Rural Schools Stand to Benefit from School Choice

Rural citizens and legislators are concerned that school choice would take critical funding away from their local schools. ITR Foundation Deputy Director Walt Rogers sat down with Need to Know host Jeff Angelo to debunk this myth and explain how school choice would improve education quality through the competition. The discussion starts at the 9:25 minute mark.

How Does Your Property Tax Bill Compare?

How’s your property tax bill?  If you tell us it’s too high, we won’t argue with you.  In fact, we keep proposing solutions to deliver stronger taxpayer protections.  But property taxes exist to fund our K-12 education system and city and county governments, as well as other services we all have access to; they are never going away.  So maybe […]

Did Iowa Spark A Tax Reform Movement?

This year may be one of the most historic for states lowering income tax rates across the nation.  So far, at least six other states have joined Iowa in passing tax cuts, while many more have tax reform legislation under consideration. The graph above illustrates the new rates that will be delivered to individual taxpayers in their respective states. The […]

Is the Media Skipping Facts and Promoting Agendas?

Somehow Hunter Biden has managed to make himself the common thread that ties together a war in Eastern Europe with everything people dislike about politics in America, while pointing to this country’s  collective and completely justified distrust of the media.   We are not suggesting that Hunter’s activities in Ukraine have anything to do with Russia’s invasion.  But if American citizens […]

School Choice: Fighting Fear with Facts

Opponents of school choice want you to believe that school choice will hurt our public schools and that public money should not be used for private institutions. ITR Foundation Deputy Director Walt Rogers sat down with Need to Know host Jeff Angelo to discuss these myths surrounding school choice and why those objections do not hold water.  The discussion starts […]

How Do Iowans Want ARPA Funds Used?

Nothing says “overreach” like one government forcing another to spend $1 billion, but of course that’s the situation Iowa’s local governments find themselves in.  As we’ve written about, cities, counties, and school districts in Iowa have collectively received nearly $1.2 billion dollars from Uncle Sam through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and there are lots of ways to utilize […]

Local Governments Need to Follow Prudence in Utilizing ARPA Funds

Iowa cities, counties, and school districts are all beneficiaries of federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Iowa’s state government will receive over $5 billion from ARPA. Local governments have received $1.162 billion. School districts alone received $775 million in ARPA funds. This largess of federal funds should be used in the interest of the taxpayer. For local governments, priority should be given […]

Putting the Taxpayer First

From a taxpayer perspective, the 2022 legislative session is off to a good start. Governor Kim Reynolds, in her Condition of the State address, outlined a pro-growth tax reform plan that calls for a flat 4 percent income tax by 2026. House Republicans have also introduced a tax reform plan that calls for a flat 4 percent tax rate by […]

Governor’s Tax Plan By The Numbers

A state’s tax code is a tricky thing. No two states have identical laws governing their tax systems, so a direct, apples-to-apples comparison between states is impossible. There are lots of details and the details really matter. For instance, what is the standard deduction allowed by a state? This varies across the country, and becomes a key aspect of the tax plan released by Governor Kim Reynolds last week. But a good starting point for a review of all 50 state tax codes is the top marginal tax rate. Stated simply, the top marginal tax rate is the highest rate any given state levies on the income of its citizens and businesses.

Property Taxes Are Too High… Start the Conversation

In Iowa, we expect to receive quality public services at a reasonable cost.

However, in too many school districts, cities, and counties there is a gap between the amount of property taxes extracted from citizens and the growth of the community. For example, one Iowa school district is collecting 90 percent more in property taxes than it did 10 years ago while the number of students has remained the same.

What is going on? Why is this happening? It happens for different reasons in each locality across the state, but the heart of the problem is a failure to talk with local elected officials.

So, if you are upset about your property taxes, select your community below to take a look at the growth gap between property taxes and enrollment/population. Use our built-in email form to easily start a conversation with the people who determine your property tax bill.

Removing Regulatory Roadblocks to Home-Based Businesses

A Des Moines Register headline from September 2020 posed a question that is already being answered in the affirmative: As working from home becomes routine, will others follow? It’s not just large corporations in Iowa’s biggest city that have shifted where their employees work, but employers of all sizes in every corner of the state have developed flexible and remote work options. Just three years ago, 13 percent of Americans were working from home. At the height of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, that number had grown to nearly one third of Americans. It is natural to assume that out of necessity or opportunity, a similar trend has occurred among entrepreneurs.

