Shrinking the Pie: Why true tax relief comes from a smaller annual budget
As a life-long Iowan, a long-time Ankeny resident, and a devout believer in Conservative governing philosophy, I have recently made the decision to engage in the political process by running for the Republican nomination to represent Ankeny and the surrounding townships in the Iowa House of Representatives. In the coming months I look forward to speaking to the Iowans who call this district home. Among the topics we will be discussing are the many things that make this area a great place to live, as well as my thoughts on issues that need improving. Foremost on this list is finally reforming Iowa's runaway property taxes.
One of the few bright spots to come out of the last legislative session was an agreement between the two parties that property tax relief for Iowans was an urgent necessity. The bad news was that each side had plans varying greatly in just how much relief we deserved, and ultimately the issue was left to be resolved by future assemblies.
The reason for this rare bi-partisan agreement that we indeed had a problem in need of fixing is the following inescapable fact--in the last decade Iowa's property taxes have increased 65%. This has resulted in $1.75 billion additional dollars in taxes that Iowans are sending in to be doled back out by politicians--a figure made even more unacceptable by the fact that Iowa has had no significant increase in population over that same time span.
While the General Assembly spent weeks after their scheduled adjournment fighting over a final budget number, Republicans were said to have achieved a "victory" by keeping the sum total a shade under $6 billion dollars. In my view not only did this fall short of victory, this number is not what we want to establish as a baseline for future annual expenditures.
If the ever expanding size of government at all levels over the last several years has a taught us anything, we have learned that no amount of our money will ever be enough. If we sent them $20 billion they would make arguments for $21 billion. Put simply, if we send it--they will spend it.
A true victory on taxes and spending not only includes applying Conservative principals in dividing the pie, but also in shrinking the size of the pie before it goes into the oven.
It is hard to imagine many District 37 residents feeling that they have received 65% more in beneficial services to justify the 65% increase in money they are now sending out of their households and into the State--I know I surely do not.
In government, as with most things in life, there is a time for talking and a time for doing. The cost-benefit imbalance created by this drastic spike in our property taxes over the last ten years will be a large part of the conversation I have with Ankeny voters leading up to the Republican primary on June 5th. After this conversation, and the election, will come the crucial time for action.
I would like nothing more than, with the blessing of my fellow citizens, to stand firm at the State House and reverse this decade long trend of our state government over-taxing and under delivering. Should I be granted the opportunity to represent the people of District 37, shrinking Iowa's annual budget--and hence your tax burden--will be my highest priority.
Beyond being sound fiscal policy and the right way to move forward on this issue it is long overdue.