Creating a Friendly Business Climate

The Tax Foundation ranks Iowa as one of the top ten worst states for business climate. Iowa’s high tax rates not only discourage economic growth, but they make our state less competitive. South Dakota has no state income tax and Iowa is losing ground to our neighbor because they have a more competitive tax climate. It will be difficult for […]

The Need for Tax Fairness

Sales taxes, or taxes on consumption, are considered the least harmful in comparison to income and corporate taxes. This does not mean a state should have a high sales tax, because this too would be harmful for economic growth. States should work to establish a tax code that has low rates combined with simplicity and transparency. This would in turn […]

Conservative Budgeting is the Best Path Forward

The Revenue Estimating Conference (REC), which is tasked with the difficult job of projecting state revenues, held their December meeting and is estimating Iowa will collect $8.2 billion in revenue for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022. The REC also increased the current FY 2021 estimate to $7.9 billion, which is a $65 million increase from their previous projection. The REC will […]

Allowing Greater Choice in Education

The COVID-19 pandemic is greatly impacting how Iowans view education. As a result, many students across Iowa are either learning completely online or in a hybrid model of online and in-class learning. Parents are being forced to balance work from home as well as facilitate their children’s online learning. Many children are not getting the education they deserve based on […]

The Near-Term Future of Healthcare Reform

By Dr. Christopher Peters   With President-Elect Joe Biden’s administration due to take over in just over a month the nation will be faced with either a divided Congress or a razor-thin Democratic majority. What might we expect in the realm of healthcare reform in the near future? Probably not much.   Democrats maintained their majority in the House, but […]

Creating Opportunity in 2021

On January 11, 2021, the Iowa legislature is scheduled to reconvene. Besides crafting a budget, the legislature will also be confronted with the challenge of creating policies to help stimulate the economic recovery from COVID-19. Governor Kim Reynolds and the Republicans in the legislature have been following a policy of fiscal conservatism by keeping spending low and reducing tax rates. […]

Iowa’s Inheritance Tax Punishes Families

Iowa’s is one of six states that still levies an inheritance tax. This obsolete tax not only punishes the individual who has died, but also punishes the intended recipient. Previous Iowa legislatures have eliminated the inheritance tax for spouses and other lineal beneficiaries. Yet, the tax remains for non-lineal recipients. In past sessions, the Iowa legislature has considered abolishing or […]

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 […]

Inheritance Tax Penalizes Those Already Suffering

Iowa is one of six states that levies an inheritance tax. The other five states include Nebraska, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland. Indiana is the most recent state to repeal its inheritance tax in 2013. Even several high tax states do not have an inheritance tax. Previous Iowa legislatures ended the inheritance tax for spouses and lineal ascendants and […]

Empowering Parents with the Right to Choose

We all know a teacher who has greatly influenced our life, but sadly faith in public education is eroding. A Gallop poll found that in 2019 only 29 percent of Americans were confident in the public-school system. Increasingly, public schools are embracing and teaching questionable ideologies, such as The New York Times 1619 Project, which redefines the American Founding as […]

Is Eliminating Iowa’s Income Tax the Answer?

States without an income tax are garnering a lot of attention for their economic growth and ability to attract people who are making an exodus from high tax states. Tax climates are important because they determine the overall economic health of the state. For every dollar that is taken by government in taxes is one less dollar individuals or businesses […]

Iowa’s Roadmap to Economic Growth

On January 11, 2021 the Iowa legislature is scheduled to convene. A major priority of the legislative session will be taking measures to aid in the COVID-19 economic recovery. The pandemic continues to cause uncertainty as the virus is once again intensifying throughout the Midwest. To help Iowa’s economy recover and to create economic growth, policymakers should center their efforts […]

Providing the Best Educational Opportunities for All

The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting all aspects of life. The pandemic is especially changing the way Americans think about education. COVID has forced many schools to adopt a hybrid model of in-class and online learning. Many parents, who are working from home, are finding themselves balancing both work and guiding their child’s online education. “The COVID crisis has laid bare […]

What is the Future of Health Care Policy?

By Dr. Christopher Peters   Right now, we have no choice but to wait for votes to be counted and 2020’s election results to become final.  Those tallies will eventually tell us who will not only occupy the Oval Office but also control the United States Congress.  While we wait, it’s worth diving into potential changes to our health care […]

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 […]

Cut Red Tape to Grow Iowa’s Economy

By James Broughel   Like most of the country, Iowa is facing two problems. First, the coronavirus is threatening the lives of its residents. Second, the response to the virus, in terms of lockdowns and social distancing, has been a threat to the state’s economy. The balancing act is figuring out how to keep the virus in check without destroying […]

Hands Off the Supreme Court

In response to the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the United States Supreme Court by President Donald Trump, Democrats are threatening to “pack” the Supreme Court. On the campaign trail Vice President Joe Biden has refused to address whether he would support a measure to “pack” the Court. The threat of “packing” the Supreme Court should alarm every […]

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 […]

Household Budgeting Should Apply to Government

Should we build our deck? This is the question that one Iowa family shared with us recently. For years, this family has been saving to build a deck on the back of their house, but with the current economic uncertainty they are trying to decide whether this is the best use their money.   Many Iowans can relate.  Maybe for […]

Iowa Governor Makes the Grade

The Cato Institute released their 2020 Fiscal Policy Report Card on American Governors, which “grades governors on their fiscal policies from a limited‐​government perspective.” The report utilized “statistical data to grade the governors on their tax and spending records — governors who have restrained taxes and spending receive higher grades, while those who have substantially increased taxes and spending receive […]

Conservative Budgeting Pays Off

Governor Kim Reynolds announced, Iowa will “end Fiscal Year 2020 with a balance of $305.5 million in its General Fund.” Governor Reynolds and the Republican legislature have been following prudent budget policies. This has been especially difficult considering the COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainty in the agricultural markets.   “Fiscal responsibility has put the state of Iowa in a strong position […]

Is Another Round of Economic Stimulus Needed?

Congress continues to debate whether more stimulus is needed to aid state and local governments from the economic recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, federal policymakers should avoid another bailout until states have been able to utilize all relief funds that have been appropriated by Congress.   History has proven stimulus spending does not work to revitalize the economy […]

Placing Kids First in Education

By Walt Rogers   As a former state legislator my top priority was and still is education. Perhaps one of the most memorable and heartfelt moments occurred when I chaired an Iowa House subcommittee hearing on a bill proposing Education Savings Accounts (ESAs). An emotional mother testified that her “public school does not offer my child what he needs, and […]

Property Taxes are Wealth Taxes

For many Iowans property taxes represent a significant financial burden. A recent independent poll commissioned by TEF Iowa found that close to 50 percent of Iowans surveyed support making property tax relief a priority.   Did you know property taxes are a form of wealth tax?  It’s true! For example, if the value of a home increased by 10 percent, […]