Municipal Finance - School Finance
The League of Women Voters of Iowa supports a wide range of local-option taxes as a means of broadening the sources of revenue available to Iowa cities including: retail sales tax (with the present legal exceptions), hotel/motel accommodations, food/beverage served at commercial establishments and cigarettes.
Local-option taxation should be subject to a reverse referendum by the voters.
The League opposes any increase in the $8.10/$1,000 maximum city property tax levy. While local-option taxation may make reductions possible in local property taxes, the League opposes any legislative requirement that a specified portion of the funds raised by local-option must be used to reduce property taxes.
The League supports an increase in the cities’ share of the Road Use Tax Fund as well as legislative study of means to further reduce municipal dependence on the property tax.
The League supports consideration of present inequities related to the taxation of business and industry, nonprofit organizations and agricultural land within city limits; increasing and stabilizing the aid from the Municipal Assistance Fund, and increasing the proportion of liquor profits returnable to cities.
The League believes the state should provide equal opportunity for each child in Iowa to receive a quality education regardless of the property wealth of the local school district. To this end, the League supports a state-school funding program that provides a minimum spending level for every child in Iowa funded by a combination of state aid and local property taxes.
The League believes the school-funding formula should be designed to generate adequate revenue and to preserve the overall fairness of the state’s tax structure. The state should give substantial support to public schools with state aid but should not provide full funding.
The League supports:
- The funding of local school district budgets with a larger proportion of state aid and a smaller proportion of local property taxes;
- The use of various factors to calculate the budgets of local school districts; for instance, enrollment, average per-pupil costs, and unique needs or other special circumstances;
- The allocation of additional funds on a per-pupil basis to meet the needs of special education, gifted, and at-risk students;
- The option for local school districts to supplement their budgets within state-determined limits and to allocate funds in a locally-determined manner; and
- The use of fiscal incentives that encourage school district sharing of services to increase flexibility, educational opportunity, and overall economy.
The League opposes:
- Increased reliance on local property taxes to support the budgets of local school districts.