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.
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.
“One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results” – Milton Freedman
This quote hits home for many of us who care about public policy, and it applies most accurately to using our tax dollars to incentivize companies to do business in Iowa. Depending on one’s view of incentives, this can be thought of as economic development, or corporate welfare, or even crony capitalism. The reality is incentives are a tool used to compete in our global economy and literally every state in the nation has adopted some form of incentive program.
Americans have less money than they had last year—though taxes haven’t been raised. So what’s the problem? Inflation, which has increased at a 40-year high annual pace of 7.9%. It acts as a hidden tax because we don’t see it listed on our tax bills, but we sure see less money on our bank accounts.
Obvious statement up front: Almost no one likes paying taxes.
But Iowans understand taxes provide for the vital services and infrastructure we all depend on. Property taxes, specifically, are a dependable way to collect revenue and they encourage less evasive behavior than income and sales taxes.
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.
By Patrick Barron What almost everyone calls “inflation” is really a rise in the general price level. OK. But the real definition of “inflation” is inflation of the money supply. A rise in the general price level is a consequence of inflation of the money supply. Technically, the price level is determined by supply and demand, one of economic science’s […]
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 […]
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 […]
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. […]
Government spending is at the heart of sound public policy. But out-of-control spending for decades has created substantial economic destruction and ongoing threats that must be remedied before things get worse. Fortunately, we have examples of how fiscal rules can solve this problem. We must put these rules into place before our economy gets any worse.
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 […]
Some of our country’s fastest growing states have spent the past decade crafting policies that lower taxes, reduce the regulatory burden, and rely on the choices of their citizens instead of government mandates and control. The free-market solutions presented in this report are a blueprint for growth and a reliable roadmap for Iowa’s future. Click to download the report
By John Hendrickson, Policy Director for ITR Foundation, and Dean Stansel, Ph.D., Economist at the Bridwell Institute in the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University A major trend from the Census is the growing number of individuals who are voting with their feet against bad economic policies. States with high tax and regulatory burdens such as California, […]
ITR Foundation Deputy Director Walt Rogers recently interviewed Dr. Ernie Goss, a professor of economics at Creighton University Heider College of Business. They covered many topics facing our economy today. Among them were: Supply chain: We do a monthly survey at Creighton University of supply managers and manufacturers, and we’ve been doing it for 25 years. This is the […]
When will the supply chain crisis be resolved? Americans are being told that they will just have to “deal” with empty store shelves and are starting to realize that “Build Back Better” is more of a wrecking ball. “Thanksgiving turkeys may be more expensive and harder to find. Buy your bird now, the experts say,” ran a headline in the […]
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 […]
Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) is a leading conservative who is fighting for the America First agenda. Recently, Senator Hawley introduced the “Make in America to sell in America Act,” in an effort to address the supply chain crisis and the troubling dependency upon foreign countries for necessities. Americans are being confronted with increasing prices due to inflation and a clogged […]
Our friends in Texas have published a new report entitled Reversing the Recovery, that details how the proposed Build Back Better spending plan could affect our national economy, including how it would impact each individual state. Their conclusion? Iowa would be responsible for shouldering $43 Billion in new debt and lose 51,000 jobs. From the report: “This plan includes heavy […]
Iowans are known for being plain-spoken and clear-thinking. Perhaps that’s why President Biden’s approval rating in Iowa has recently sunk to a dismal 31 percent. Afghanistan and COVID notwithstanding, another of the Biden Administration’s promises that seems to have failed the believability test is his insistence middle-class Iowans won’t be hurt in the pocketbook by his $3.5 trillion budget blueprint. […]
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 […]
The Des Moines Register released a new poll that shows a 53 percent job approval rating for Governor Kim Reynolds. This is up from 51 percent from the last poll. Governor Reynolds approval rating is even higher, 57 percent, when asked how she has handled Iowa’s economy. The poll affirms that Iowa supports the conservative pro-growth policy agenda that Governor […]
The national debt is rapidly nearing $29 trillion, which is 25% more than our entire economy, and is orders of magnitude higher if you consider unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare. This threatens life as we know it and must be addressed now. Since the start of 2020, the debt has increased by $5.2 trillion. And President Joe Biden […]