By Deb Belt – WaukeePatch.com

Chad Airhart and other local elected officials attended Monday’s news conference by Gov. Terry Branstad to show their support for his property tax reform plan.

Dallas County Recorder Chad Airhart and other local elected officials joined Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds at their weekly news conference Monday morning to express their support for the administration’s property tax reform plan, according to a news release.

The officials said the plan does not come at the expense of Iowa’s local governments.

“If we do nothing, those hardworking Iowa taxpayers will face a $2 billion tax increase over the next eight years, with half that increase falling directly on Iowa homeowners,” said Reynolds, a who once served as the Clarke County treasurer. “I want to thank these local government officials who recognize our plan is an investment in Iowa’s families and small businesses.”

Branstad said his plan is needed for job creation in Iowa, citing conversations he’s had in all of Iowa’s 99 counties each year.

Along with Cedar County Supervisor Jeff Kaufman, Airhart spoke at the press conference.

Here are Airhart’s full comments: “Thank you Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds for the invitation to join you here this morning. I want to start by commending the Governor & Lt. Governor for taking the initiative to get feedback from local elected officials on their plan for commercial property tax reform.

The Governor’s plan will promote economic development. Before I became Dallas County Recorder, I was the Executive Director of the Waukee Area Chamber of Commerce. I understand how small businesses think, and the challenges they face. I know when we are recruiting small businesses; our commercial and industrial property tax system puts us at a great disadvantage compared to other states. The Governor’s property tax reform plan will make us more competitive, and help us fulfill the Governor’s goal of creating 200,000 new jobs.

The Governor’s plan provides certainty. It provides permanent tax relief for all classes of property. This allows small businesses to plan and make investments to grow their operations – and in turn grow the economy. The plan also provides certainty to local governments. While future legislatures cannot be fully bound, the Governor’s plan comes as close as we can by creating a standing appropriation for the backfill, and exempting it from any across the board cuts by future governors.

The Governor has listened to local government leaders, and shown true leadership by being willing to compromise. While Washington politicians continue to bicker over seemingly every little thing, Governor Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds stand in stark contrast. Instead of merely digging into entrenched positions, the Governor and Lt. Governor offered an olive branch – they scaled back their proposal and offered to backfill the lost revenue. It is time for local governments to meet them halfway. I feel privileged to be one small part of that effort, and I encourage both Chambers to get behind this plan and pass it. I proudly endorse the Governor’s plan.”

When fully implemented, the governor and lieutenant governor’s reform plan would reduce property taxes by $400 million. Iowa’s commercial property taxes are currently the third-highest in the nation, making it difficult to attract and retain jobs in Iowa, Airhart said.

The list of local officials supporting the administration’s property tax plan is as follows:

1.    Chad Airhart, Dallas County Recorder

2.    Kim Chapman, Dallas County Supervisor

3.    Creighton Cox, Urbandale City Council

4.    Jeremy Davis, Ames City Council

5.    Dave Drew, Woodbury County Sheriff

6.    John Etheredge, Johnson County Supervisor-Elect

7.    Brad Gaul, Cedar County Supervisor

8.    Jarret Heil, Marshall County Treasurer

9.    Harold Higman, Mayor of Akron

10.  Don Kass, Plymouth County Supervisor

11.  Jeff Kaufmann, Cedar County Supervisor

12.  Dick Kirchoff, Mayor of LeMars

13.  Jon McAvoy, Adel City Council

14.  Gary Nystrom, Boone City Council

15.  Alan Ostergren, Muscatine County Attorney

16.  Noreen Otto, Newton City Council

17.  Dale Petersen, Mayor of Sergeant Bluff

18.  Guy Richardson, Greene County Supervisor

19.  Adam Schweers, Mayor of Carroll

20.  Dick Sievers, Remsen City Council

21.  Dawn Smith, Mayor of Durant

22.  David E. Steffens, Mayor of Lake Mills

23.  Renee Twedt, Story County Treasurer

24.  Jayson Vande Hoef, Osceola County Supervisor

25.  Tom Walling, Oskaloosa City Councilman

26.  Stan Watne, Wright County Supervisor