Playing Games with the Tax Code

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 […]

Stop the Free Handouts

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 […]

2020: A Year for Progress

A Legislative Year for Smaller Government and Smarter Solutions   Iowa is in an exciting place as we start a new decade of the 21st century. Iowa’s economy is strong and our state budget has an estimated $470 million budget surplus. This does not mean that we do not have policy problems, but we can ensure that all Iowans will […]

Strengthening Property Tax Transparency

Direct notification will make local elected officials think twice before increasing property tax rates because they know all citizens will be notified of the increase and its potential impact on their properties.   This fall, local governments across Iowa will begin the process of creating their budgets. Local government, whether county, city, or school boards, depend heavily on property taxes […]

Iowa’s Population Dilemma

During the first decade of the 21st century Iowa’s population grew by an estimated 3.6 percent. Population is a major concern for Iowa’s policymakers because of the need for workers. Iowa’s low unemployment rate is even surpassed by the vast amount of open jobs that need to be filled. Solving Iowa’s workforce dilemma is a bi-partisan priority of Iowa policymakers. […]

Tax Credits

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, […]

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 […]

A Better Path Forward For Iowa Tax Reform

Iowans Deserve a Better Tax System Now Last year, Iowa’s robust tax reform took a giant step toward reducing burdensome taxes on families and businesses. Unfortunately, many Iowans may never see the benefits of that overhaul because the new law hamstrings its best features, tying them to future revenue benchmarks or “tax triggers” that Iowa may never reach. Those arbitrary […]

Releasing Iowa’s Economic Albatross

All indications, except for the precarious feel of the China trade war, seem to show that Iowa’s economy is doing well.  While we may be enjoying a temporary surge due to President Donald Trump’s economic policies, we must make decisions that grow and sustain our state for the long haul. Iowa competes with other states, both for jobs and people, […]

Iowa needs some (tax) climate change!

Iowa has one of the worst business tax climates in the country. The state cannot afford to wait for more tax relief.   In 2018, the Iowa legislature gave taxpayers the first significant income tax relief legislation in 20 years. However, the relief will be phased in over multiple years, and the income tax rate reduction is subject to a […]

Our Taxes Aren’t “Iowa Nice”

A businessman in Sioux City recently stated it very plainly to us:  “We have stores in seven states.  Iowa is more expensive for property taxes than any other.”   Iowans are, for the most part, hardworking, friendly, and willing to help a stranger in need. Many call this “Iowa nice.”  However, our state’s tax code has been ranked as one […]

Where’s Everyone Going?

In just one year, over 9,000 Iowans moved to Florida, Texas, and South Dakota ­– all states that do not have an income tax.   Since 1980, the nation’s population has grown by more than 40 percent, and Iowa’s population has only grown 7 percent. Tax rates have a direct impact on the population. States with lower tax rates have […]

‘Cadillac Tax’ will hit Iowans hard

The Cedar Rapids Gazette recently published a guest column from Walt Rogers, TEF Iowa Deputy Director about the impending implementation of the “Cadillac Tax.” Under the Cadillac Tax, the federal government will impose a 40 percent excise tax on all employer-sponsored health insurance plans, as well as workplace-provided health care and wellness programs.   ‘Soaring deductibles and medical bills are […]

State Government is Picking Winners and Losers

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 […]

Tax Credits Need Accountability and Transparency

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 […]

Helping Iowa Grow

People vote with their feet. Iowa’s population and economic growth requires lowering income tax rates and controlling spending.   There is clear evidence states that reduce tax rates and control spending not only grow economically but attract new residents. Tax rates matter and the more a government taxes something the less you get. High taxes not only discourage investment, entrepreneurship, […]

This Wine Tax Will Not Age Well

Sour grapes! Iowa has the fourth highest tax on wine in the nation.   When considering wine, Iowa may not necessarily be the first region connoisseurs think about. However, Iowa’s wine industry does have an economic impact in our state. Iowans and tourists often visit one of nearly 100 wineries and the state government taxes wine at $1.75 per gallon, […]

The Tax Cuts Are Working!

Unshackling the tax burden from Iowa small businesses does not just allow them to expand, but it also benefits their employees.   Lana Pol, owner of several businesses in Pella and Des Moines recently testified before the United States House of Representatives Committee on the Budget. Ms. Pol was representing the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and she spoke […]

What Happened to My Tax Refund?

This is either lazy reporting or intentionally inaccurate. Tax refunds do not indicate if a person’s tax liability increased or decreased.   Americans across the country are filing their federal income taxes and many are seeing lower than expected refunds or getting the shock of having to pay more taxes to the federal government. Many liberal politicians and media outlets […]

Is a Four Percent Raise Enough?

Would a four percent increase in income next year help your household budget? For most families it would. Four percent isn’t enough for the city of North Liberty according to their city administrator and they want to increase the property tax rate another 1.2 percent. In recent years the city’s taxable valuation growth has increased between seven and 14 percent […]