Protection for the Taxpayer

During the 2019 Iowa legislative session, the legislature passed a property tax accountability and transparency law. This new law was modeled after Utah’s Truth-in-Taxation law, which is considered the most “taxpayer friendly law.” The 2019 law requires local governments such as counties and cities to hold a public hearing if the proposed budget increases more than two percent (school district […]

The Importance of Iowa’s Tax Climate

Tax rates matter. They determine how much income an individual or business must pay to the government. For every dollar taken away by taxes, it is one less dollar an individual, family, or business has to save, spend, or invest. Tax rates also play a big role in how competitive a state economy is in relation to other states. Higher […]

Iowa’s Unemployment Rate Continues to Decline

Iowa’s unemployment rate declined from 6 percent in August to 4.7 percent in September. The national unemployment rate for September is 7.9 percent. “September is the fifth consecutive month we have seen a drop in unemployment since the beginning of the pandemic and peak unemployment in April,” said Director Beth Townsend, Iowa Workforce Development. This is good news for Iowa’s […]

Truth-in-Taxation: A Property Tax Solution

The issue of rapidly escalating property tax burdens is a concern for both individuals and businesses across Iowa. It is important to remember the ultimate source of high property taxes is excessive local government spending. Unless spending is controlled, any property tax relief will be limited.   The objective of real property tax reform should not be to single out […]

Should Iowa Eliminate the Income Tax?

Iowa relies heavily on income tax to fund state government. It is estimated, in Fiscal Year 2021, 57.3 percent of state revenues will be generated from income (individual and corporate) taxes, while 33.1 percent will originate from sales taxes.   (Source: Legislative Services Agency)     Since 1993, individual and corporate income taxes have a combined average of 64 percent […]

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 […]

Iowa’s High Property Taxes

Iowans are demanding property tax relief. High property taxes continue to be a problem for Iowa. The Tax Foundation recently examined the “effective tax rates on owner-occupied housing” across the United States. Iowa ranked 12th highest in the nation. Iowa relies heavily on property tax to fund local government. In 1934, Iowa enacted the sales and income tax to provide property tax relief. […]

Tax Rates Are the Key to Economic Competitiveness

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) released the 13th edition of Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index. Rich States, Poor States, measures the competitiveness of each state in terms of economic outlook and performance. In the latest rankings, Iowa has moved from 29th to 25th in terms of economic performance, but in terms of economic outlook, Iowa […]

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 […]

Proven Property Tax Reform

At the heart of high property taxes is local government spending. County assessors are often blamed because people receive their property tax valuation bills in the mail and they immediately think that a valuation increase translates into a property tax increase. This is misplaced blame because it is the local government taxing authority that decides on how much taxes are […]

Solving Iowa’s Property Tax Problem

The rising cost of property taxes are a concern for both individuals and businesses across Iowa. Often blame is placed on county assessors for high property taxes. A reason for this is the fact that taxpayers receive an assessment notice in the mail and are angry because of the increase in property values. Property is assessed upon market values; the […]

State Tax Reform’s Gold Standard

North Carolina is one of the state’s best prepared to deal with the budget challenges from the new coronavirus outbreak. It also represents the gold standard for state tax reform, and the connection between these two should not be lost. The Tar Heel state has successfully reduced tax rates, while controlling the growth of spending and funding the priorities of […]

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 […]

Tax Relief and Economic Growth

Iowa begrudgingly endures some of the nation’s highest personal and corporate income taxes. Those high taxes hamper economic growth and make our state less affordable for families and less competitive for businesses. Even after recent improvements, tax reform remains a high priority for the Hawkeye State.   So we applaud Governor Reynolds for proposing the Invest in Iowa Act and […]

Sales Tax Fairness

The sales tax is getting a lot of attention as a result of Governor Kim Reynolds Invest in Iowa Act. One phase of this Act calls for a one cent sales tax increase.  Three-eighths of it would be for the purpose of funding the voter approved Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund. In addition, the remaining five-eighths of the […]

Navigating Tax Reform

Reforming a state tax code in order to provide relief, economic growth, and create a more competitive economic climate is difficult. A major reason for this difficulty is tax rate reduction is in direct conflict with numerous policy interests that demand new or additional spending. Rather than reducing rates and reforming the tax code, it is often easier to approach […]

Iowa’s Golden Tax Reform Opportunity

As a result of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and elimination of numerous job killing regulations, the national economy is growing and states have benefited tremendously from this growth.  In 2018 the legislature passed the first major comprehensive tax reform legislation in a decade. Governor Kim Reynolds, in her Condition of the State Address,  called for further tax […]

High Corporate Tax Rates Slow Growth

Iowa has the highest corporate income tax rate in the country at 12 percent. That rate, combined with the federal corporate tax, totals 29.5 percent. As part of the 2018 comprehensive tax reform law, the legislature lowered the rate. In 2021, the top corporate tax rate will still have four brackets, but the top rate will fall from 12 percent […]

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 […]