Program Integrity and Work Requirements

In Iowa, Medicaid is not only one of the most significant drivers of the budget but also one of the fastest growing. Medicaid is a shared expense between states and the federal government, but recent policies on the national level, especially the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, have led to an expansion in recipients.

Getting Iowans Back to Work through Unemployment Reform

Iowa employers currently have numerous jobs available illustrating that a major problem confronting businesses is the need for workers. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted Iowa’s labor force and as the economy works through that impact, it will be important to encourage people to move back into the workforce. An area of reform that should be considered is Iowa’s unemployment guidelines.

Creating Opportunity by Removing Barriers

The ability for Iowans, as well as those who relocate to Iowa, to earn a living will be greatly improved due to 2020’s historic occupational licensing reforms passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Kim Reynolds. Those reforms allow for universal recognition of out-of-state licenses, waive licensing fees for low-income individuals, and establish a standard for a fairer review process if a license is denied based on past criminal convictions. Reforming occupational licensing expands liberty and makes Iowa a more competitive state.

Reducing Regulatory Burden Spurs Economic Growth

“Regulations influence behavior. When we want less of something, we regulate it. For the sake of our families, young people, and low-income workers, we must not regulate jobs out of existence,” stated Rea Hederman, Executive Director of the Economic Research Center and Vice President of Policy at Ohio’s Buckeye Institute for Public Policy. Reducing the regulatory burden on an economy will also spur economic growth, as President Trump demonstrated when his administration combined tax cuts with eliminating unnecessary regulation. That type of free market reform would be particularly powerful in Iowa, since we are home to some of the highest levels of state regulation in the Midwest and across the country.

A Solution Benefitting All Property Taxpayers

Income taxes aren’t the only piece of Iowa’s tax climate that impedes economic growth; our heavy property tax burden is harmful, too. Iowans are increasingly frustrated about their property taxes, likely because their local governments send them a bill that continues to grow each and every year. Thankfully, a solution exists that will benefit all property taxpayers in Iowa. Utah’s direct notification Truth-in-Taxation law has brought real property tax relief to Utah, and more states are starting to pass this pro-taxpayer reform.

Improving Iowa’s Income Tax Climate

“Today’s legislation ushers in a new era of growth and opportunity in Iowa,” said Governor Kim Reynolds when signing the 2021 tax reform bill into law. “But we are not done yet. Next year, I’ll be proposing additional income tax cuts as we continue to make Iowa the most attractive place in America to open a business, raise a family, and start a career,” stated Governor Reynolds. Iowa was one of 15 states that passed tax reform bills in 2021, continuing the work to improve Iowa’s tax climate that began in 2018. As Governor Reynolds has said, however, that work will need to continue.

Growing Iowa’s Economy – A Blueprint for Free-Market Solutions

Some of our country’s fastest growing states have spent the past decade crafting policies that lower taxes, reduce the regulatory burden, and rely on the choices of their citizens instead of government mandates and control.  The free-market solutions presented in this report are a blueprint for growth and a reliable roadmap for Iowa’s future. Click to download the report

Make an Impact Event

Do you want to play a role in the policy decisions that affect your community?  Do you want to learn how you can have a say in shaping your state’s future?  ITR Foundation has teamed up with Iowans for Tax Relief and Americans for Prosperity to host a free workshop on how to impact your lawmakers. These organizations bring years […]

Ask the Economist

  ITR Foundation Deputy Director Walt Rogers recently interviewed Dr. Ernie Goss, a professor of economics at Creighton University Heider College of Business. They covered many topics facing our economy today. Among them were: Supply chain: We do a monthly survey at Creighton University of supply managers and manufacturers, and we’ve been doing it for 25 years. This is the […]

Squeeze Until the Taxpayer Cries Uncle

Before President Biden left for a trip to Europe on Thursday, which will include climate talks and a meeting with Pope Francis, he was negotiating a new tax and spend plan with members of his own party in Washington.  Apparently, Iowans weren’t the only ones opposed to his $3.5 trillion Build Back Better plan, as the President was trying to […]