Where Did Iowa’s Local COVID Relief Funds Go?

In March 2021, the United States was in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to previous large-scale stimulus measures, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) on a party-line vote. Relief for state and local governments was among the most thoroughly debated provisions of the legislation, ultimately sending $130.2 billion to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments. Iowa cities and counties collectively received $1.162 billion. The state’s largest eleven metropolitan cities received nearly $335 million, while counties took in $612 million and smaller governments received $216 million in payments.

The Impact of the National Recession on Iowa

Politicians, policy makers, and members of the media are scrambling to redefine the term “recession” for the American public.  Sometimes these explanations are counter to the traditional economic classification of a recession which is two consecutive quarters of negative growth, as measured by the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). For anyone keeping track at home, though, the economy declined by 1.6 percent during the first […]

The Impact of the National Recession on Iowa

Politicians, policy makers, and members of the media are scrambling to redefine the term “recession” for the American public. Sometimes these explanations are counter to the traditional economic classification of a recession which is two consecutive quarters of negative growth, as measured by the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). For anyone keeping track at home, though, the economy declined by 1.6 percent during the first quarter of 2022, and the first estimate of second quarter activity is scheduled to be released on Thursday, July 28; the next announcement of GDP data could signal the arrival of a recession. That GDP release will likely follow another interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve as the FOMC tries to turn back inflation that’s at a 40-year high.

The Fight to Restore Fiscal Sanity to Congress

The record high inflation that is plaguing Americans is being fueled by out-of-control federal spending. The federal government has spent over $6 trillion on COVID-19 related pandemic stimulus measures. The most recent, American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was not even needed as most states are experiencing large surpluses. The national debt is over $30 trillion and rising, which translates to an estimated $97,500 per citizen.

Guaranteed Income Veers Away From Role of Local Government

This week’s episode of ITR Live included a discussion of the city of Des Moines’s decision to participate in a pilot program that aims to provide guaranteed income to low-income residents of central Iowa.  While this calls to mind Andrew Yang’s universal basic income proposal from 2020’s Democratic presidential primaries, one significant difference appears to be that this program is being driven by mayors across the country, rather than by the federal government.   In a city that already has a heavy property tax burden, the Des Moines City Council has committed $500,000 to a program that doesn’t fit within the traditional role of local government.

Iowa Voters High on Gov. Reynolds and Conservative Policies, while Biden Slide Continues

The most recent Iowans for Tax Relief Foundation Poll, conducted by Cygnal, shows Governor Kim Reynolds remains popular, President Joe Biden is growing more unpopular, and Iowans strongly support an amendment to the Iowa Constitution that recognizes the right to bear arms.   Additionally, a majority of Iowans support the federal government reducing taxes and spending to combat record-high inflation. Governor Reynolds […]

State Government Employment Trends

One topic that comes up frequently when we sit down with taxpayers across Iowa is the number of people our state government employs.  Iowans intuitively understand that there are very real and significant costs shouldered by the state for each member of its workforce.  For instance, the Legislative Services Agency reports in their most recent Factbook that Iowa spent over $1.5 billion in total compensation just three years ago, accounting for roughly 20% of that year’s state budget.  And that doesn’t even count employees at the three regents universities*!

Fostering a Competitive and Friendly Tax Climate

Earlier this year, Governor Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Legislature passed the largest tax relief measure in the state’s history. The historic tax reform will replace the progressive income tax with a flat 3.90 percent rate by 2026. Iowa’s corporate tax rate will also gradually phase down until it reaches a flat 5.50 percent. Starting next year, the reform will repeal all state taxes on retirement income.

The Latest Assault on our Constitution and the States

Once again it appears that policymakers in Washington, D.C. are trying to further centralize power and squeeze the sovereignty of the states. Federalism, which refers to the division of power between the federal government and the states, is a pillar of American constitutionalism.  The United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee has a bill before them that would set a dangerous precedent regarding tax policy if enacted.  It’s called the STAMP Act which stands for ‘Stop Taxes Against Menstrual Products Act of 2022’. It would tell states and local governments that they cannot levy a sales tax on the retail sale of menstrual products.

Biden’s Way or the Iowa Way

As Americans try to deal with the impact of rising inflation, President Biden had a tweet this weekend with his plan to lower gas prices. Biden’s solution is issue a command that gas stations simply lower the price. Brilliant. Chris Hagenow, Chris Ingstad and Sarah Curry get together to discuss this stunning ignorance of free market economics and the audacity to believe that the President holds the power to dictate terms to private citizens.