Uncle Sam Isn’t Responsible for Iowa’s Strong Fiscal Foundation

Understanding what policies deserve credit for Iowa’s success allows the state to continue along its successful path. Success has many fathers, according to an old saying, but failure is always an orphan. The secure foundation of Iowa’s fiscal house proves the adage, with both fiscal conservatives and big-government advocates crediting their respective policies. The former claim Iowa’s fiscal health is […]

Iowa’s K–12 School Debt Hits New Levels

Iowa public schools’ outstanding debt has reached $5.2 billion, equivalent to 63% of the state’s annual budget. Schools levy more property taxes than any other category of local government in Iowa. And while a large portion of their funding is driven by the school finance formula, the debt they carry is a direct reflection of local decision-making; paying off that […]

Why So Much School Debt Is Not Voter Approved

Revenue bonds do not require voter approval, and they made up 44% of total outstanding K–12 debt in 2023. Iowans are familiar with the bond votes that occur every year for local government, especially those for local school districts wanting to build new facilities or renovate existing ones. Thankfully, the Constitution of the State of Iowa places a limit on […]

Property Tax Reforms Remain Unfinished Business

The last major piece of legislation for 2024 included a technical correction to last year’s property tax law that comes with a lesson. The Iowa Legislature has recently been trying to perfect a construct that is flawed at its core: property taxes. Iowans have one of the highest property tax burdens in the country, ranking the 10th highest among states.  While […]

Improving Iowa’s Future with Conservative Budgeting and Tax Cuts

This article was published in The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, Telegraph Herald, and The Gazette. 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 […]

Iowa Accelerates Transition to a Low Flat Tax

This article was published in National Review. The flat tax will now start a year earlier, and at a slightly lower rate, than originally planned. “The headline of this session is simple: Iowa’s income-tax rate will be the 6th lowest in the country,” stated Iowa senate majority leader Jack Whitver. Going into the legislative session, Governor Kim Reynolds and legislative leaders had […]

Iowa Completes a Pro-taxpayer Legislative Session: Over $1 Billion in Tax Relief

By Chris Hagenow and Grover Norquist This article was published in the Des Moines Register. Pro-growth tax reforms combined with conservative budgeting are strengthening Iowa’s economy and creating a strong fiscal foundation. Iowa is quickly becoming one of the most taxpayer-friendly states in the country. On the heels of delivering a historic income tax cut just two years ago, Republicans used […]

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 […]

New Budget and Tax Notices Will Provide Needed Transparency for Taxpayers

This article was published in the Des Moines Register, Telegraph Herald and The Gazette. Property taxes have been on autopilot for too long. Injecting more transparency into local government budgeting will benefit taxpayers. Property taxes are a top concern for many Iowans. The growing frustration over high property taxes surpasses political party identification and the urban-rural divide. As part of […]

Not all Iowans are Taxed the Same

Iowans Deserve Predictable Taxes Wherever They ROAM Iowa shares its border with six other states, and while many Iowans live and work in the Hawkeye state, there are a number of Iowans who work elsewhere. This results in not all Iowans being taxed the same. Depending on where they live and work, the state tax liability for Iowans can vary […]

Iowa’s Next  Tax Reform Opportunity

This article was published in National Review. Iowa policymakers have an opportunity to allow taxpayers to keep more of their hard-earned income, make the state more competitive, and provide protection that will benefit taxpayers for generations. In 2022, Iowa confirmed its position as a leader in the state flat-tax revolution by phasing out the nine-bracket progressive income tax and replacing it with […]

March 5th Special Election: Property Tax Increases Take Center Stage on Ballots

More than a dozen school districts and one county are seeking property tax hikes on top of assessments that are already elevated. The March 5, 2024, special election in 13 school districts and one county will put property tax increase questions before voters. The school districts are looking for increases in their physical plant and equipment levies (PPELs), which generate […]

Iowa’s Historic Tax Reform Opportunity

This article was published in the Cedar Rapids Gazette. The House and Senate plan creates a mechanism to eventually eliminate the income tax. In 2022, the CATO Institute’s Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors ranked Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds the most fiscally conservative governor in the nation. Since 2018, Governor Reynolds and the legislature have placed a priority on […]

What Is a Revenue Purpose Statement?

Voters should pay close attention to why a district wants a Revenue Purpose Statement (RPS) and what it intends to do with the proceeds. Details A Revenue Purpose Statement (RPS) is a ballot measure describing how a school district will spend sales tax funds the State of Iowa has dedicated to public schools through a program called Secure an Advanced Vision for Education […]

The Ticking Federal Tax Time Bomb

This article was published in the Telegraph Herald. Tax policy is best when it not only lowers rates but also provides long-term certainty for the economy. With nearly unanimous Republican support, Congress passed, and President Trump signed the historic Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) in 2017, which helped create economic expansion over the past six years. Taxpayers and businesses […]

Your Dollars, Not Their Rates

It’s the dollars those governments are pulling from you each year that matter. When it comes to property taxes, don’t get fooled by smoke and mirrors.  A citizen should focus on how many dollars local governments are taking from them.  That’s it.  Don’t take the bait that some officials will dangle in front of you in the form of property […]

House and Senate Release Joint Plan for Tax Cuts, Future Elimination

The Iowa legislature is poised to deliver the benefits of conservative budgeting and pro-growth policies to taxpayers in our state. Heading into the legislative session Governor Kim Reynolds and legislative leaders stated that not only would further income tax reform be a priority, but an opportunity existed to accelerate planned income tax rate reductions. Under current law the income tax rate […]

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 […]