One topic that comes up frequently when we sit down with taxpayers across Iowa is the number of people our state government employs. Iowans intuitively understand that there are very real and significant costs shouldered by the state for each member of its workforce. For instance, the Legislative Services Agency reports in their most recent Factbook that Iowa spent over $1.5 billion in total compensation just three years ago, accounting for roughly 20% of that year’s state budget. And that doesn’t even count employees at the three regents universities*!
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.
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 […]
This year is shaping up to be a big one for tax relief. From Mississippi to Kansas to Virginia to Iowa, elected officials are taking many paths to make taxes less burdensome, but they should all bear one thing in mind: without spending discipline, sound tax policy is impossible to maintain over the long term. Government officials at both the state and federal levels have been trying for years to tax and spend their way to fiscal success. This is no way to build a stable fiscal house. Luckily, some states this year are exploring the kinds of strong budgetary rules that create the conditions for prosperity.
The roadmap to tax reform begins with a prudent budget and that’s precisely what Governor Kim Reynolds is planning for Iowa. For Fiscal Year 2023, which begins this July, Governor Reynolds is proposing an $8.2 billion General Fund budget. That amount equates to an increase of nearly $100 million dollars in new state spending for the budget as a whole. […]
President Joe Biden and the tax and spend Democrats could learn a lesson from Governor Kim Reynolds. Iowa will end Fiscal Year 2021 with a $1.24 billion surplus. Last year, Iowa’s surplus was $305 million. Since assuming office Governor Reynolds has pursed a policy of prudent budgeting and pro-growth tax reform that has kept Iowa’s fiscal house in strong and […]
Governor Kim Reynolds and the Republican-led legislature continued to follow fiscal conservatism. The legislature passed an $8.1 billion FY 2022 state budget. This budget is $290.7 million more than the FY 2021 budget. The $8.1 billion budget is over $4 million more than what Governor Reynolds originally proposed. Nevertheless, even as spending has slightly increased from the previous fiscal year, […]
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 […]
The Revenue Estimating Conference (REC), which is tasked with the difficult job of projecting state revenues, held their December meeting and is estimating Iowa will collect $8.2 billion in revenue for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022. The REC also increased the current FY 2021 estimate to $7.9 billion, which is a $65 million increase from their previous projection. The REC will […]
Should we build our deck? This is the question that one Iowa family shared with us recently. For years, this family has been saving to build a deck on the back of their house, but with the current economic uncertainty they are trying to decide whether this is the best use their money. Many Iowans can relate. Maybe for […]
The Cato Institute released their 2020 Fiscal Policy Report Card on American Governors, which “grades governors on their fiscal policies from a limited‐government perspective.” The report utilized “statistical data to grade the governors on their tax and spending records — governors who have restrained taxes and spending receive higher grades, while those who have substantially increased taxes and spending receive […]
Governor Kim Reynolds announced, Iowa will “end Fiscal Year 2020 with a balance of $305.5 million in its General Fund.” Governor Reynolds and the Republican legislature have been following prudent budget policies. This has been especially difficult considering the COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainty in the agricultural markets. “Fiscal responsibility has put the state of Iowa in a strong position […]
Recently TEF Iowa polled Iowans to get their view on some key public policy issues. In this guide you will find not only how Iowans think about these issues, but also public policy solutions that align with the interest of Iowans. TEF Iowa has developed this guide as a resource to provide legislative candidates additional information on some of the […]
Governor Kim Reynolds and the legislature have been working to control spending in Iowa. Prior to the COVID-19 emergency, Iowa was in a strong economic position with healthy and stable revenue growth. This included $800 million in reserves and a $400 million surplus. By March, all of this changed as the pandemic triggered an economic downturn and revenue uncertainty. In […]
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) released the 13th edition of Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index. Rich States, Poor States, measures the competitiveness of each state in terms of economic outlook and performance. In the latest rankings, Iowa has moved from 29th to 25th in terms of economic performance, but in terms of economic outlook, Iowa […]
Can you think of any area of your life that is not directly impacted by government? Government, whether at the federal, state, or local level, has grown considerably overtime. The escalating $26 trillion national debt is the most symbolic description of the growth of government. As more demands are placed on all levels of government, it creates a problem. As […]
Crafting a state budget is never an easy process and this year was especially difficult with drafting a budget amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the COVID-19 emergency, Iowa was in a strong economic position with healthy and stable revenue growth. By March, all of this changed as the pandemic triggered an economic downturn and revenue uncertainty. In May, the […]
Iowa, just as with other states, has become dependent on the federal government for support. Iowa’s $7.6 billion state budget is dependent on the equivalent in federal aid to help fund numerous programs. Through these funds, the federal government can impose both funded and unfunded mandates on the states. This growing dependency on Uncle Sam is dangerous not only because […]
Iowa’s economy is reopening, but the economic impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus) is still uncertain. Iowa’s April unemployment rate was 10.2 percent because of business closures resulting from social distancing policies used to mitigate the virus. The economic impact of COVID-19 is still a fluid situation. One of the uncertainties is the impact of the virus on state and local revenues. […]
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 […]
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.” […]
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 […]
Reforming a state tax code in order to provide relief, economic growth, and create a more competitive economic climate is difficult. A major reason for this difficulty is tax rate reduction is in direct conflict with numerous policy interests that demand new or additional spending. Rather than reducing rates and reforming the tax code, it is often easier to approach […]
Iowa’s massive tax credit programs come at a very real and harmful cost to its ability to provide basic public services. Any meaningful discussion of how much Iowa’s state and local politicians are handing out in tax credits must include the context of what governments could have accomplished with the revenues they won’t be receiving thanks to those tax breaks, […]