Herbert Hoover, America’s forgotten conservative

President Herbert Hoover led a remarkable life that was based upon public service, humanitarianism, and a belief that America is an exceptional nation. Nevertheless, many conservatives today are often critical of Hoover. Some have even described President Joe Biden as the next “Herbert Hoover” because of the current state of the economy. President Hoover’s policies during the Great Depression can be debated, and they deserve more consideration, more than just the standard knee-jerk reaction often provided by many conservative and libertarian commentators. Nevertheless, Hoover deserves better from conservatives. Herbert Hoover is a forgotten conservative statesman, whose philosophy and ideas can still serve as a guide for conservatives. In reflecting on Hoover’s conservatism, Richard Norton Smith, a Hoover biographer and presidential historian, wrote that “none has more relevance to our own time than Hoover’s role as a philosopher of modern conservative thought.”

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.

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.

Unemployment Rate Continues to Fall: Biden Recession Ahead?

Iowa’s economy is in strong condition. Problems remain, such as the need for more workers to fill the thousands of open jobs throughout Iowa. Nevertheless, thanks to sound conservative fiscal policies from Governor Kim Reynolds and the legislature, the state is on a solid foundation. Conservative budgeting and pro-growth tax reforms are creating a stronger economy. However, national economic headwinds are creating problems and it appears more likely that an economic recession is imminent.

A Pro-Taxpayer Budget

The 2022 legislative session was historic for Iowa taxpayers. Nearly two months ago the legislature passed the largest tax relief measure in Iowa history, which was signed into law by Governor Kim Reynolds on March 1. What too many people overlook is that significant tax cuts like Iowa’s are only made possible by years of prudent and conservative budgeting.

Since 2018, Governor Reynolds and the legislature have placed an emphasis on passing tax reforms and restraining the growth of spending. This legislative session delivered the third (and largest) round of tax cuts yet, which was accompanied by a budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 of $8.2 billion. This is a slight increase from the $8.1 billion FY 2022 budget and will likely mean yet another large budget surplus. 

Iowa’s Unemployment Rate Continues to Decline

Iowa’s unemployment rate declined to 3 percent in April, which is down from 3.3 percent in March. “The number of unemployed Iowans decreased to 50,900 in April from 55,600 in March. The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,646,800 in April — a figure that is 10,000 higher than March and 45,100 higher than one year ago,” reported Iowa Workforce Development. Unemployment insurance claims are at their lowest level since 1973.

Is Iowa Prepared for the Federal Debt Crisis?

Uncle Sam is broke and the nation is on the verge of a serious debt crisis, if we are not already in one.  The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released an alarming report regarding the nation’s fiscal health and their conclusions aren’t good.  The report, which should be taken very seriously, flatly states, “The federal government faces an unsustainable fiscal future.”  Consider the magnitude of Congress’s own watchdog cautioning the nation that we cannot continue down the same spending path we are on.

The Fight To Preserve Iowa’s Voice

It appears the Republican Party will maintain Iowa’s first in the nation status for its 2024 presidential caucus, but uncertainty remains whether Democrats will continue to have Iowa leadoff their party’s nominating process. Iowa’s first in the nation presidential caucuses have become a tradition and are an integral part of the state’s political culture. As a reminder, Donald Trump won Iowa’s Republican caucus in 2020 and Pete Buttigieg was the choice of Iowa Democrats that year.

Iowa Poised to Make a Move

For fifteen years the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has produced Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index. This broad index measures 15 policy variables that ALEC has deemed important to economic growth, with a particular focus on tax and spending policies.

Foreign Acquisition of American Agriculture

The United States is growing more dependent on foreign nations for necessities, including potentially hostile nations such as China. As we examined last month, 2021 was the 10th straight year America’s trade deficit with the Chinese eclipsed $300 billion.  If that pattern is not alarming enough, though, there’s more worrisome activity being undertaken by China: the massive acquisition of American farmland.  By the United States Department of Agriculture’s own estimate, investments from China held $2 billion of American agricultural land at the beginning of 2020.

Truth-in-Taxation: A Rock Chalk Taxpayer Protection

March Madness wrapped up last week with the Kansas Jayhawks being crowned National Champions.  While there may not be many Iowans who joined Jayhawk fans in celebrating that victory, there was another win in Kansas that we can all be happy about: property taxes.  The map above identifies 21 Kansas counties that actually experienced a decline in property taxes this year.

