Iowa JobWatch: Conflicting Signals in Iowa Jobs
April setback in nonfarm jobs, but unemployment rate also falls
Iowa nonfarm jobs dropped for the first time in seven months, by 1,700 in April, while the state unemployment rate also fell, to 3.8 percent.
Iowa JobWatch statement by Mike Owen 5/27/15


Minimum wage graphicA new goal: $12 by 2020
As U.S., Iowa let minimum wage erode,
new proposal would benefit 436,000 in Iowa

Proponents of a minimum-wage increase propose bringing the wage floor back up to where it was in the late 1960s, in five steps.
Economic Policy Institute report 4/30/15
Iowa Policy Project fact sheet (2-page PDF) 4/28/15

Also see these IPP resources
• Impact of raise to $8.75: IPP fact sheet (2-page PDF) 3/31/15
Iowa Policy Points post by Mike Owen 2/24/15
• Impact of raise to $10.10: IPP fact sheet (2-page PDF) 2/9/15
The Cost of Living in Iowa — What it takes to get by in our state

Choosing Winners from the Top Down

Non-Resident Millionaires Benefit in Flat-Tax Option Plan
New data from the Department of Revenue show most resident Iowa taxpayers with income under $200,000 see no benefit in the proposed flat-tax option; and those who do have a much smaller benefit than millionaires.

Flat Tax graph Policy Brief
4/18/15
Department of Revenue estimate — tax plan choices
Department of Revenue estimate — tax plan benefit differences

House Flat-Tax Option Showers Benefits at High Incomes
Tax legislation pending in the Iowa House would shower most benefits on higher income Iowans, while reducing revenues by nearly half a billion dollars.
Policy Brief
Revised with new data, 3/26/15
or 2-page PDF


Keeping Ahead of the Kansans — Iowa’s Neighbors Show the Folly of Drastic Cuts to State Income Tax
See Policy Brief or 2-page PDF 4/9/15

Iowa’s Problem of Priorities
Bill Starts Coming Due on Costly, Excessive Business Property Tax Cut

Tax cuts have consequences. In the case of the massive commercial property tax cut enacted two years ago, those consequences have become all too real.
PeterFisherPhotoIowa Fiscal Partnership backgrounder (or 2-page PDF) 3/10/15
Peter Fisher's guest opinion in The Gazette, Cedar Rapids 4/5/15
or in The Des Moines Register 3/6/15


MikeOwenPhotoBudgeting in the dark when the business lobby comes first
If schools were really getting the “first bite at the apple,” as some are so fond of saying, school aid would have been set many months ago for the coming budget year.
Iowa Policy Points post by Mike Owen 4/13/15


Funding decisions? Overdue. School budgets? On time. Political games? Still going, as scheduled.
Mike Owen's guest opinion in The Press-Citizen, Iowa City 4/18/15


Balancing Out Impact of Gas Tax Increase
Iowa Could Raise the Wage if Raising the Gas Tax to Help Low-Income Working Families
Inequality graph 2015Raising Iowa’s tax on gasoline and diesel fuel by 10 cents per gallon would go a long way toward financing needed street and highway repairs. It also will affect low-income working families disproportionately more than it will high-income households. There are ways to offset those effects.
Iowa Fiscal Partnership backgrounder (2-page PDF) 2/24/15

No Income Taxes, Big Checks from State
Lucrative program lets big companies erase taxes, and get extra in checks
More companies are benefiting from a lucrative tax subsidy that permits large, profitable corporations to get checks from the state without paying any Iowa income tax.
Iowa Fiscal Partnership news release (or 2-page PDF) 2/11/15

Five Years Later, No Progress on Reforms of Costly, Unaccountable Tax Credits
Five years ago, a special Tax Credit Review Panel offered a report on Iowa tax-credit programs, with some tough recommendations. Policy makers have not responded.
Iowa Policy Points post by Mike Owen 1/8/15

No Action, Predictable Results
After State Officials' Inaction vs. Pollution, DM Water Works Tired of Waiting
Why should no one be surprised by Des Moines Water Works going to court? It is because the Governor and his administration have failed to act.
Iowa Policy Points post by David Osterberg 1/12/15


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