Capitol Update

April 6, 2023

Week Thirteen Recap

It's hard to believe we only have a few more weeks of the legislative session left! Things are slowing down around the Capitol, meaning we have less visitors and are focusing much more on the budget. I'll detail more about the budget in this newsletter.

Correction from March 17th Newsletter:

In my March 17th (Week 10) Newsletter, there was an article published about the different types of legislation. There was a mistake in the section about "Joint Resolutions." The published section said that Joint Resolutions are exempt from the funnel deadline, but it should have read that Joint Resolutions are subject to the funnel deadline.

Property Taxes & the State Budget


Residents across the state are receiving updated assessments and property tax rates in their mailboxes this week. Many are higher than ever before, leaving Iowans worried. I hope to address some questions and provide some information about how the state budget and current legislation affects how much you pay. 

How are property tax rates determined? 

Contrary to popular belief, county assessors do not determine your bill. Your tax bill can be lowered even when the value of your property increases. “Assessments are updated every two years, and the values are just one factor in the calculation of property tax bills. The members of your city council, the county board of supervisors, and school boards determine your final bill when they set their budgets.” [from Iowans for Tax Relief.]

Here are the steps taken in calculating any Iowa property tax: 

  1. The County Assessor estimates the value of the property. This is the “assessed value” and is almost always at the actual or market value of the property. 
  2. The Assessor totals all taxable properties together and reports to the County Auditor. 
  3. “Each assessor sends the reports, called "abstracts," to the Iowa Department of Revenue. The abstract shows the total values of all real property in each jurisdiction by classification of property, not by individual property. A process called "equalization" is applied every two years to ensure that property values are comparable among jurisdictions and comply with Iowa code. In addition, the "assessment limitation" is applied every year by the auditor. This process is commonly called "rollback" and is used in response to inflation. The application of the rollback results in taxable value in most cases.” []
  4. Budgets are determined by each taxing entity in the county and submitted to the Auditor. 
  5. Tax rates are established by the Auditor taking the amount of the budget not funded by other sources and divide it by the taxable value of all the property in that taxing district. 

“The result is referred to as "dollars per thousand." For example, if the dollars per thousand were $10, the tax on a home valued at $50,000 would be calculated at $10 x 50. The tax on that home would be $500 for that single taxing authority. The rates for all authorities are added together, resulting in a single tax levy called a consolidated levy for each unique set of taxing districts. The consolidated levy rate is always the result of two or more tax rates established by different government entities.” [from]

  1. Any applicable tax credits are subtracted before the final tax bill is sent. 

What can I do about my property tax rate? 

If you think your property’s value assessment is unreasonable, you can file a protest to appeal the value. Visit the Iowa Property Assessment Appeal Board at for instructions. You can also contact your County Assessor. 

How can I affect change in the property tax process? 

Since property tax rates are so heavily reliant on the county taxing authority budgets, it is important for citizens to be involved in the budget-making process. You can attend public hearings about the budget and ask questions, these hearings are required to be announced two weeks in advance by your county or school district. Contact your county courthouse for more information. There is also a process to make an appeal or protest the proposed budget. 

What is the Iowa legislature doing about property taxes?

There are several bills in play this session that address the issue of property taxes. 

Senate File 356 consolidates property tax levies and automatically brings down levy rates as property assessments increase. This bill has passed the Senate Ways & Means committee and is awaiting debate in the Senate. A levy is an imposed tax. 

Senate Study Bill 1207 proposes two amendments to the Iowa Constitution- one that would require a two-thirds vote of the legislature for any new income tax increase, and the other that would constitutionally protect Iowa’s Taxpayer Relief Fund to only be used for reducing taxes. 

How is the state budget determined? 

The state’s budget is determined by the Governor and the Legislature. They appropriate (designate certain money for certain purposes within the government) funds after the Revenue Estimating Conference estimates the revenue receipts from the previous year. 

Each state agency prepares a budget request within the Governor’s guidelines and must submit their request by October 1st for the following fiscal (financial reporting) year. Iowa’s Fiscal Year is July 1st through June 30th. 

The Revenue Estimating Conference meets by December 15th to set revenue estimates, which serve as the basis for the General Fund budget for the following fiscal year. The conference consists of the Governor (or Governor’s designee), the Director of Legislative Services Agency, and a third member agreed to by the other two. Estimated revenue receipts detail the funds that came in to the General Fund from sales tax, personal income tax, corporate income tax, and use tax, as well as other sources. 

The Governor reviews the budget requests made by state agencies, holds public hearings, and compiles recommendations for the Legislature by January. The Governor’s budget is required by law to be balanced and to meet spending limitations. 

The House and Senate conduct joint budget meetings during January and February. The seven joint budget subcommittees make recommendations for the different budget categories and report them to the Appropriation Committee of each chamber. A budget bill is compiled and examined by each subcommittee. 

Once the budget bill is passed in the same form by both chambers, it is sent to the Governor for approval. 

The Iowa Constitution gives the Governor the ability to “line-item veto” appropriations bills. This means she can effectively strike out single lines of the bill. If she uses the line-item veto power and the legislature disagrees, they can override that veto with a majority vote. 

