Iowa’s historic tax reforms this year focused on lowering the income tax rates paid by Iowans and the companies that employ them. The next step needs to be changing who is – and is not – paying those taxes. If Governor Kim Reynolds and the legislature want to truly position Iowa for the future, it’s time to take on the state’s addiction to special tax breaks.
“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.
Time has passed Iowa’s tax credit system by, and the time has come for a change. Over the course of decades, a succession of governors and legislatures have built a giant structure of special tax credits, abatements and other forms of targeted tax breaks that turn a system intended to raise revenue to fund public services into a mechanism for […]
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 […]
Iowa’s top 12 percent corporate income tax is the highest in the nation. In 2018 the Iowa legislature passed a comprehensive tax reform law and the top rate will be lowered to 9.8 percent in 2021. Even at 9.8 percent, Iowa will still have a high corporate income tax rate. When it comes to tax policy it appears to be […]
Tax credits and incentives are often an enticing siren song that lures state and local policymakers. Both are seen as not only necessary for economic growth, but also to help solve a variety of policy problems. Whether at a state or local level, tax credits and incentives often fail to deliver on the intended economic growth. They often create a […]
Iowa Has One of the Worst Business Climates in the Nation 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, […]
Forty-nine states and the District of Columbia have some sort of tax-increment financing program incentivizing companies to do things they otherwise would not do. The concept has merits, but the way it is applied in Iowa and elsewhere has problems. In fact, many local policymakers hate it, but they feel powerless to stop offering these giveaways. In Iowa, the […]
State and local politicians all over the country seem to love to dole out tax dollars to big businesses in an effort to get them to locate in their area. While they routinely argue that those subsidies will benefit the local economy, economic research does not support that conclusion. State and local economic development incentives may seem to help […]
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, […]
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 […]
Taxpayers are being forced by the government to subsidize businesses. State and local governments utilize tax credits and incentives to create economic growth. The argument is made that governments need to utilize credits and incentives to not only attract new businesses, but also help existing businesses expand. Whether it is tax credits, incentives, abatements, or the use of TIF […]
The Iowa legislature is already making progress in creating a more friendly economic environment for job creators by passing needed tax reform legislation. The tax reform bill signed into law by Governor Kim Reynolds begins the process of reducing Iowa’s high individual and corporate tax rates. In addition, this legislation also calls for a strenuous review of Iowa’s many business […]