Strengthening Pathways to the Middle Class: The Role of Work Supports
The Cost of Living in Iowa
cliff effects graphIowa families could find a clearer path to the middle class if work-support policies were better designed to “make work pay.” A new Iowa Policy Project report shows where work supports work — and fall short — in boosting families toward a basic-needs household budget.
Full report NEW! 10/29/14
Executive summary
News release

Also see:
Part 1: Basic Family Budgets

County data (map, tables) • County and regional spreadsheet

Part 2: Many Iowa Families Struggle
to Meet Basic Needs

Reducing the Cliff Effects in Iowa Child Care Assistance
Eligibility rules could be adjusted in Iowa's Child Care Assistance program to better meet family needs.
Full report (5-page PDF)AppendixNews release 3/13/14
More Challenges for Iowa Families' Household Budgets
Iowa JobWatch: Slow Pace, Growth in 7 of 8 Months, But a Jobs Deficit
Jobs DeficitIowa is continuing to see job growth in 2014, though at a slower pace in the last two months, and at a sluggish pace over the last year — about 1,800 jobs a month. The gain in September was 1,300.
See our Iowa JobWatch statement 10/21/14

Heather Gibney“Iowa’s population has grown since the start of the last recession, and we need to add more jobs to make up for that. We remain almost 46,000 jobs behind — that is Iowa's jobs deficit.”
— IPP's Heather Gibney

Uninsurance: Iowa Ahead of Most States, But Quarter Million Uninsured
A greater percentage of Iowans had health insurance than in most other states leading up to the implementation of the new health care law.
News release 9/16/14
Visit the Iowa Fiscal Partnership website for new Census information about Iowa income and poverty trends

StateOfWorkingIowaThe State of Working Iowa 2014 — Spotlight on Wages
Colin GordonStagnation in wages for Iowa workers has come despite improved productivity and educational attainment. In The State of Working Iowa 2014, author Colin Gordon puts the spotlight on wage trends and disparities in Iowa’s economy between the haves and others.
Labor Day Wage Update 8/29/14 or Full report online
News release
Colin Gordon on “The Devine Intervention,” KVFD Fort Dodge

Minimum Wage: Iowa, Once a Leader, Now a Laggard
In 2007, lawmakers passed a two-step increase in the state minimum wage that took effect a year-and-a-half before the federal wage. And the wage is still sitting at $7.25 an hour.
Fact sheet or 1-page PDF

Food Insecurity: A Problem for 12 Percent of Iowa households
Iowa households fared better than the national average on food insecurity in 2011-13, but worse than Iowans did a decade earlier, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
News release or 2-page PDF 9/4/14

Saving Energy: Wapsie Valley Community Rewarded for Energy Reduction
Get Energized Iowa! logoWhen the lights went on for Wapsie Valley’s opening football game, it put the spotlight on solar power and energy efficiency.
News release 8/27/14

“The small towns in this area proved that local volunteers talking to their neighbors could lead citizens to become more conscious of how they use electricity.” — David Osterberg

Clean Water for Iowans
Frac-Sand Mining: The Threats to Health and the Environment
IPP's David Osterberg, who co-authored a ground-breaking report on frac-sand mining, talked about the issue on Iowa Public Radio's “River to River” program.
Listen to the program 9/2/14
New on Our Blog: Stop Politicizing Water Quality

Water quality in Iowa is so bad that any new initiative to improve our waters is probably a good thing. That said, Iowa farm groups’ new initiative to take action on agricultural pollution of our waters comes with a troubling rollout.
Iowa Policy Points post by David Osterberg 8/26/14

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

“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
Fisher interview with Mike Devine on KVFD-1400 Fort Dodge 7/31/14 NEW!

“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

Why Foundations of Iowa, Many State Pension Systems are Strong
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