A Threat Unmet: Why Iowa's Nutrient Strategy Falls Short Against Water Pollution

Bodies of water across Iowa increasingly are in peril, and send their problems on to the Mississippi River and on to the Gulf of Mexico. Public policy has failed to address it, and shortcomings of the 2013 Nutrient Reduction Strategy (NRS) promise more of the same.

David OsterbergAaron Kline Full report by David Osterberg and Aaron Kline 7/17/14
27-pg PDF of full report, including executive summary
2-pg PDF of executive summary only
News release or 2-page PDF
Osterberg interview with Mike Devine on KVFD-1400 Fort Dodge 7/24/14 NEW!

“The Nutrient Reduction Strategy is a blunt tool that takes different approaches to urban and rural runoff, and is especially weak on the larger, rural source of pollution from applied nutrients.” — David Osterberg

Immigrants in Iowa: What New Iowans Contribute to the State Economy

Undocumented immigrants pay an estimated $64 million in state and local taxes, according to a new Iowa Policy Project report. The authors suggest immigration reform that expands work authorization or access to citizenship would increase the already significant contribution to Iowa by all immigrants — documented or not.

Heather GibneyPeter Fisher Full report by Heather Gibney and Peter Fisher 7/2/14
16-pg PDF of full report, including executive summary
2-pg PDF of executive summary only, or read online
News release

“The vitality that immigrants bring to Iowa communities is expanded by their economic contributions, as well as the taxes they pay — with limited access in some cases to the services they support.” — Heather Gibney

Iowa JobWatch: Slow but Steady Growth in Iowa Jobs

jobs deficit graphThe latest jobs report from Iowa Workforce Development today showed Iowa nonfarm jobs at a record high in June, as the unemployment rate held at 4.4 percent with more people entering the labor force. The new numbers are contributing to longer-term trends of slow growth and a delayed recovery.

Our IowaJobWatch statement 7/18/14

Mike Owen “Iowa's overall modest growth of 1,800 jobs per month during the past year is about the same pace of the previous 12 months. At this rate it would take about three years or more for Iowa to completely recover from recession losses.” — Mike Owen

Have You Checked Out Our Blog Lately?
Free-Range Concerns with Hog Confinements

David Osterberg Most cheered at a Johnson County hearing when it was announced that a request was withdrawn for a permit for a new hog operation. But the situation pointed to larger issues with a state law that blocks local officials from protecting residents who have health and environmental concerns.
David Osterberg's post on Iowa Policy Points 6/19/14

“Iowa law has always been most friendly to those who want to locate and operate CAFOs, rather than to the people who live near them. ” — David Osterberg

On the radio:
Osterberg interviewed by WHO's Jan Mickelson — listen here (last half-hour of podcast)
Osterberg interviewed by KVFD's Mike Devine — listen here

IPP Report: Permitting Pigs — Fixing Faults in Iowa's CAFO Approval Process November 2008

School Gardens: Raising More than Just Food
Jenna LaddSome “old school” techniques just might be the answer to a variety of challenges if Iowa schools were to promote and sustain their own gardens.
Report by IPP intern Jenna Ladd 5/14/14
Or printable PDF (11 pages)
News release

“School gardens are a low-cost, effective way to educate our youth about healthy food choices, foster local food systems while preserving natural resources, and to keep students engaged.”
— Jenna Ladd

Cost of Living vs med wage
A Spectrum of Issues for the Environment
David OsterbergWhen we consider Earth Day, some folks think of polar bears, even though they might have seen one only in a zoo or a Coke commercial. You’re in Iowa. Think of monarch butterflies.
Guest opinion by IPP's David Osterberg 4/22/14

Rapid growth of frac sand mining has sparked environmental and aesthetic concerns in Northeast Iowa.
Earth Day blog post 4/22/14
Policy brief by Aaron Kline and David Osterberg 1/30/14

Cost of Living vs med wage
Many Iowa Families Struggle to Meet Basic Needs
The Cost of Living in Iowa, Part 2

Thousands of Iowa families do not earn enough to provide for a basic standard of living without public supports, despite one or more wage earners in the family.
New report, or a printable 6-page PDF
News release, or a printable 2-page PDF
Blog post by IPP's Peter Fisher
Interview with Fisher on KVFD's "Devine Intervention" program
KIMT TV news story

“No one discussing issues such as the minimum wage, and eligibility for child-care assistance, can reasonably ignore the economic realities facing these families.” — IPP's Peter Fisher

The Cost of Living in Iowa, Part 1 — For Many Families, Even the Median Wage Would Not Be Enough
IPP's latest Cost of Living in Iowa report illustrates costs of a basic-needs, no-frills family budget — and higher costs of housing, food, transportation and child care.

Peter FisherLily French Full report by Peter Fisher and Lily French 2/26/14
22-pg PDF of full report, or see the news release
Data by county or region:
Map with links to printable county tables, or Excel sheet

Reducing the Cliff Effects in Iowa Child Care Assistance
Eligibility restrictions in Iowa’s Child Care Assistance program cement roadblocks to self-sufficiency for low-wage working parents, but could be reformed to increase both efficiency and access to child care. We illustrate how eligibility rules and cost-sharing by families could be adjusted to better meet family needs.
Full report (5-page PDF) 3/13/14
News release

High Cost of Child Care in Iowa Now a Barrier to the Middle Class
Iowa’s child care assistance programs should encourage parents to further their education.
Policy brief by Lily French and Peter Fisher 11/26/13
Executive summary or 2-pg PDF
News release

Countering Big Myths in Iowa's Policy Debates
Wage Theft in Iowa — Real and Overlooked

A hot topic at the Iowa Statehouse this year has been wage theft. What is the reality behind this issue in Iowa?
See our Wage Theft page, with links to our research
Hear David Osterberg's interview on “The Devine Intervention,” KVFD-1400 AM in Fort Dodge 3/27/14

“Wage theft ... is abetted by weak and poorly enforced labor laws at the state and federal level. ” — IPP report

Why Foundations of Iowa, Many State Pension Systems are Strong

A stable and durable public pension system, efficiently managed and funded, is important to employees, employers, the state, and the economy.

Iowa‘s public pension systems are strong and healthy, working as intended to assure retirement security to thousands of Iowans.
Policy brief by Imran Farooqi, Peter Fisher and David Osterberg. (33 pages) 12/12/13
Executive summary (or 5-page PDF)
News release

Peter Fisher’s guest opinion in the Iowa City Press-Citizen 3/19/14
David Osterberg's guest opinion in the Cedar Rapids Gazette 12/15/13
Osterberg on the Devine Intervention, KVFD-AM Fort Dodge 12/12/13