Des Moines Teaches a Lesson in Economic Development Failure

Elected officials and bureaucrats always have big “economic development” plans. However, these plans are ineffective and cost taxpayers dearly. The changing fortunes of downtown Des Moines, the people who live and work there, and the companies that call it home should teach us all a lesson on the limitations of local governments’ economic development efforts. In the real world, even […]

Improving Iowa’s Future with Conservative Budgeting and Tax Cuts

This article was published in The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier. Unsustainable increases in spending can lead to severe consequences. Iowa’s success in maintaining fiscal discipline is a testament to its effectiveness. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and the Republican-led Legislature have emphasized conservative budgeting as a central priority. Such prudence in budgeting is the cornerstone of fiscal conservatism, and the recent passage […]

Council Bluffs Streetcar Needs to Slow Down

This article was published in The Daily Nonpareil. At a time when property valuations are increasing at double-digit rates and inflation is cutting into household budgets, Council Bluffs should be reducing its reliance on property taxes and making them more consistent, not introducing expenses and uncertainty. The $440 million Omaha streetcar project is in the first stages of construction across […]

The Troubling Proliferation of Universal Basic Income Programs

This article was published in Governing. Iowa policymakers did the right thing in prohibiting localities from creating UBI programs that would not only fail to resolve poverty but also create a fiscal nightmare for taxpayers. The idea of a universal basic income (UBI), whereby a government provides everyone with a certain monthly amount to spend as they wish, is nothing new. […]

Pro-Growth Policies and Conservative Reforms Stand Out in Session Recap

“The headline of this session is simple: Iowa’s income tax rate will be the 6th lowest in the country…” The Iowa legislature has adjourned, and this session has resulted in some important pro-growth policy victories that provide further tax relief to Iowans, while also making Iowa’s economy more competitive and government more efficient. As Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver said, “The […]

Local Government Guaranteed Income Programs to be Banned

This legislation properly reminds Iowa cities and counties of their expected role, while protecting property taxpayers from funding a flawed poverty prevention program.  Taxpayers across Iowa were provided with another protection by the Iowa Legislature this week, as the House and Senate sent a bill to Governor Reynolds that bans local governments from participating in guaranteed income programs.   House File […]

Iowa’s Fiscal Year 2025 Budget Begins to Take Shape: Spending Will Determine Future Tax Relief

The goal of the FY25 budget should be to reflect the average taxpayer’s ability to pay for the budget. Sound tax policy begins with conservative budgeting. Last week both the Iowa House and Senate announced their budget targets for the Fiscal Year 2025 budget. Budget targets are used as benchmarks to determine how the various departments and programs within the […]

The Path Remains Clear for More Tax Reform

“There is no reason to think the state cannot continue down the path of leaving more money in Iowans’ pockets.” -Iowa Department of Management Director Kraig Paulsen The Revenue Estimating Conference (REC), which has the arduous task of estimating Iowa’s tax revenue, recently met to provide an updated revenue forecast. The REC slightly lowered their revenue estimate for the current […]

County Tax Relief Is Not Deprivation

Counties are cashing in on hefty property taxes from high assessments, and reducing rates won’t halt financial gains. You might hear your county officials complaining they are facing dire straits this year because of the new property tax law. The truth is that too many counties have been cashing in on hefty property taxes from rapidly increasing assessments, and redirecting […]

Session Preview: Constitutional Amendments

Diverting Taxpayer Relief Fund dollars to property tax relief would simply be another instance of the state subsidizing local government spending growth. During the 2023 legislative session, the Iowa Legislature began to consider two important constitutional amendments that would provide protection for Iowa taxpayers. If lawmakers are interested in continuing to stand up for the taxpayer, they should again contemplate […]

Session Preview: A Conservative Budget

Iowa’s status as a national leader on tax policy would not be possible but for the less-heralded fact that Iowa is a national leader when it comes to conservative budgeting, as well. Sound budgeting is at the heart of all good public policy. Pro-growth tax reform cannot occur without prudent budgeting and spending restraint. Thanks to the wise priorities of both Governor Reynolds and the legislature, Iowa’s fiscal foundation is strong.

Twenty-First Century Good Governance at the Local Level

Access to information has become a basic government service, making democracy work. Citizens need the ability to track what government does, and policymakers must produce and have access to historical records. While “good governance” is a broad and subjective term, reviewing the outcomes of public policy decisions can tell us whether it exists or not. At the local government level, […]

Setting the Stage for the 2024 Legislative Session: Iowa’s Fiscal Foundation is Strong

Revenue is falling more slowly than initial estimates, and there is still room for more tax cuts. Heading into the 2024 legislative session, Iowa is in a strong financial position. This was the message from the Revenue Estimating Conference (REC), which is tasked with the difficult job of predicting state tax revenue. Even with phased-in tax reductions, Iowa revenue remains […]

Iowa vs. Minnesota: The Future of State Fiscal Policy

This article was published in Real Clear Policy and Nation Review. When people vote with their feet, they prefer lower taxes and the slim, trim state government Governor Reynolds offers in Iowa.    “A tax-cutting wave is sweeping over America’s states,” The Economist claims in a recent feature, and Iowa, it argues, has “emerged as America’s tax-cutting champion, a paragon […]

The 2025 Conservative Iowa Budget: A Plan for Continued Progress

The core principle is that an effective limit should reflect the average taxpayer’s ability to pay for the budget. Introduction The rewards of Iowa’s leadership in fiscal conservatism become more evident every year. Using a sustainable budgeting approach, the state has put its burdensome personal income taxes on a steady path of rate cuts. This proven pro-growth approach has worked over the […]

Pro-Growth Tax Reform Improves Iowa’s Tax Competitiveness

The Tax Foundation’s ranking, in combination with continuing surpluses, proves that fiscal conservatism is working in Iowa. Tax rates matter. They are a major factor determining the economic well-being of a state in both the money they leave in the economy and the impressions decision-makers have when comparing states. The Tax Foundation recently released its annual 2024 State Business Tax […]

Iowa Revenue Keeps Growing With More Tax Cuts on the Horizon

Total FY2023 net revenue exceeded the REC’s March estimates. Iowa’s recently released revenue report for September revenue contains the final accounting for fiscal year 2023 (FY23). In early 2022, the Iowa Legislature enacted historic income tax reform reducing top rates and allowing taxpayers to keep more of their hard-earned income. The three-member Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) predicted Iowa would bring in less money in FY23 than the prior […]

Federal Shutdown Looms as Spending Fight Continues: What It Means for Iowa

The State of Iowa and local governments would be wise to reduce their dependence on federal funding. The U.S. House of Representatives returned to Washington, D.C. after its summer recess and went right to work. A looming federal budget battle may result in a government shutdown, and both chambers of Congress only have a few more working days scheduled before the September […]

Protecting the Interests of the Taxpayer: Why the Taxpayer Relief Fund Needs Constitutional Protection

This article was published in the Washington Examiner. Too often the voice of the taxpayer is drowned out by louder special interest lobbyists. Protecting the Taxpayer Relief Fund in the Constitution would ensure that the interests of taxpayers — and their money — are secure. As a taxpayer, did you know that the state of Iowa is currently holding close […]