ITR Live: Conservative Iowa Politics
By Iowans for Tax Relief
ITR Live: Conservative Iowa PoliticsMay 23, 2023
Representative Bill Gustoff
State Representative Bill Gustoff (R-Polk) is our in-studio guest on this episode of ITR Live. Rep. Gustoff is serving his first term in the Iowa House, representing Altoona, Saylor Township and a small part of Ankeny. Bill is a longtime friend and law partner of our host, ITR President Chris Hagenow, and shares his experiences after his first year at the Capitol and also what he's looking forward to in the future.
Rep. Gustoff and John Hendrickson each attended a Presidential campaign event this week. John shares his experiences at Westside Conservative Club where President Donald Trump spoke, while Bill gives a recount of a rally in Clive with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. While the substance of these speeches in important, we get down to the truly important questions. Specifically, which campaign has the best yard sign stakes?
Debt Ceiling Deal
After a much-too-long holiday weekend hiatus, Chris, John and Chris are back in Studio 130 to talk about the deal on raising the federal debt ceiling. The guys talk about how they might vote as members of Congress, and have some back and forth on whether or not this is a good deal for conservatives or taxpayers in general.
The reality is that the problem is so dire and the fiscal hole is so deep, that this bill probably won't have any meaningful impact on the future of the country. At some point, the bill will come due, and there will be real consequences. What might that mean for Iowa down the road when the federal government starts to back up on their promises?
New Property Tax Exemptions
One of ITR's Five Principles of Sound Tax Policy states that Iowa’s tax code should be fair and not favor one group of taxpayers at the expense of another. But, this principle does not mean taxpayers should not take advantage of every opportunity to reduce their tax bill.
The property tax reform legislation recently signed by Governor Reynolds will directly cut tax bills for seniors and veterans. Below are details of who qualifies and what they need to do: https://itrfoundation.org/seniors-dont-miss-out-on-your-new-property-tax-relief/
ITR Live also comes back to our regular feature "What Did John See on KCCI?" with a special report on a recent town hall meeting with the State Auditor. And topping off this wide-ranging episode is a classic John Hendrickson rebuke of free trade.
The "Gold Standard" of Iowa political podcasts is live from Studio 130 for another action-packed fun-filled episode. The big issue we examine today is "What did John see last night on the KCCI news?" Should Iowa students be recognized for their achievement, and do merit-based rewards matter? We also learn that construction of the Des Moines Buccaneers' new home is delayed despite being fueled by tens of millions of dollars in public tax incentives. What cautionary tale should be learned?
Because there is simply too much to cover, we tackle it all in our lightning round segment, including Ron DeSantis vs. Nikki Haley, the IRS investigation over Hunter Biden, Trump promising to release the JFK files, and President Biden finally drawing a larger crowd than Donald Trump.
Iowa or Florida?
ITR Live revisits the issue of whether or not Iowa is the "Florida of the North." Maybe it should instead be asked if Florida is the "Iowa of the South?" Which state has a better record of conservative reform over the past several years?
This week, special counsel John Durham released his report on the FBI's Crossfire Hurricane investigation. Much of what had been accepted as true on the Trump/Russia collusion is now shown to have been completely fabricated.
Chris is on the microphone in this episode to help John work through his disappointment at not being invited on the Greater Des Moines Partnership's trip to Washington DC. Did any aspiring Presidential candidates speak to this group of central Iowa local officials?
Chris and John move on to with a look at some of the early Republican Presidential television ads. If these ads are the candidate's opening arguments, how are they positioning themselves?
Biden's Budget Battles
Another round of drama with the federal debt ceiling, and ITR Live is here to try and make some sense out of the situation. Or maybe it's simply a therapy session for how terrible things might get from here.
But things work a lot better here in Iowa. John Hendrickson has written about the fiscal responsibility of how Iowa budgeted this year.
Finally, what about the looming Presidential election? We take a trip through a recent ABC News/Washington Post Poll which has some very dire numbers for President Biden as he begins his campaign for re-election.
Yeah, We've Got Travel Mugs and Everything
Alan Ostergren from the Kirkwood Institute is back in studio to give his own take on the legislature's property tax bill this year, and a not-too-early look at what he sees as further conservative reform opportunities next year.
