Getting Bad and Sloppy

Tom Barton and Izabel Zaluska reporting for The Gazette:

A rush is on in the Iowa Legislature to fix an oversight resulting from a previously passed property tax reform package that could mean potentially millions of dollars in lost revenue in the coming months for some Iowa cities.

The state legislature, controlled by the alleged party of small government, has filed and passed a lot of legislation that hurts cities and their ability to make local decisions. And a lot of that legislation is sloppy, which almost always leads to unintended consequences and then rushed “fixes”. Surgical strikes these are not; instead they are broad messaging bills that also have real-world impacts.

With cities and counties in the throes of setting their budgets to take effect July 1, the error by the state has thrown the process into disarray and may cause cities, counties and school boards to either lose millions of dollar they planned on — or raise tax rates more than they wanted.

It’s not like cities throw these things together at the last minute, or wait until the legislature is back in session. At this point, cities have been working on budgets for months. Budgets, as the story notes, are due in March but there are public hearing and publication deadlines that mean they need to be finalized in January and early February, so if cities are going to suddenly see millions of dollars less than they expected, that’s kind of a big deal.

Art of the Iowa Capitol as a house of horrors by Rhaomi via Dall-e