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King receives tax break for D.C. residents despite living in Iowa
Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron, has been identified as one of four members of Congress who are improperly receiving a homestead tax deduction, according to the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call.
The exemption allows people who own homes in Washington, D.C., to receive a $67,500 reduction on the assessed value of their home. The deduction also caps increases on the assessed value of homes at 10 percent above the previous year’s tax assessment. It is not supposed to be available to those who claim residency in another state even if they have a home in the District.
King, who bought a one-bedroom condominium in D.C. in 2005 for $325,000, told Roll Call he believes “the D.C. tax department made a mistake.” A King spokesman declined further comment to Roll Call.
In 2005, an investigation found that 22 senators were receiving the tax break. District officials blamed a computer glitch and have since audited the program to purge those unqualified to receive the tax break and collect back taxes owed.
At the time, several observers questioned how lawmakers could not know they were receiving the exemption since it is noted on the property tax bills homeowners receive twice a year, including a calculation of any savings.
Pete Sepp, spokesman for the National Taxpayers Union — a longtime King ally — told Roll Call that accepting the deduction amounts to “tax avoidance.”
“More than the law here is the appearance,” Sepp added. “Constituents already tend to feel that lawmakers spend too much time in Washington and not enough time at home, so how is this going to help improve that image?”
One group upset with King is supporters of allowing the nation’s capitol voting rights in the U.S. House. Earlier this month, the Iowa Republican helped stall a bill granting those rights by attaching an amendment gutting the city’s gun laws. District-based blog DCist chided King for his misstep.
King comes out looking worst of the bunch — not only is he seemingly cheating on his taxes, but he also helped stall the recent D.C. voting rights bill. Tsk tsk.
Others named in the Roll Call story were Rep. Tom Petri, R-Wis.; Rep. Phil Gingrey R-Ga.; and Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala.
Update: Washington, D.C., officials confirmed King’s story.