We're with the Ace Tomato Company, with an update on the construction taking place in the courtyard outside the ITR Live studio. Is it a new patio, or a secret underground military installation?
The legislature has also finished constructing their property tax bill for this year. What is in the bill, what is thankfully omitted from the final agreement, and what do we really wish they would have added in the end?
Public Budget Hearings
ITR Live has discussed the need for a direct notification system of pending hearings that impact our property tax bills. Now we take a deeper look at what these hearings should look like and when they should be held. The current system is a bit of a mess, and Sarah Curry is in studio with the results of her research in the current system. Chris and Chris also engage in an in-depth analysis of Texas Roadhouse's dinner rolls.
Biden Ready to Finish the Job
President Joe Biden made his Presidential reelection announcement today, and ITR Live is here with a rapid reaction. Biden says repeatedly that he wants to "finish the job", but what exactly does he mean? Based on his policy agenda over the first part of his Presidency, would it be more accurate to say Biden wants a second term to "finish us off?"
Chris, Chris and John also take a look at a couple of significant changes in the media, with the departure here in Iowa of Dave Price from WHO-TV in Des Moines, and Fox News Channel parting ways with Tucker Carlson.
Sorting Through the Details
The Iowa House and Iowa Senate have passed their separate bills addressing the issue of property taxes in the state of Iowa. Chris Hagenow and John Hendrickson are back to help bring some understanding to these two different proposals. What are the strengths and weaknesses of each plan and what are the prospects for reaching an agreement between the two chambers? A key difference that Chris and John explore is the House's plan to shift money out of the Taxpayer Relief Fund into the School Foundation Aid formula.
Property Tax Direct Notification
With just eight days left on the calendar until the scheduled adjournment date of the 2023 legislative session, House Republicans and Senate Republicans each have new bills dealing with the issue of property taxes. ITR Live is here to help make sense of one new component in each proposal: Direct Notification. This concept would help Iowa taxpayers get property-specific information about their property tax bill, and also provide details on when and where to show up for their local public budget hearing.
We also take a look at the budget differences between the two chambers, and what it might take take to wrap up the session. Are the two sides all that far apart?
Here is the link to the full article on Truth-in-Taxation: https://itrfoundation.org/truth-in-taxation-would-benefit-iowa-taxpayers/
Biden Tax Increases
The ITR Foundation Poll reveals that Iowans support limitations on what local governments can spend as a way to reduce property taxes. Iowans overwhelmingly understand that our country is off on the wrong track.
Iowa taxpayers and small businesses have struggled to recover from the pandemic and the impact of high inflation. President Biden’s tax increases would be especially harmful to Iowa’s Main Street businesses and compound an already fragile economy.
Read John Hendrickson and Matt Everson's recent article here: https://itrfoundation.org/president-bidens-budget-threatens-main-street/
ITR Foundation Poll
The latest edition of the ITR Foundation Poll is here. Chris and Chris go through some of the more interesting results, which contain a way-too-early look at the 2024 Iowa Republican Presidential Caucus and the 2024 general election.
This latest poll contains a hypothetical rematch between President Joe Biden and Former President Donald Trump. Also, this installment of the ITR Foundation Poll has the first look at a potential matchup between President Biden and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Property Tax Assessments
Iowans are becoming increasingly frustrated at their property tax burden, which was put into overdrive this week as property tax assessment notices are landing in mailboxes across Iowa. John has a quick look at results results from truth-in-taxation efforts in other states, and Chris wants to have a chat about what is really driving your property tax bill (hint: it's not the assessed value).
Taxes are No Fun
Equipment upgrades, construction updates and inexplicable laughter on this episode of ITR Live.
Chris, Chris and John have a free-wheeling look at a new tax ranking for Iowa (spoiler alert: Property taxes are too high). The guys also have an update on what's going on with the "entertainment district" bill which is a straight-up tax increase and moving quickly through the Iowa House.
Finally, does the indictment of President Trump help or hurt him? Is this the beginning of the end for Trump, or does it help him solidify a third Republican nomination for President?
Separation of Powers
New Taxpayer Protections
Chris, John and John are back to discuss two new bills running through legislature that could provide meaningful new protections for Iowa taxpayers. SSB1207 and HSB232 are identical bills that each contain two new proposed Iowa constitutional amendments. The first proposal is a requirement for a 2/3rds vote of the legislature for any new income tax increase. The second proposal would constitutionally protect the Taxpayer Relief Fund to make sure it could only be used to cut taxes. These both seem like good ideas, but John has a few lingering questions that should be considered.
