The Senate unanimously approved a $1.2 million property tax relief measure on Tuesday, calling it the first step to easing the burden on homeowners and local governments.
Money for the measure comes from a windfall the state gets from the sale of the nuclear plant near Palo, and key lawmakers insist it's only the beginning of a session-long focus on the issue.
The bill was approved virtually without debate on a 46-0 vote, and goes to the House where quick approval is expected.
Democrats, who control the Legislature, and Republicans concede that property taxes - particularly commercial property taxes - are out of line in the state, making it unable to compete with neighboring states.
Finding a solution is complex, with fiscal experts predicting the state could see a $500 million property tax increase this year, through growth in local government budgets and increased property valuations.
While both parties pledge cuts, they have yet to find a solution that doesn't shift the tax burden to other classes of property, or call for the earmarking of substantial amounts of money from other sources.
Gov. Chet Culver did not offer significant property tax relief when he sent a proposed state budget to the Legislature, and legislative leaders said they are studying the issue. Similar studies last year did not yield substantive action.