Historic Unemployment Rate

Iowa’s unemployment rate for April hit a historic high of 10.2 percent, up from 2.7 percent just one year ago. Iowa Workforce Development reported that the “number of unemployed Iowans jumped to 175,300 in April from 56,600 in March.”  The national unemployment rate stood at 14.7 percent in April. Kevin Hassett, who serves as an economic adviser to President Donald […]

Iowa Revenue Source

Do you know that the income taxes you pay to the state of Iowa makes up the majority of the General Fund budget? Iowa’s General Fund is supported not just by income taxes, but also sales and a variety of other taxes, fees, and revenue sources. In addition, the budget is supported by taxes paid to the federal government. In […]

Methods to Economic Recovery

Iowa’s economy is in a recession marked by high unemployment, not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Iowa’s economic crisis is a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19), which has  forced an economic shutdown of the state. Low commodity prices are also having a detrimental impact on the farming industry in our state.  Ernie Goss, PhD,  who serves as […]

American History’s Educational Decline

“I’m warning of an eradication of the American memory that could result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit. Let’s start with some basics: more attention to American history and a greater emphasis on civic ritual,” stated President Ronald Reagan in his Farewell Address to the nation. President Reagan’s warning still holds true today. We are confronted with a […]

Uncle Sam to the Rescue?

David Kennedy, prominent historian and Stanford University professor, in an interview with Governing discussed the COVID-19 (coronavirus) emergency in relation to the Great Depression. In that interview he stated, “[President] Calvin Coolidge said that if the federal government went out of business, the average person wouldn’t notice for six months, except for the post office. Now, the federal government is twice the size of the states all put together.”     […]

IOWA HEADED FOR ECONOMIC WINTER?

The United States is confronted by an unprecedented crisis with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. From an economic standpoint, the COVID-19 crisis is being compared to the Great Depression with the growing army of unemployed Americans and the possible historic loss in state and local tax revenues. In March, Iowa along with other states, closed the economy except for essential businesses […]

High Cost of Economic Development Incentives

The High Cost of Economic Development Incentives as a Tool for COVID-19 Recovery   Overview:   The last sustained period of economic downturn in the United States saw explosive growth in the size and scope of state and municipal tax credit and abatement programs, subsidies, grants and other forms of economic development incentives. With the benefit of hindsight and new research […]

Iowa Considers Opening Economy

In an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) the national economy is closed, which is resulting in millions of people unemployed and businesses wondering if they will survive.  Shelter-in-place and social distancing policies are working to slow the spread of COVID-19, but the longer the economy remains closed the greater the damage will be. There is great […]

COVID-19 Impacts Ag Economy

The coronavirus (COVID-19) is impacting Iowa’s entire economy. Social distancing, meant to slow the spread of the virus, has resulted in business closures and vast numbers of Iowans forced into unemployment. It is also impacting Iowa’s agricultural economy. A new study by the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University estimates that COVID-19 could impact agriculture in […]

Steps to an Economic Recovery

The coronavirus (COVID-19) is frightening enough, but the economic consequences of the virus makes the situation even more terrifying. As a result of COVID-19, thousands of Iowans are filing for unemployment and businesses across the state are trying to fend off bankruptcy. The current “cure” or deterrent to stopping the spread of the virus is social distancing and shelter-in-place policies, […]

Governor Reynolds: Protecting Iowans

The COVID-19 (coronavirus) national health emergency is requiring national sacrifice, the scale of which has not been seen in some time. Governors in each state are tasked with filling dual roles: providing up to date information to their citizens and coordinating resources and relief. Iowa’s Governor Kim Reynolds is demonstrating remarkable leadership in this crisis.   Even in times of […]

Dependent on China

“Why can’t the greatest economy in the history of the world produce swabs, face masks and ventilators in adequate supply?” asked Larry Summers, who served as Secretary of Treasury under President Bill Clinton. If COVID-19 (coronavirus) is not scary enough, Americans are learning that, as a nation, we have become dependent on foreign countries for essential medicines and medical supplies. […]

Prepare for Impact

The threat of a national economic recession hangs over the United States as a result of the health emergency caused by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. While much attention has been paid to what lawmakers in Washington D.C. have done, states and localities are also bracing for an economic recession. A month ago, Iowa’s economy was in a strong position with […]

First, Do No Harm

By Matthew D. Mitchell, Senior Research Fellow, Mercatus Center   COVID-19 presents a challenge of extraordinary scale and complexity. State policymakers across the country, like so many of us, want to know what they can do to help our nation’s healthcare professionals rise to this challenge. Their first task should be to eliminate or suspend laws that stand in the […]

Acts of Community and Service in Iowa

News outlets across Iowa are reporting on examples of humanitarianism and service during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) health emergency. These news stories are documenting the actions that businesses and individuals are providing in this time of crisis.  Below are a few of those stories. KCRG Channel 9 – Des Moines Dubuque Hy-Vee stores giving away more than 40,400 mini peaches at […]

The Spirit of Community and Service

News outlets across Iowa are reporting on examples of humanitarianism and service during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) health emergency. These news stories are documenting the actions that businesses and individuals are providing in this time of crisis.  And while this type of reporting is wonderful, it’s not able to include the countless unseen acts of kindness as Iowans help each other […]

Herbert Hoover: The Humanitarian

Herbert Hoover, who served as the 31st President of the United Sates, was born in 1874 in the small village of West Branch, Iowa. Growing up he was shaped by his Quaker upbringing. Orphaned at a young age he went to live with an Uncle in Oregon and eventually he enrolled at Stanford where he graduated with a degree in […]

State Tax Reform’s Gold Standard

North Carolina is one of the state’s best prepared to deal with the budget challenges from the new coronavirus outbreak. It also represents the gold standard for state tax reform, and the connection between these two should not be lost. The Tar Heel state has successfully reduced tax rates, while controlling the growth of spending and funding the priorities of […]

COVID-19’s Economic Impact Uncertain

  In our current situation, prudence is the best fiscal policy.   The economic impact of COVID-19 or the coronavirus is still uncertain. This national health emergency has resulted in business closures, unstable markets, and uncertainty as to when Americans can return to normalcy. Prior to COVID-19, the national economy, as well as Iowa’s, were both doing well; now fears […]

Coronavirus and Occupational Licensing

States Lead The Way in Coronavirus Crisis With Emergency Removal of Occupational Licensing Obstacles—Why Not Make Them Permanent?   Today, Vice President Mike Pence announced that the Department of Health and Human Services is considering a national emergency order that would allow doctors throughout the country to practice across state lines. This would be a good move, and luckily, many […]

Are PILOTs Needed?

In Des Moines, PILOTs (payment in lieu of taxes) on non-profits are being considered to address high property taxes. Should government focus more on additional revenue or fight for less spending?   The city of Des Moines is trying to address high property taxes and PILOTs are being considered as a solution.  PILOTs or payment in lieu of taxes, are payments […]

Empowering Property Taxpayers

Reducing the property burden is a priority for most Iowans. Cities and counties across Iowa are in the process of planning their budgets and holding public hearings. Government spending is at the heart of high property tax rates, and these budget hearings will not just establish what the city or county intends to spend, but also determine your future property […]