In part 2 of this episode, Chris has an in-studio interview with Daniel Dew of Pacific Legal Foundation who was in Iowa this week to help advance a bill that brings fairness to individual Iowans when they challenge the administrative branch's rule-making.
You can learn more about PLF here: https://pacificlegal.org/
The North Remembers
A recent article in the Washington Post laments Iowa's recent shift to the right politically, and claims that Iowa is now the "Florida of the North." The ITR Live Crew of uneducated hillbillies from flyover country discuss whether or not that is the insult it was intended to be.
John walks through numbers from the recent Revenue Estimating Conference, and how the stage is set for even more work on tax relief. Maybe liberal states should think about becoming the coastal version of Iowa.
John's recent Op-Ed on Iowa's fiscal strength: https://www.thecentersquare.com/iowa/article_712540dc-c7f4-11ed-93fa-d7340c564699.html
More from ITR Foundation on the March REC estimate: https://itrfoundation.org/state-revenue-projections-are-growing/
After the first legislative funnel, ITR Live has an update on the status of major tax issues in this year's legislative session. The Des Moines Register has new polling which indicates that property tax cuts and elimination of the income tax are both favored by a majority of Iowans. What should taxpayers expect in the remaining weeks of session?
ITR's Director of Government Relations, Victoria Sinclair is in studio to give her thoughts on major pieces of legislation still alive for the 2023 session. She also brings insight on some less appealing bills, and why they merit attention as well.
Making a Difference
ITR Live is back with a roundup of this week in Iowa politics, including a review of Tuesday's elections, with ballot measures that failed in Urbandale and Bettendorf. Specifically, we take a look at how ITR information made a difference in the Urbandale election and what happens when voters are given clear information about what these proposals mean to individual property tax bills.
The Iowa caucuses are underway, with multiple candidates visiting Iowa. President Donald Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley are all in Iowa. The Des Moines Register is out with their first look at the Republican caucus field as well.
John's star continues to rise, as he is taking his podcast celebrity on the national stage. You can learn more about John's recent appearance on the "Overton Window" here: https://itrfoundation.org/they-delivered-on-what-they-said-they-were-going-to-do/
The John Hendrickson Birthday Extravaganza
Today is the annual celebration of ITR Live's own John Hendrickson. We celebrate today with special election coverage, with over half of Iowans voting on bond referenda and other ballot measures. All or part of thirty-five Iowa counties will hold special elections that include bond questions totaling nearly $400 million in potential new spending.
Today's episode also has special sports coverage, with Hawkeye Football, the Minnesota Twins, Kent Hrbek and the 1987 World Series.
You can read more about the special ballot measures at ITR Foundation: https://itrfoundation.org/nearly-400-million-in-bond-questions-on-march-7th-special-election/
Sidewalk Socialism: John Mozena
ITR Live has a special guest today: John Mozena from the Center for Economic Accountability. Governments at all levels around the country give out stunning amount of tax credits and incentives in the name of economic development. Even though Iowa has a strong record of tax reform in recent years, our great state is not immune from these handouts. Do these incentives really matter, and are there any unintended consequences?
You can learn more about John's work here: https://economicaccountability.org/
The Rest of the Story
Recently, Governor Reynolds signed into law the fix to the calculation of residential rollback. During the debate over this bill, several local governments and legislators claimed that this technical fix would cause all sorts of budgets cuts, including police and fire protection.
Now we know the rest of the story. Kudos to the Des Moines Register (yes, really), for digging into the aftermath of this legislation and asking local governments their actual plans going forward. It will come as no surprise to ITR Live listeners that none of the cities surveyed said they would cut police and fire protection for their communities.
ITR revisits the conversation about what really needs to happen to give Iowa property taxpayers a break.
ITR/NFIB Tax Day Luncheon
Chris and John have a recap of the annual ITR/NFIB annual Tax and Small Business Luncheon held this week in Des Moines. Speakers at the event were Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, House Ways and Means Chairman, Kraig Paulsen, Direction of the Iowa Departments of Revenue and Management, and Sen. Jack Whitver, Senate Majority Leader.
