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 […]

Placing Property Taxpayers First

Last month, Iowans received their property tax bills, and taxpayers across the state keep asking why their taxes increased so fast. It seems more likely that property taxpayers will see Elvis at their local Casey’s before they see any property tax relief. Iowans across party lines and the urban-rural divide want policymakers to stop making excuses for high property taxes […]

Reducing Spending Without Sacrificing Services

In many communities across Iowa, local governments continue to ask for more property tax dollars, claiming that critical infrastructure and services will deteriorate without an increase. So, is it possible to reduce spending without sacrificing services? To help answer that question, we sat down with Dave Trabert, CEO of the Kansas Policy Institute. Dave explains how local governments can spend […]

Making Better Use of Your Taxes

Are you frustrated with high property taxes? Too often Iowans are told by local government officials that nothing can be done to lower property taxes. Governments, at all levels, often forget that the money they spend is generated from your tax dollars. It is not the governments money, yet policymakers have no shortage of reasons why they need to spend […]

2020 Candidate Education Guide

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 […]

How Much Does Government Cost in 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 […]

High Cost of Economic Development Incentives

The High Cost of Economic Development Incentives as a Tool for COVID-19 Recovery   Overview:   The last sustained period of economic downturn in the United States saw explosive growth in the size and scope of state and municipal tax credit and abatement programs, subsidies, grants and other forms of economic development incentives. With the benefit of hindsight and new research […]

Are PILOTs Needed?

In Des Moines, PILOTs (payment in lieu of taxes) on non-profits are being considered to address high property taxes. Should government focus more on additional revenue or fight for less spending?   The city of Des Moines is trying to address high property taxes and PILOTs are being considered as a solution.  PILOTs or payment in lieu of taxes, are payments […]

Empowering Property Taxpayers

Reducing the property burden is a priority for most Iowans. Cities and counties across Iowa are in the process of planning their budgets and holding public hearings. Government spending is at the heart of high property tax rates, and these budget hearings will not just establish what the city or county intends to spend, but also determine your future property […]

For Property Tax Reform Focus on Spending

In 1934, Iowa enacted the first sales and income taxes to provide property tax relief. Today, nearly a century later, Iowa taxpayers still face the challenge of not only high property taxes, but also income and sales taxes.   Between 2000 and 2017, Iowa property taxes increased by more than 100 percent. This increase is more than inflation and population […]

Economic Development Reform in Iowa

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 […]

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 […]