The great property tax debate that arrived with the promise of a resolution at the start of the 2012 session of the Iowa Legislature ended with a fizzle, and not without a little finger-pointing.
Lawmakers were optimistic that owners of commercial property would get some relief from a law that levies taxes on the full value of their property. Another plum was that owners of apartment buildings would see their rates rolled back to those imposed on residential property owners, who currently are assessed at about 50 percent of their home’s value.
Commercial real estate brokers and developers said the changes would have benefited sales and economic development. City governments fretted over potential lost revenues.
Problem was that Gov. Terry Branstad and lawmakers couldn’t find a path to deliver on their promise.
Some folks wondered whether commercial real estate transactions would take a nose dive during the heat of the debate. The Business Record wondered the same thing and took a look at commercial transactions in Polk County between Jan. 1 and May 9 – the day the legislative session ended this year. What the figures show is that the number of transactions dropped in 2012 from the same period in 2011, but the dollar amount increased and doubled that of 2010.
The statistics suggest that the commercial real estate market is making a slow recovery from the recession.