All three of these speaker had terrific insights on what is happening with Iowa, and some very instructive comments on the path forward for tax policy in Iowa. What is most impressive about these three speakers and their comments is how it all fits together for conservative fiscal policy. The shared vision and commitment to reform is what is making so many taxpayer victories possible.
You can read the Department of Management's report on the cost of government in Iowa here: https://tax.iowa.gov/sites/default/files/2020-07/Cost%20of%20Government%20Report.pdf
Certificate of Need
Alan Ostergren from the Kirkwood Institute is back on ITR Live. Kirkwood Institute has joined forces with Pacific Legal Foundation to challenge Iowa's Certificate of Need law on behalf of midwives. Under Iowa's current CON laws, hospitals hold veto power over new birth centers, and prevents midwives like those in this lawsuit from offering Iowa’s expectant mothers a safe alternative to existing freestanding birth centers. Alan also shares his thoughts on a better path forward for the opponents of conservative reforms. Is it enough to simply dig your heels in, or is there a better strategy?
You can read more about this case here: https://pacificlegal.org/case/certificate-of-need-birth-center-iowa/
You can learn more about Kirkwood Institute on their website: https://www.kirkwoodinstitute.org/
Iowa's most inconsistently-scheduled conservative podcast is back with a roundup of what's going on in Iowa this week. The legislature has passed a fix for the residential property tax rollback calculation. Several communities across Iowa have local ballot measures coming up on March 7th. ITR Foundation has details of major bond referendums in Iowa. John also has information on which companies are taking advantage of the Research Activities Credit, and is it a benefit to all Iowa taxpayers?
Showcasing Iowa to the Nation
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds made an appearance at the Cato Institute and ITR Live is back with several thoughts about the Governor's performance. Iowa has a long list of significant conservative reforms over the recent past, and Governor Reynolds does a fantastic job of showcasing those victories to the nation.
As the 2023 legislative session moves forward, attention will soon turn to the state budget. ITR Foundation has a new article co-authored by John Hendrickson and ITR contributing scholar Dr. Vance Ginn on the conservative Iowa budget and what an appropriate budget target might look like.
You can read the full article here: https://itrfoundation.org/the-2024-conservative-iowa-budget/
This One Time, With the Band Tax
Who is the most loyal listener of the ITR Live podcast? John knows who, and has a special message for this best friend of the show.
We continue a series of conversations about property tax reforms and local government in Iowa. Did you know that there are over 30 different unique levies that cities in Iowa can assess? Sarah Curry is on the the podcast today to help explain how to consolidate some of these levies and begin the process of making Iowa's property tax system more transparent and easier to understand.
After the news that Iowa Caucuses will no longer be first in the nation for Democrats, John, Sarah and Chris share some thoughts and favorite stories of caucuses past.
Taxpayers Come First
When it comes to property taxes in Iowa, who is on the side of the local taxpayer? Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Dawson answers that question with a few choice words from the floor of the Iowa Senate about the work of local government and their taxpayer-funded lobbyists on a bill that would protect individual Iowans from over-taxation.
But this wasn't Senator Dawson's best work this week. Several new bills in Senate Ways and Means would make huge new progress toward further reducing Iowans' overall income tax burden and begin to simply our dreadfully complicated property tax system.
Join us on ITR Live for a look at the next step on Iowa's remarkable journey toward lower taxes.
Where is the Transparency?
This exciting, fun-filled, action-packed episode of ITR Live is an in-depth look at an Iowa Senate subcommittee this week on property tax the rollback calculation for residential properties. While the bill itself would save residential homeowners on their individual property bill for next year, we go deeper to examine the forces at play inside the Capitol. With an army of lobbyists, local elected officials and local finance officers, who is looking out for the taxpayer?
Criticisms of the bill included that the process lacked transparency, but where is the much-needed transparency for taxpayers who are trying to decipher Iowa's convoluted property tax system?
