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 […]

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 […]

Taxpayer Protection Starts with Limiting Spending

Governor Kim Reynolds and the legislature have been working to control spending in Iowa. Prior to the COVID-19 emergency, Iowa was in a strong economic position with healthy and stable revenue growth. This included $800 million in reserves and a $400 million surplus. By March, all of this changed as the pandemic triggered an economic downturn and revenue uncertainty. In […]

Spending Restraint: A Conservative Budget

Crafting a state budget is never an easy process and this year was especially difficult with drafting a budget amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the COVID-19 emergency, Iowa was in a strong economic position with healthy and stable revenue growth. By March, all of this changed as the pandemic triggered an economic downturn and revenue uncertainty. In May, the […]

Uncle Sam’s “Free” Handouts

Iowa, just as with other states, has become dependent on the federal government for support. Iowa’s $7.6 billion state budget is dependent on the equivalent in federal aid to help fund numerous programs. Through these funds, the federal government can impose both funded and unfunded mandates on the states.  This growing dependency on Uncle Sam is dangerous not only because […]

Uncle Sam to the Rescue?

David Kennedy, prominent historian and Stanford University professor, in an interview with Governing discussed the COVID-19 (coronavirus) emergency in relation to the Great Depression. In that interview he stated, “[President] Calvin Coolidge said that if the federal government went out of business, the average person wouldn’t notice for six months, except for the post office. Now, the federal government is twice the size of the states all put together.”     […]

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 […]

Iowa Needs a Medicaid Audit

Iowa needs to audit the Medicaid program to ensure that not only are the people who truly need the services are protected, but taxpayer dollars are not wasted.   Amity Shlaes, an economic historian and author of the just-released Great Society: A New History, argues correctly that the “lesson of the 1960s is that political compromises with progressives can be […]

Iowa Budget Transparency

FY 1999 to FY 2018 The amount of money collected from Iowans for the General Fund has increased from $4.4 billion to $7.38 billion in 20 years. During the last legislative session, the legislature began the process of lowering Iowa’s high tax rates, but we will still need further rate reduction. Lowering tax rates and unshackling Iowa’s economy from excessive […]

The Forgotten Word in Politics: Restraint

It has been almost 100 years since government has shown spending restraint. What can be done to slow down our $22,000,000,000,000 national debt?   The $22 trillion national debt symbolizes not only the broken budget process of today’s federal government, but decades of overspending by both Republicans and Democrats. MarketWatch recently reported how much the national debt has grown under […]

Lessons Never Learned

One state is trying to dig itself out of a hole… by digging deeper.   Connecticut, just as with other progressive Blue States such as Illinois and California, is in a fiscal crisis. Policymakers in Connecticut have relied on increasing taxes and spending. “After eight years of uncontrolled spending and two of the largest tax increases in the history of […]

A Win in the Shadow of a Cross

Religion and Morality: The Indispensable Supports of Political Prosperity   The United States Supreme Court in a 7-2 ruling in American Legion v. American Humanist Association decided that a Bladensburg, Maryland memorial cross dedicated to 48 heroes from Prince George County who died in World War 1 does not violate the Establishment Clause. The First Amendment to the Constitution reads […]

We’re in the Money!

A pander bear should be the official mascot of the Democratic presidential debates. Never have so many candidates proposed so much spending. They are clearly trying to bribe voters to support the one who offers the most “free” stuff.   In 1935, Ohio’s Robert A. Taft described President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal as “one of those fabulous creatures of […]

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, […]

How Much Abuse is There in Medicaid?

Fraud and abuse within Medicaid are not only hurting those who truly need services, but it is also fleecing taxpayers.   Several states have recently found fraud and abuse within their Medicaid programs. Fraud and abuse within Medicaid are not only hurting those who truly need services, but it is also fleecing taxpayers. Medicaid is a joint federal-state program, which […]

Out-of-Control Spending Highlights Need for Fiscal Sanity

Lobster tail, crab, booze, and a foosball table were purchased in the Federal Government’s use-it-or-lose-it spending spree. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) won election to the United States Senate for promising to make the federal government “squeal.” The reference is in response to the out-of-control spending that has plagued the federal government for decades. The current federal budget process is broken, […]

Does Your State Have Medicaid Fraud and Payment Errors?

Taxpayer dollars lost to waste, fraud, or abuse are dollars that cannot fund services for those who truly need the services.   Beth Wood, who serves as North Carolina State Auditor, reported the “state Department of Health and Human Services improperly paid more than $100 million in Medicaid claims during fiscal year 2018.” The “errors” consisted of “overpayments to providers, along with […]

Our $22 Trillion National Debt

Addressing our massive national debt should be a top priority. Iowans must understand that the national debt crisis will not only impact them directly, but also state finances.   The national debt has reached $22 trillion. Federal spending is now approaching $4.7 trillion as Congress currently debates President Donald Trump’s proposed budget. James Grant, editor of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer, […]

Federal Funds for Teachers Should Get A Failing Grade

Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) wants Uncle Sam to spend $315 billion on teacher salaries. This is dangerous for states, school districts, and is not the role of the federal government.   Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), who is also a current Democrat presidential candidate, recently proposed a new federal program that would spend $315 billion over 10 years to increase teacher […]

What States Can Learn from Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR)

Constitutional spending limits are an effective means to control the growth of spending and protect the interests of taxpayers. Other states can learn a lesson from Colorado. Some will be disappointed this lesson is not about  the legalization of marijuana, but rather Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights or TABOR. In 1992 Colorado voters adopted TABOR, a constitutional amendment that limits […]

Controlling State Government Spending

States that have lower tax rates and keep lower spending levels often see greater economic growth and more stable revenues.   Government spending is a concern to many Iowans. Individuals, families, and businesses across Iowa all follow a budget that is not guaranteed to increase every year, yet Iowa’s budget continues to grow.  Iowa’s state budget is $7.3 billion and […]

For Iowa to Lower Tax Rates, it Must Show Spending Restraint

How can Iowa make sure its recent tax reform is fully implemented, including the adoption of fewer and lower tax rates in 2023? The only proven way to lower tax rates is with spending restraint. Some of us in our personal lives have learned Dave Ramsey’s lesson that you cannot out-earn your own stupidity. No state can out-tax bad budgets. […]

An Unfortunate Milestone: Our National Debt Has Reached $21 Trillion

“Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit the national debt,” stated President Herbert Hoover. Once again, the nation hit a record as our national debt has risen to $21 trillion. This does not include the trillions in unfunded liabilities from entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. This month also marked another unfortunate event when the federal […]

Government’s Unquenchable Appetite for Tax Dollars

As Iowa’s tight budget situation lingers, the call for additional revenue sources continues to grow. The Des Moines Register recently published an editorial advocating a tax increase on beer to fund various programs and law enforcement efforts to deal with alcohol-related issues. The editorial board argued that a higher beer tax would discourage drinking and reduce the harmful effects of alcohol abuse. Iowa currently […]

Reducing Government Spending: It Can Be Done

The state of Iowa is facing a tight budget. Although revenues at this time are not declining, Iowa’s revenues continue to be lower than projected. Some of the factors contributing to this include a decline in Iowa’s agricultural economy and the increasing consumer behavior of online purchases where sales taxes are not paid. Iowa is also in need of serious […]

 
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