Missed Opportunity for Iowa: Governor’s Address Leaves Fiscal Challenges Unresolved

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The Iowa Fiscal Partnership issued the following statement today about Governor Branstad’s Condition of the State address:

Peter Fisher“Governor Branstad’s speech today missed an opportunity to bring a spotlight to several critical issues,” said Peter Fisher, research director of the nonpartisan Iowa Policy Project and co-director of the Iowa Fiscal Partnership.

“Indeed, the legacy that the Governor and lawmakers must confront is that of unfinished business to address fairness in our tax code, to improve the stability of revenue sources, and to restore and enhance services cut over the past several years. It remains to be seen how this legislative session might take us closer to that.

“First, the Governor was silent on a priority issue for low- and moderate-income working families, expansion of Iowa’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Iowa’s meager EITC must be the starting place for tax reform, and new corporate breaks must be last. Corporate tax credits in Iowa are excessive and unaccountable, and the Governor did not offer a solution to the giveaway mindset that dominates Iowa public policy toward corporations.

“Significant reform of tax-increment financing (TIF) is essential as part of any change in the commercial property-tax structure. The Governor in the past and again today obscured the reality of Iowa’s overall low tax rates on business. We need to see promotion of this point rather than denial of it.

“The decision to put off education funding decisions until after reform assures difficulty in budgeting for local school boards across the state. New initiatives will take new money; that is not necessarily what the Governor is offering. We need to see whether there is a greater investment in education — which has been held back — or a shift of funds from ongoing needs to new areas of emphasis within education.”

The Iowa Fiscal Partnership is a joint public policy analysis initiative of two nonpartisan, nonprofit Iowa-based organizations, the Iowa Policy Project in Iowa City and the Child & Family Policy Center in Des Moines. Reports are at