Unless otherwise noted in the budget bill, the new budget takes effect beginning July 1st following approval. 

What does the Fiscal Year 2024 budget look like? 

Late last week, Iowa House Republicans released the budget target for Fiscal Year 2024. 

Crafting the budget has looked a little different this year, because the Government Reorganization bill needed to be passed first. But now, with the bill to streamline state government passed, the Republican caucus is ready to hit the ground running to craft the state’s budget. Our big budget target is $8.58 billion. This number is roughly $90 million above the Governor and the Senate’s number. There are two main reasons for this. 

Our number includes the appropriations we’ve already passed this session that the Governor didn’t consider since her budget number is released prior to session. This includes money for the property tax rollback fix and increase in funding for public schools to 3% SSA. Our number also includes about $50 million more to address a few priorities that we know are important to Iowans.

Examples of budget priorities for Iowa House Republicans that make our number higher include:

 More dollars for nursing homes by raising reimbursement rates. This would allow Iowa’s nursing homes caring for residents on Medicaid to be reimbursed at a higher rate.

Funding increase for the Department of Corrections to help with the retaining and recruitment of corrections officers. These are very tough jobs and we know the department is having a tough time hiring and keeping folks for these roles.

More resources for expanding Iowans’ access to quality mental health care across the state.

As always, I welcome feedback and questions from my constituents. You can contact me at or leave a message on the Capitol switchboard at 515-281-3221.

Opportunity for Young People in the Legislature

I strongly believe that political involvement is for people of all ages, and that our government, especially on the state level, is more accessible than most believe!

Iowa Legislative Page Program

Each session, the Iowa House and Senate hire a number of high school juniors and seniors to be legislative pages. These students provide assistance to the legislators and staff by delivering messages, running errands, distributing materials, etc. This is a wonderful opportunity for students wanting a unique experience and a close look at how our state legislature runs. Page experience is invaluable on a resume and is a great foundation for other legislative or public policy work.

Applications for this position will open later this year, so check back at if interested.

More information about Page duties and expectations can be found here.

SF 516(Public Lands) Update


Senate File 516, a bill that proposed maintenance over acquisition for the DNR and state-owned lands, sparked a heated debate over the last few weeks. I served on the Environmental Protection subcommittee for the bill and received many emails standing in opposition to SF516.

The bill, after being moved from Environmental Protection to the State Government committee, has officially "died," as we refer to it here in the legislature. The legislation did not make it through subcommittee or full committee before the funnel deadline last Friday. 

Homeschooling Resources in District 88

After a great conversation with a constituent this week, I wanted to take some time to highlight some of the available homeschooling resources in District 88. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions in regards to these opportunities.

Mahaska County:

Oskaloosa Homeschool Assistance Program (HSAP)

"For parents who choose to educate their children at home, the Osky HSAP provides another alternative for complying with state legal requirements. The Oskaloosa Community School District will add no additional requirements on home educators other than the minimum required by state law." Learn more about HSAP at this link.

Christian Homeschool Assistance Program (CHAP) of Oskaloosa

 "CHAP's desire is to come alongside the parents and lighten the load of full-time homeschooling parents and create a community for like-minded homeschooling families whose desire is to glorify God and make much of Him in their everyday lives." You can learn more about CHAP and what classes, programs, etc. they offer at this link!

Keokuk County:

Mid-Prairie Homeschool Assistance Program

MSHSAP's mission is to provide support, resources, and assistance to parents as primary teachers in their endeavor to achieve quality home education. Learn more at their website.

Jefferson County:

Heartland School of Learning

Heartland School of Learning provides whole child education in a safe environment to prepare students to be lifelong learners through both a classical curriculum and emphasis on the individuality of each child. They provide a collaborative option for homeschoolers in the Fairfield area. Learn more here!


Homeschool Iowa is a statewide organization that exists to equip and encourage Iowa homeschooling families and to promote and protect home education in our state. They offer resources for navigating homeschooling as well as connections to homeschoolers in your local area. More information at this link.

There are also tax credits available for homeschooling families. You can learn more about those available credits here.

I have also received some questions about the new Education Savings Accounts in regards to homeschooling. The short answer is, the ESAs do not apply to homeschoolers. Homeschool Iowa has prepared a brief on this legislation that provides a summary of what you need to know. You can also view the Department of Education's ESA webpage at this link.

As a 20-year homeschooler myself, I fully support pro-homeschooling legislation and will continue to vote in favor of the freedom to homeschool.

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Contact Information

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions, comments, or concerns you may have. I love to hear from you and want to represent you accurately! 



Phone: 515.281.3221

Donation Information:

Upcoming Events

Here are the dates for upcoming forums I will be at! I welcome all constituents to join me for these meetings. I want to hear what you have to say!

Fairfield Chamber of Commerce Legislative Forum at the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center (200 North Main St. Fairfield, IA)

will take place on these dates:

April 8 - 7:30-9:00am

If you have any questions about these events, don't hesitate to reach out to me. Forums and events will be posted on my Facebook page as well as here in the newsletter!

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