In 2021's tax reform bill, the legislature decided to have the state's general fund start picking up the tab for mental health funding. By removing that cost from the county budget, the mental health levy was completely removed from property taxes to give Iowans a little bit of much-needed property tax relief.
Last year, mental health levies ranged from $0.12 (Audubon County) to $0.58 (Wapello County). Setting aside any discussion of valuations and assessments, it is a reasonable expectation that county property tax rates would be cut a comparable amount in each county this year.
However, that didn't happen in some counties. For example, eliminating Floyd County's $0.33 mental health levy didn't lead to a tax cut. Instead, county supervisors increased the total levy by almost $0.71, creating a net county levy rate increase of $1.04.
They aren't alone; 48 counties withheld the mental health savings from their citizens.
Below is an interactive map showing the amount of the 2022 mental health levy removed from each county in 2023, the 2022 total county levy, and the 2023 total county levy. Also shown is the change from 2022 to 2023. The blue counties increased rates while the light green counties lowered rates.