The Constitution: The Political Religion of the Nation

The Constitution: The Political Religion of the Nation

The Constitution: The Political Religion of the Nation     “Hold on to the Constitution of the United States of America and the republic for which it stands. What has happened once in six thousand years may never happen again. Hold on to your Constitution, for if the American Constitution …

2020 Candidate Education Guide

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 …

Iowa’s High Property Taxes

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. Source: Tax Foundation     Iowa relies heavily on property tax …

Consequences of a National Popular Vote

Consequences of a National Popular Vote

“A dangerous virus lurks in our republican democracy,” wrote E.J. Dionne, Jr., a columnist with The Washington Post. What is the virus which is causing a substantial threat to our constitutional republic? Dionne argues that the cause is none other than the Electoral College. The Electoral College is one of …

Improving Healthcare: Repeal Certificate of Need Law

Improving Healthcare: Repeal Certificate of Need Law

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted Iowa’s rural hospitals. The Iowa Hospital Association has estimated, the “state’s 118 hospitals, collectively, could lose as much as $2.17 billion in revenue by the end of this year.” A significant reason for this potential loss is, during the start of the pandemic, hospitals were …

Tax Rates Are the Key to Economic Competitiveness

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 …

How Much Does Government Cost in 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 …

A Way Forward for State Budgets after COVID-19

A Way Forward for State Budgets after COVID-19

JONATHAN WILLIAMS, SKIP ESTES   Most states close their books for fiscal year 2020 this week and continue to look at the uncertainty ahead. Every state but Vermont has some variety of a balanced budget requirement. Some are far more meaningful than others, but at least some thought goes into presenting …

Spending Restraint: A Conservative Budget

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 …

Uncle Sam’s “Free” Handouts

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 …

Tough Budget Decisions Ahead

Tough Budget Decisions Ahead

Iowa’s economy is reopening, but the economic impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus) is still uncertain. Iowa’s April unemployment rate was 10.2 percent because of business closures resulting from social distancing policies used to mitigate the virus. The economic impact of COVID-19 is still a fluid situation. One of the uncertainties is …

Iowa Revenue Source

Iowa Revenue Source

Do you know that the income taxes you pay to the state of Iowa makes up the majority of the General Fund budget? Iowa’s General Fund is supported not just by income taxes, but also sales and a variety of other taxes, fees, and revenue sources. In addition, the budget …

Methods to Economic Recovery

Methods to Economic Recovery

Iowa’s economy is in a recession marked by high unemployment, not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Iowa’s economic crisis is a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19), which has  forced an economic shutdown of the state. Low commodity prices are also having a detrimental impact on the farming …

American History’s Educational Decline

American History’s Educational Decline

“I’m warning of an eradication of the American memory that could result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit. Let’s start with some basics: more attention to American history and a greater emphasis on civic ritual,” stated President Ronald Reagan in his Farewell Address to the nation. President Reagan’s …

Uncle Sam to the Rescue?

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 …

Steps to an Economic Recovery

Steps to an Economic Recovery

The coronavirus (COVID-19) is frightening enough, but the economic consequences of the virus makes the situation even more terrifying. As a result of COVID-19, thousands of Iowans are filing for unemployment and businesses across the state are trying to fend off bankruptcy. The current “cure” or deterrent to stopping the …

Governor Reynolds: Protecting Iowans

Governor Reynolds: Protecting Iowans

The COVID-19 (coronavirus) national health emergency is requiring national sacrifice, the scale of which has not been seen in some time. Governors in each state are tasked with filling dual roles: providing up to date information to their citizens and coordinating resources and relief. Iowa’s Governor Kim Reynolds is demonstrating …

Prepare for Impact

Prepare for Impact

The threat of a national economic recession hangs over the United States as a result of the health emergency caused by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. While much attention has been paid to what lawmakers in Washington D.C. have done, states and localities are also bracing for an economic recession. A …

COVID-19’s Economic Impact Uncertain

COVID-19’s Economic Impact Uncertain

  In our current situation, prudence is the best fiscal policy.   The economic impact of COVID-19 or the coronavirus is still uncertain. This national health emergency has resulted in business closures, unstable markets, and uncertainty as to when Americans can return to normalcy. Prior to COVID-19, the national economy, …

The Electoral College Matters

The Electoral College Matters

Senator, and Democrat presidential candidate, Elizabeth Warren declared recently that her goal if elected is “to be the last American president elected by the Electoral College” and her “second term to be elected by direct vote.” The debate is not new to American politics—whether the Electoral College should be replaced …