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 […]

How Does Your School District Compare?

Find the change of enrollment, teachers, and staff in your school district over the last 20 years. Public education in Iowa consumes 55 percent of the state General Fund. On a local level close to 42 percent of property taxes are spent on funding public education. It is a leading budget driver in Iowa and with the ongoing discussion of […]

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 Rates Matter

High Tax Rates Hurt Iowa’s Economic Growth and Productivity What could be done: Speed up planned rate reductions, continue working toward a top individual income tax rate of 4 percent, and cut the top corporate income tax rate to 5 percent.   While Iowa’s economy is doing well, when judged by the low unemployment rate, improvements can still be made […]

Occupational Licensing

Reducing barriers will provide new opportunities for workers, attract new people to Iowa, and create a more competitive business environment.   Among Iowa policymakers and business leaders, a consensus exists that a major problem for the state’s economy is a shortage of skilled workers. In fact, this need for workers often overshadows Iowa’s low unemployment rate. One area of regulatory […]

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 […]

Understanding the Societal Cost of Runaway Tax Credits

Iowa’s massive tax credit programs come at a very real and harmful cost to its ability to provide basic public services. Any meaningful discussion of how much Iowa’s state and local politicians are handing out in tax credits must include the context of what governments could have accomplished with the revenues they won’t be receiving thanks to those tax breaks, […]

 
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