Disappointment for the Tax and Spend Crowd

Nothing from the local elections here in Iowa, nor races across the country, will have changed the perception that this political environment is toxic for those who want to push a tax and spend agenda.   Tuesday’s elections in Iowa and across the country are now in the books.  Iowa voters went to the polls to elect candidates to school […]

Iowa Voters Sour on Biden; Like Reynolds, Grassley, and Trump

ITR Foundation Poll shows strong support for cutting taxes and school choice The inaugural ITR Foundation Poll conducted in partnership with Cygnal reveals 54 percent of Iowans think the state is headed in the right direction. However, they are pessimistic about their personal economic outlook and say their income and property taxes are too high. ITR Foundation (formerly TEF Iowa) […]

Releasing Iowa’s Economic Albatross

All indications, except for the precarious feel of the China trade war, seem to show that Iowa’s economy is doing well.  While we may be enjoying a temporary surge due to President Donald Trump’s economic policies, we must make decisions that grow and sustain our state for the long haul. Iowa competes with other states, both for jobs and people, […]

Expanding Iowa’s Fields of Opportunity

Iowa needs more workers. Changing our burdensome occupational licenses would help Iowans climb the employment ladder and open the door to new residents.   Occupational licensing can be both excessive and expensive. This past spring Arizona became the first state in the nation to pass a universal licensing recognition for out-of-state job licensees. The Grand Canyon State is now more […]

Why So Many Regulations?

The Mercatus Center at George Mason University is researching state codes to determine the approximate number of regulatory restrictions. Based on their measurement, Mercatus found that South Dakota was the least restrictive with 44,000 restrictions within their state code, while California had the most with 396,000. Iowa’s state code has 160,000 restrictions – over three and one-half times more restrictions […]

Iowa needs some (tax) climate change!

Iowa has one of the worst business tax climates in the country. The state cannot afford to wait for more tax relief.   In 2018, the Iowa legislature gave taxpayers the first significant income tax relief legislation in 20 years. However, the relief will be phased in over multiple years, and the income tax rate reduction is subject to a […]

Our Taxes Aren’t “Iowa Nice”

A businessman in Sioux City recently stated it very plainly to us:  “We have stores in seven states.  Iowa is more expensive for property taxes than any other.”   Iowans are, for the most part, hardworking, friendly, and willing to help a stranger in need. Many call this “Iowa nice.”  However, our state’s tax code has been ranked as one […]

The Education Funding Debate in Iowa

When the Iowa Legislature returns for the 2020 session next January, there will undoubtedly be declarations from some corners of the Capitol that public education is not being fully funded. Education will not be alone in this regard; the fully funded claim will be applied to multiple policy areas, especially by those special interest groups advocating for more taxpayer funding. […]

Never Abandon the Constitution

“The Constitution is the guide which I never will abandon.” – George Washington, 1795   On Tuesday, September 17, 2019, the nation remembers the events that took place in the summer of 1787. September 17th is Constitution Day and Americans will have an opportunity whether in school, institutions of higher education, or other events to remember what President Herbert Hoover […]

Iowa Budget Transparency

FY 1999 to FY 2018 The amount of money collected from Iowans for the General Fund has increased from $4.4 billion to $7.38 billion in 20 years. During the last legislative session, the legislature began the process of lowering Iowa’s high tax rates, but we will still need further rate reduction. Lowering tax rates and unshackling Iowa’s economy from excessive […]

Iowa, Tear Down These Barriers

Protecting the safety and health of citizens is a legitimate function of government. Occupational licensing is not necessarily the only way to do that, and a balance must be struck between regulation and liberty.   Iowa’s policymakers and business leaders agree: The state’s economy needs more skilled workers. One area of regulatory reform state leaders should look at to address […]

Where’s Everyone Going?

In just one year, over 9,000 Iowans moved to Florida, Texas, and South Dakota ­– all states that do not have an income tax.   Since 1980, the nation’s population has grown by more than 40 percent, and Iowa’s population has only grown 7 percent. Tax rates have a direct impact on the population. States with lower tax rates have […]

There’s Red Tape In My Hair

Barbers and hairstylists in Iowa must cut through massive amounts of red tape before they can cut hair.   Red tape, in the form of excessive regulations, makes it harder for Iowa to attract new residents and create new opportunities for current workers. Sadly, these burdensome regulations are not only cost-prohibitive for many, but they also shut the door on improving […]

‘Cadillac Tax’ will hit Iowans hard

The Cedar Rapids Gazette recently published a guest column from Walt Rogers, TEF Iowa Deputy Director about the impending implementation of the “Cadillac Tax.” Under the Cadillac Tax, the federal government will impose a 40 percent excise tax on all employer-sponsored health insurance plans, as well as workplace-provided health care and wellness programs.   ‘Soaring deductibles and medical bills are […]

State Government is Picking Winners and Losers

Iowa competes with 49 states for businesses and people. What policies will allow Iowa to be more competitive and attract more people, businesses, and entrepreneurial activity?   While the economy overall is doing well, Iowa is still confronted with some serious economic problems. Whether it is slow population growth, a growing divide between rural and urban communities, or a shortage […]

Helping Iowa Grow

People vote with their feet. Iowa’s population and economic growth requires lowering income tax rates and controlling spending.   There is clear evidence states that reduce tax rates and control spending not only grow economically but attract new residents. Tax rates matter and the more a government taxes something the less you get. High taxes not only discourage investment, entrepreneurship, […]

This Wine Tax Will Not Age Well

Sour grapes! Iowa has the fourth highest tax on wine in the nation.   When considering wine, Iowa may not necessarily be the first region connoisseurs think about. However, Iowa’s wine industry does have an economic impact in our state. Iowans and tourists often visit one of nearly 100 wineries and the state government taxes wine at $1.75 per gallon, […]

How Much Abuse is There in Medicaid?

Fraud and abuse within Medicaid are not only hurting those who truly need services, but it is also fleecing taxpayers.   Several states have recently found fraud and abuse within their Medicaid programs. Fraud and abuse within Medicaid are not only hurting those who truly need services, but it is also fleecing taxpayers. Medicaid is a joint federal-state program, which […]

Out-of-Control Spending Highlights Need for Fiscal Sanity

Lobster tail, crab, booze, and a foosball table were purchased in the Federal Government’s use-it-or-lose-it spending spree. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) won election to the United States Senate for promising to make the federal government “squeal.” The reference is in response to the out-of-control spending that has plagued the federal government for decades. The current federal budget process is broken, […]

Does Your State Have Medicaid Fraud and Payment Errors?

Taxpayer dollars lost to waste, fraud, or abuse are dollars that cannot fund services for those who truly need the services.   Beth Wood, who serves as North Carolina State Auditor, reported the “state Department of Health and Human Services improperly paid more than $100 million in Medicaid claims during fiscal year 2018.” The “errors” consisted of “overpayments to providers, along with […]