Beware of Tax Rate Complacency

Toyota Financial Services recently announced that as a result of consolidating customer service centers, the Cedar Rapids facility will close and cut 600 jobs, due in part to the private sector employing 5% fewer people than a year ago. The consolidation of customer service centers is a loss for Iowa and a win for other states, such as Texas. Businesses […]

Break the Monopoly

  In a recent article, Robert Pondiscio, a Senior Fellow and Vice President for external affairs at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, made a compelling argument on the need for competition in education. Pondiscio is writing from experience as a former public school educator and as a parent. As Pondiscio explains: My progressive credentials were in reasonably good order until […]

Alayna Davidson

“Education is definitely not a one-size-fits-all deal… That’s why having the choice where you go is so important.”   “I was in a lot of foster homes as a child. Then, I was adopted by the Davidsons when I was eight years old. My mom and dad knew about Joshua Christian Academy before I was adopted, but they didn’t send […]

A Republic, If You Can Keep It

The late intellectual historian Stephen J. Tonsor wrote that in America, “the Founding is determinative, and the Constitution stands at the very center of American political conservatism.” As Tonsor wrote: Central to conservative doctrine, and the translation of this doctrine into the politics of a particular time and place, is the fear of unchecked power and its centralization…It is for […]

Gov. Reynolds Should Reject Federal COVID Relief Money

President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress are celebrating the recent passage of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP), which is a $1.9 trillion package aimed at providing COVID-19 relief. The $1.9 trillion “stimulus” is in addition to $4 trillion in previous spending directed towards pandemic relief. The American Rescue Plan will not only add to the escalating $28 trillion […]

The Politicization of Education

An Iowa Grandfather recently shared a conversation he had with his granddaughter about what she was learning in American History. His granddaughter, who is a fourth-grade public school student, was learning about the American Revolution. After inquiring what she learned, she replied, “Grandpa, did you know that the revolutionary war was fought for the freedom of rich white males?” This […]

Debunking the Myths Surrounding School Choice

  Public funds are never used for private entities.  Fiction Many government programs are based on funding individuals directly rather than funding institutions. Public funds are often used for private purposes such as food stamps, Pell Grants, the G.I. Bill, and Medicaid. Individuals and families who are recipients of these public funds can choose from a variety of both public […]

Johan & Kelly Carl

“We like that we have the freedom to choose where we send our boys to school. We’re also very thankful that we are financially able to do that because there are so many other families out there that don’t have the same opportunities as we do.”   “Kelly and I are both teachers here in Waterloo and the parents of […]

School Choice: Bureaucrats vs. Students

At the center of the school choice debate is whether families or bureaucrats are in control of education. Governor Kim Reynolds has made parental choice in education a priority for the 2021 legislative session. Whether it is ensuring all Iowa students have the option to return to class or expanding parental choice, Governor Reynolds understands that education is about students […]

Iowa Needs Job Licensing & Board Reviews

During the last legislative session, the legislature passed, and Governor Kim Reynolds signed a historic occupational licensing reform measure.  The law allows for universal recognition of out-of-state licenses, waives licensing fees for low-income individuals, and establishes a standard for a fairer review process if a license is denied based on past criminal convictions. Policymakers have an opportunity to build upon […]

Conservative Iowa Budget

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Republican-led legislature have mainly been following fiscal conservative principles of limiting spending and reducing tax rates. Gov. Reynolds even received an “A” grade from Cato Institute’s 2020 Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors for her fiscal conservatism. As a result of conservative budgeting practices, Iowa’s fiscal house was not only prepared for the economic emergency caused […]

Benefits of Competition in Education

During her Condition of the State address, Governor Kim Reynolds outlined a comprehensive school choice reform plan. One aspect of this calls for expanding charter schools in Iowa. Charter schools are public schools that are run independently but are still held accountable to state and federal standards. These schools are currently limited in Iowa but can provide a more flexible […]

How to Stop Corporate Subsidies on the Taxpayers’ Dime?

Des Moines is rightly excited about plans to build multiple new sports facilities. But Iowa taxpayers ought to be concerned about the city’s request for $57 million in state subsidies to underwrite real estate developers’ profits. Cronyism of this sort has been a consistent problem across America, but there’s hope on the horizon. States have been locked in a perpetual […]

Creating Educational Opportunity

Coretha lost her husband sixteen years ago. Twelve years later, she lost her daughter, Da’Onna. After this tragedy, Coretha is raising her three grandchildren by herself. Although she was happy with the local public school, she quickly found that her grandchildren were being bullied. She began looking for an alternative option, but she quickly realized she could not afford it on […]

Coretha Monmouth

“Educations savings account would make it possible for my kids to attend the school that best fits them.”   “I’m raising my three grandkids after my youngest daughter, Da’Onna, passed away four years ago.” “Da’Onna became sick and I moved in with her to help out with the kids. Four years ago, this month, she went in for a procedure […]

Can Uncle Sam Afford a $1.9 Trillion Stimulus?

President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress are pushing for a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package. Congress has already approved $4 trillion in pandemic relief and stimulus measures and billions of that money has yet to be spent. Congress is also considering a $6.1 trillion budget and the $28 trillion national debt continues to escalate. Federal policymakers should avoid another […]

Time to Eliminate Barriers to Tax Relief

Tax rates matter, and they play a significant role in how competitive a state economy is in relation to other states. Higher tax rates penalize hard-working individuals, families, and businesses and deter economic growth, making a state less competitive. To make Iowa more economically competitive, Governor Kim Reynolds has made tax reform a priority. Taxes on income, which include both […]

A Needed Reform for Iowa’s Property Taxpayers

Iowa’s high property taxes are a growing concern. The Tax Foundation examined the “effective tax rates on owner-occupied housing” across the United States. Iowa ranked 12th highest in the nation. At the heart of high property taxes is local government spending. Unless spending is controlled, any property tax relief will be limited. Iowa’s property tax system is complex, and more transparency is needed. […]

Sarah Curry

“Educations savings account would make it possible for my kids to attend the school that best fits them.”   “We moved here from Raleigh, North Carolina and live on an acreage just outside the city limits of Glenwood, Iowa. We drive down three miles of gravel road to get to our house.” “I got a job offer in Omaha, but […]

Chassidi Martin

“Putting dollars behind the child with education savings accounts… would  give many more families the ability to choose the education that fits their values and child’s needs.”   “I was born and raised here in Waterloo, Iowa. I’ve always been very Waterloo-proud. When I went to college, I wanted to get some experience to bring back to this area – […]

The Historical Roots of Big Government

Our government has changed drastically since the American Founding. The implied powers of Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution have expanded greatly and almost all aspects of American life is impacted on some level by government. How did we go from a government that was designed by the Constitution to be limited to a government that has become a […]

Should Kansas’ Experience with Tax Reform Stop Reform in Iowa?

Reforming a state tax code in order to provide relief, economic growth, and create a more competitive economic climate is straightforward in terms of economics, but difficult in the world of politics. A major reason for this difficulty is tax rate reductions are in direct conflict with numerous policy interests that demand new or additional spending. Iowa, alongside the vast […]

Rev. Keith Ratliff

“…parents must have to be able to give their child an education that isn’t at odds with what they’re teaching at home.”   “Back in 2008, Mrs. Chris Hurley and myself began talking to each other about the importance of having a Christian school in the urban area, in Des Moines – one that would also be affordable for the […]