ALEC_KansasIowa JobWatch
Slow month, slow year for Iowa jobs
Slow job growth in December made up for a downward revision from November as payrolls and the 3.4 percent unemployment rate both held even, capping a slow-growth 2015.
News release 1/26/16

“The unmistakable trend is for sluggish growth that has kept Iowa from a full recovery from a recession that ended 6 1/2 years ago. From a public policy standpoint, Iowa’s leaders appear to accept this result.”
— IPP's Mike Owen

ALEC_KansasWhy ALEC keeps getting it wrong
Verdict is in: Tax cuts poor recipe for growth;
Lessons for state policymakers in Iowa and beyond

An update of a nearly year-old report by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) comes with the baggage of a poor track record for its policy agenda.
News release 1/20/16

For advocates of income tax cutting, Kansas was to be the poster child. Oops.
‘The Lessons of Kansas’ 1/14/16
Radio interview with Peter Fisher, KVFD Fort Dodge 1/21/16

“Any state legislator considering ALEC’s policy recipes should know that they fail when tested against actual economic results.”
— IPP's Peter Fisher

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

The Condition of the State: Another view
Governor’s address missed important issues facing Iowa General Assembly for 2016
David Osterberg at KVFDThe condition of our state is different from what Governor Branstad stated today. Our water is polluted, our job growth is exceedingly slow, our tax system favors the wealthiest and most well-connected, and our investments are waning for both public education and support of low- to moderate-income working families. There are tremendous uncertainties in health care for both children and adults in those families — uncertainties that did not exist a year ago. Iowans need to see substance behind the rhetoric as the new legislative session moves forward.
From the Iowa Fiscal Partnership response to Governor Branstad’s “Condition of the State” message

Read the full statement 1/12/16
2-pg PDF

Here a tax break, there a tax break, everywhere a tax break

Iowa tax breaks for business just keep growing
detailofcapitol Iowa legislators facing projections of scant revenue growth for next fiscal year will have a difficult time adequately funding education and other priorities, but their dilemma is largely self-inflicted. A penchant for tax cuts over the past 20 years has left the state with a long-term revenue shortfall.
Iowa Fiscal Partnership Policy Brief 1/8/16

“Altogether business tax breaks will drain $611 million in revenue from the state general fund next fiscal year.”
—IPP’s Peter Fisher

New sales-tax break 'unnecessary, expensive, counterproductive’
Unable to sell a new tax break for manufacturers in the legislative process, the Branstad administration is attempting to do so with an administrative rule. This break is worth tens of millions of dollars — and is only the latest in the wave of tax breaks for business sought by the current administration. See Peter Fisher's statement to the Administrative Rules Review Committee.
Iowa Policy Project statement by Peter Fisher, 10/13/15.
1-page PDF of statement

Fisher guest opinion in The Des Moines Register 10/22/15 NEW!
Fisher interview with Mike Devine on KVFD-AM 1400 Fort Dodge 10/8/15

PeterFisherPhoto“The state can ill afford another tax break that will harm essential state services while producing little or no economic benefit.” — Fisher to the Administrative Rules Review Committee

“This tax break is not an incentive; it is a gift to business. And Iowa’s children will pay for it ...” — Fisher in The Des Moines Register

Raising the minimum wage — a look at who gains in Linn County
Often a Boost for Women, Full Time Workers, and People Over 20 Years Old with Education Past High School

min wage - johnson co characteristicsInaction by Congress and state legislatures has led many cities and counties to adopt a local minimum wage. 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 NEW!
IPP 1-page backgrounder 1/13/16 NEW!

“The increased incomes of low-wage workers would in turn increase spending in local retail and service establishments, boosting the local economy. ”
— IPP’s Peter Fisher

A local minimum wage
Higher Wage Than Proposed Would Benefit Many Thousands More — A Look at Johnson and Linn Counties
As Congress and the state Legislature have
forced Iowans to wait almost eight years for action, a new report projects benefits to 19,300 workers in Johnson County and 24,300 in Linn County if a $15 minimum wage were adopted locally.
Full Report 8/11/15
News release

Johnson County at $10.10 — 1-page backgrounder on the new increase in Johnson County

... or a statewide increase
Various proposals would benefit hundreds of thousands
$12 by 2020
Economic Policy Institute report 4/30/15
Iowa Policy Project fact sheet 4/28/15
IPP fact sheet
Also see: The Cost of Living in Iowa — What it takes to get by in our state

Stolen Chances: Low-Wage Work and Wage Theft in Iowa
New report examines recent enforcement data, and survey of low-wage workers
As we approach Labor Day 2015, many Iowans — those who work at jobs that provide little security, those who are not paid the wages they have earned — will not be celebrating.
Full report or 16-page PDF 9/2/15
Executive summary or 2-page PDF
News release or 2-page PDF

Colin Gordon“In the absence of the security provided by high-wage, career employment, and in the absence of workplace organizations sufficient to sustain workers’ bargaining power, public policy must fill in the gaps.” — Colin Gordon

In the media:
The Press-Citizen, Iowa City — September 3
Quad-City Times, Davenport — September 3
The Devine Intervention, KVFD-AM 1400, Fort Dodge — September 3

detailofcapitolA Case Study of Stewardship
Linn County Projects Show Natural, Cultural Resource Protection
Iowa’s Resource Enhancement and Protection program (REAP) has been underfunded for 25 years running, yet its projects around the state show greater opportunities to enhance environmental and cultural stewardship.
Full Report 7/27/15
Executive summaryNews release

Cedar Rapids Gazette story, July 28