capitoldetailIowa JobWatch: Smooth spot in rough road to recovery

Jobs rebound in April, slow growth over year; jobless rate up to 3.9 percent

April job numbers for Iowa showed a healthy one-month increase of 4,300 jobs, while the unemployment rate rose for the third straight month, to 3.9 percent.
Our monthly Iowa JobWatch report or 2-page PDF

owen“Slow and steady is Iowa’s pace when viewed over the last several months and years.”
— IPP's Mike Owen

Raising the minimum wage when state lawmakers won’t:
A look at who would gain in Polk County

Often a Boost for Women, Full Time Workers, and People Over 20 Years Old with Education Past High School

Inaction by Congress and state legislatures has led many cities and counties to adopt a local minimum wage, including Johnson County in Iowa. But what would it look like in counties considering whether to do the same, such as Polk and Linn counties? We show that a $12 or $15 county minimum wage, phased in by 2019 or 2021, would raise the incomes of at least 60,000 to 88,000 workers in Polk County; the majority would be full-time workers and over a third would be parents.
min wage - polk co characteristics
IPP Policy Brief 5/16/16
News release 5/16/16

“income in the local economy would rise by $230 million to $444 million. This in turn would increase spending in local retail and service businesses, boosting economic activity and supporting jobs.”
— IPP’s Peter Fisher

— and in Linn County
A $10.10 county minimum wage, phased in by 2017, would raise the incomes of at least 18,400 workers in Linn County, the majority of them full-time workers, and most (4 out of 5) age 20 or older.
IPP Policy Brief 1/11/16
IPP 1-page backgrounder 1/13/16

Johnson County at $10.10 9/30/15
Johnson and Linn County at $15 8/11/15

More on the minimum wage
And on Iowa's “Invisible Epidemic” — Wage Theft

capitoldetailGetting serious about clean water

Iowa needs stronger restrictions on manure application

Iowa falls short in limiting manure runoff into lakes and streams when soil conditions are unfavorable. The state could learn from another Midwestern state to create better protection of water flowing to the Mississippi River.
Full report or 19-page PDF 5/4/16
Executive Summary or 2-page PDF
News Release or 2-page PDF

IFPlogo“Iowa does not place strong limits on manure application on frozen, snow-covered or saturated ground.”
— IPP's David Osterberg

capitoldetailFour months we won't get back

IFP Summary: Session ends with little progress on major issues

When the 2016 session began, Iowa faced a host of critical challenges, from polluted water to sluggish funding of schools and uncertainties about health care due to plans to privatize Medicaid. This session has done little to ease any of those concerns, and nothing to meet those challenges for the long term.
Iowa Fiscal Partnership statement 4/29/16

IFPlogo“Public policy stands tall when it supports long-held, long-promoted values of our state. Education and a clean environment are among those. Neither had victories of note. — Iowa Fiscal Partnership

And when the Legislature comes back in January, these issues will remain ...

jobsWhy wages in Iowa fall short
Latest ‘Cost of Living in Iowa’ report
details basic-needs family budgets;

Despite their work efforts, many Iowans cannot meet basic living expenses as the cost of living continues to rise and both the labor market and public policy fail to keep pace.
Full report 4/5/16
Full report printable PDF (21 pages)
News release (or 2 page PDF)
Local, regional data

Hear report author Peter Fisher on The Devine Intervention, KVFD-AM Fort Dodge

ALEC_KansasNo taxes, but millions in checks
Big companies do best from research subsidy
The millions Iowa gives to companies that do not pay state income tax is about the same amount of 1 percent in state school aid.

That's one takeaway from the latest annual report from the state on Iowa’s Research Activities Tax Credit, which is used far less to ease taxes than to shovel subsidies to corporations outside the budget process, whether they pay taxes or not.
Iowa Fiscal Partnership backgrounder 2/24/16
Iowa Fiscal Partnership news release 2/15/16

Top corporate claimants — View list
Official state reports — Links here
Des Moines Register editorial — View
KVFD interview with IPP’s Mike Owen — Listen

Grading the States — an eye on bogus business rankings
Iowa Policy Project launches ‘Grading the States’ —
David Osterberg at KVFDThe veil is off state business climate rankings that purport — inaccurately — to identify policies that promote state economic growth. The Iowa Policy Project has launched “Grading the States,” a website that will offer ongoing critiques of several prominent business climate studies. View “Grading the States” at
News release 1/14/16