Into The Abyss

ITR Live gets together to talk about Governor Reynolds joining other governors in a lawsuit challenging the Biden Administration’s student loan forgiven plan. The conversation then turns to our state’s growing budget surplus, and how that stands in stark contrast to the exploding federal debt. John has further thoughts on how our massive federal debt might impact our nation’s future.

Conservative Budgeting Continues to Pay Off for Iowa

Governor Kim Reynolds announced that Iowa’s budget will end Fiscal Year 2022 with a $1.91 billion surplus, which follows Fiscal Year 2021’s $1.24 billion surplus. Iowa’s financial position is due to prudent budgeting and fiscally conservative policies. Governor Reynolds and the legislature are demonstrating that their fiscal policies work to create a healthy economy and a strong financial foundation.

Kraig Paulsen, who serves as the Director of both the Departments of Management and Revenue, stated that “Iowa’s strong financial status again proves that we continue to over collect from Iowa taxpayers.” As a result, Governor Reynolds and the legislature have made it a priority to return the money back to taxpayers.

Giving Property Tax Protection “Teeth”

In 2019, Iowa lawmakers passed a property tax accountability and transparency law. Any city or county government with a proposed budget increase of more than 2% above the previous year must now hold a public hearing first. Then, if the elected body still wishes to raise taxes after holding that hearing, it must achieve a supermajority vote of its members.

While this law is a good start, huge property tax increases in recent years prove that more needs to be done to slow the growth. ITR Foundation is both monitoring legislators’ plans to “give teeth” to the 2019 reforms and investigating other states with similar laws on the books. Nebraska, for instance, just implemented a tax accountability and transparency policy, so we traveled to Omaha for the first related public hearing.

Way Too Early

The City of Des Moines plans to give 100% of the revenue from a TIF (Tax Increment Financing) district to property developers.  The price tag for this development could reach $1 billion. Is that fair? ITR Foundation (ITRF) President Chris Ingstad is a student of TIF and has answers to some very basic questions: Is there any evidence to show that this will boost overall economic activity, and are these incentives really necessary?  Will individual taxpayers benefit in any way?

Runaway Property Taxes

This action-packed episode of ITR Live is sure to entertain as we talk about crazy Uber rides, one-of-a-kind BBQ, and the thrilling, action-packed, heart-pounding agenda of a state think tank policy conference.

The gang also talks about recent headlines focused on an upcoming round of real estate assessments for properties in Polk County. The Polk County assessor estimates that residential assessments will increase by 22% next year. If you aren’t enthused about the corresponding increase in your property tax bill, who is to blame? What can you do about it? What can the legislature do about it?

Avoiding “Tax Shifts” for a Taxpayer Win

Politicians’ talk about tax relief doesn’t always mean the taxpayer wins in the end. Not all tax relief is created equally, as a comparison of Iowa with its neighbor to the west will show.

Iowa enacted historic tax reforms in March that significantly cut income taxes and reduced taxpayers’ liability. This change was possible because the state had been prudent with its dollars. Iowa did not increase spending, has fully funded reserves, and is experiencing a billion-dollar budget surplus. That is what a taxpayer victory looks like.

Removing the Mental Health Tax Burden From Counties

In 2021, Governor Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Legislature worked to addresses high property taxes across the state with the passage of a measure which realigned the mental health funding system from local counties to the state budget.  Historically, Iowa has been the only state in the nation to fund mental health programs through local property taxes. This resulted in a large […]

Lessons Learned From Iowa Tax History

By Sarah Curry, DBA At the end of the 19th Century, Iowa levied property taxes on just about everything. Yes, real estate and homes like we do today, but also jewelry and other personal property, household goods, and intangibles such as mortgages, bonds, and stock holdings. Taxes were widely felt to be burdensome, unequal, and unfair, leading many Iowans to […]

Combating Runaway Property Taxes

Recent headlines in Central Iowa are focused on an upcoming round of real estate assessments for properties in Polk County.  Long-time Polk County assessor Randy Ripperger estimates that residential assessments will increase by 22% next year.  We doubt Polk County residents will be the only Iowans experiencing a large jump in their assessed values; anyone who has tried to purchase […]

Tax Ferrets

Iowa once had a property tax system that involved the use of “Tax Ferrets,” whose job it was to investigate individual Iowans to ensure compliance.   On this episode of ITR Live, Chris got a new microphone and talks about the event where he got to meet all 11 of our listeners. Chris Ingstad and Sarah Curry join the podcast […]

Senator Jack Whitver: Iowa’s Quiet Conservative

In recent years, Iowa has led the nation in conservative policy reforms. Governor Kim Reynolds rightly deserves a great deal of credit for her leadership in implementing pro-growth tax reforms, championing a student-first approach to education, fighting against the woke cultural Marxist agenda and leading Iowa responsibility through the pandemic. Nevertheless, Governor Reynolds has been able to achieve many of these great accomplishments because of a conservative legislature. Iowa Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver is a “quiet conservative” who is not only an ally of the Governor but is a crucial leader who is advancing a conservative policy agenda.

Divide et Impera (Divide and Rule)

Chris, Chris, and John return from their long, unexplained hiatus to discuss two topics:

Pat Buchanan claims that Liberal Elites Detest Middle America after President Biden gave an inflammatory speech last week and brings receipts.
John praises Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver for being the quiet conservative in Iowa. Click to read the Senator Jack Whitver article.

State Revenue in August Paints a Positive Picture

Iowa’s revenue report for August has been released and the news for the month was encouraging. Even under the weight of continued inflation and a national recession, the state’s net General Fund revenue was $57 million (6.5%) above the August 2021 net revenue level.

When broken down by the three largest sources of revenue-personal income tax, sales/use tax, and corporate income tax-each category demonstrated monthly growth over 2021 (directly from the LSA Revenue Memo):