Before examining what caused the big win in Kansas (the property taxes, not the basketball), we should reflect on the property tax situation in our state.  Iowans are demanding property tax relief and nobody can blame them.  Even before inflation reached record highs, putting a major squeeze on household budgets, Iowans felt the pain of having a heavier property tax burden than 40 other states.

What Would Hamilton Say About China?

A few recent headlines have passed without much attention. The first story is our national debt has reached $30 trillion, while the second is the trade deficit for 2021 hit a record  $859.1 billion. Both stories were virtually ignored because the American people have just become numb to the topics, though they may be missing some wider ramifications, especially when it comes to trade.

Iowa’s Gold Standard Tax Reform

For several years we have praised North Carolina for its historic tax reform. The Tarheel State is the gold standard for prudent state tax policy that pairs conservative budgeting with shrinking tax rates. Governor Kim Reynolds and Iowa’s legislature have followed a similar path to deliver pro-growth tax reform by balancing restrained spending growth with income tax cuts. Years of prudent budgeting enabled the passage of historic tax reform this year, which will create a flat 3.9 percent income tax rate by 2026.

Remembering Bob Williams

By John Hendrickson This past week we lost a champion of liberty with the passing of Bob Williams. Bob served as a state legislator from Washington and he founded two state policy think tanks, Evergreen Freedom Foundation and the Washington Policy Center. As a lawmaker and as a public policy professional, Bob Williams was a budget hawk and a defender […]

Budget Growth & Tax Cuts: A Win-Win for Iowa

Let’s make something clear right away: Iowa’s state budget is going to continue to grow in the coming years. The only reason that point may be in question is Iowa’s Revenue Estimating Conference (REC), which has the difficult responsibility of estimating revenue for the state, recently released updated projections. The REC increased the current fiscal year (2022) estimate by 4.2 […]

Somebody Must Call the Bingo Numbers!

Reports that the Iowa Legislature eliminated the retirement income tax so that there would be enough people around to call the Bingo numbers have proven to be false.  Okay, while that thought may have never actually crossed anyone’s mind, our elected officials were certainly thinking about how to keep retirees in our state when they eliminated Iowa’s tax on retirement […]

Honesty is the Best Policy

Many people have been probably told by either a parent, grandparent, or even a teacher that “honesty is the best policy.” This rule should also apply to local governments. Taxpayers across the country are demanding answers on why local policymakers cannot deliver property tax relief. In response, a growing number of states are enacting strong Truth-in-Taxation laws that force local […]

Governor Kim Reynolds: Defender of Freedom and Conservatism

Image: Governor Kim Reynolds   “This campaign is more than a contest between two men. It is more than a contest between two parties. It is a contest between two philosophies of government,” stated President Herbert Hoover in describing his differences with then-Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt. Governor Kim Reynolds, just as with President Hoover, offered a different philosophy of government […]

Historic Tax Reform Achieved: Governor Reynolds and Iowa Legislature Deliver for Taxpayers

Yesterday the Iowa legislature passed a historic tax reform measure. Going into the 2022 legislative session Governor Kim Reynolds and the Republican-led legislature made tax reform a priority. The tax relief bill passed by both chambers phases in a 3.9 percent flat rate for individual income tax by 2026, a major reduction from today’s top marginal rate of 8.53 percent. […]

Tax Rates Matter

Tax rates matter. Whether it is allowing individuals to keep more of their hard-earned income or creating a more competitive economic climate, tax rates have a significant impact on a state. States are in economic competition with each other for both businesses and people. It is important for Iowa not to become complacent as numerous states are looking at reducing […]

Governor Reynolds Proposes 4% Flat Income Tax

Governor Kim Reynolds, in her Condition of the State address this week, delivered a Reagan-esque take on the finer points of governing.  “Under these ceilings, next to this marble, among these columns and portraits, it’s tempting to believe that nothing good happens unless we legislate it, regulate it, or fund it.  But in the small towns, around kitchen tables, in […]

Future Bright for 2022 Tax Reform

The Revenue Estimating Conference (REC), which is tasked with estimating revenue for the State of Iowa, met last week and continued to project healthy revenues for both Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023. “Six and a half months from now, there’s going to be a pretty significant ending balance and so I think the General Assembly and the governor are in […]