ITR Foundation has several articles that speak directly to these issues:
"Taxpayer-Funded Advocacy Against Taxpayer Interests" - https://itrfoundation.org/taxpayer-funded-advocacy-against-taxpayer-interests/
"Iowa’s Assessment Limitation – Rollback" - https://itrfoundation.org/iowas-assessment-limitation-rollback/
John also has a strong article that he co-authored with the excellent Jonathan Williams: "To Achieve Meaningful Property Tax Relief, Right Size Government" - https://itrfoundation.org/to-achieve-meaningful-property-tax-relief-right-size-government/
The Triumph of New Deal Liberalism
Chris and John are back in this episode of ITR Live to discuss Kim Reynolds vs. Randi Weingarten and Franklin Roosevelt vs. Alf Landon in the 1936 Presidential Election. Is raw data enough to make decisions about modern public policy, or should we lean on history as well?
You can read John's full review of the book ""Roosevelt Sweeps Nation: FDR’s 1936 Landslide and the Triumph of the Liberal Ideal" by David Pietrusza here: https://www.thecentersquare.com/opinion/op-ed-roosevelt-s-revolution-the-election-of-1936-and-the-triumph-of-new-deal/article_49a2a2dc-9cd6-11ed-a0c5-836547b14ed4.html
Good News and Bad News
Good news: The school choice movement in Iowa just saw the culmination of ten years worth of work on Educational Savings Accounts. On Tuesday, Governor Kim Reynolds signed HF 58 into law, which establishes universal ESAs in Iowa. After the bill signing ceremony in the Capitol rotunda, Chris Hagenow is back behind the microphone with a recap of the event.
Bad News: Legendary conservative commentator Pat Buchanan has announced his retirement from writing. John Hendrickson credits Buchanan as his political inspiration and has many thoughts on Buchanan's contribution to the conservative movement over the years.
Starbucks in Hell
ITR Live begins this episode on location in Davos Switzerland for John's appearance at the World Economic Forum. Not only do we kick things off with a special musical treat, but John's message for the globalist neo-liberal glitterati is sure to entertain as well.
Once again, we are faced with another sky-is-falling bit of drama with the looming federal debt ceiling. Chris Ingstad brings a brutally honest look at the real issue at hand which is much more perilous.
But as usual, things are different here in Iowa. We are on the precipice of real school choice in Iowa with the approaching passage of the Students First Act, which will bring universal educational savings accounts to all Iowa students.
Some Iowans rush to buy groceries before a major winter storm, while Chris and John instead take to the microphones to discuss regulatory reform. Why does reducing government regulation really matter? Was is the impact on freedom and opportunity of a burdensome regulatory climate? Chris cracks open a cold Dr. Pepper Zero while John provides some answers.
Iowa Property Tax Basics
Iowa's property tax system is not only expensive, it is incredibly complicated as well. Assessments, millage rates, equalization, rollbacks, and the ag-tie - what does it all mean? Chris, John and Sarah are here to help makes some sense out of how we calculate property taxes in Iowa.
More importantly, how does this inform the conversation about how to reform Iowa property taxes? Should the system be simplified or changed, and is that enough? Regular listeners can probably guess at our main conclusion: Iowa has too much government, and real property tax relief should begin with limiting what local governments can spend.
Chris and John are back to take a look at where conservatives are winning. In Washington DC the jury is still out on the deal struck between the freedom caucus holdouts and new House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Is simply defunding the new IRS agents enough to satisfy?
In Iowa, conservatives have racked up win after win, and there is almost certainly more to come. What's in store for this legislative session?
We also return to our regular segment on John's new purchases, with a very interesting new book on Herbert Hoover.
Get to Work
After a holiday break, it's a new year and ITR Live is back to work. Unfortunately, Congress is struggling to to do anything at all. Chris, John and Victoria bring their red-hot takes on Kevin McCarthy and the elusive Speaker's gavel.
Thankfully, it doesn't work like this in Iowa. The 90th Iowa General Assembly convenes on Monday and lawmakers are ready to hit the ground running. What is the first week of the legislature like in Iowa, and what can taxpayers look forward to in the coming session?
2023 Will Be A Big Year For Iowa Taxpayers
With a healthy state budget, lower income and corporate tax rates, the elimination of retirement income tax, and the legislature eyeing property tax reform, 2023 should be a great year for taxpayers. As big a year as 2023 will be for Iowa taxpayers, it should only be the start of a groundbreaking decade!
John Hendrickson has details on all of the tax changes that will be going into effect on January 1st for Iowa Taxpayers. You can read John's report here: https://itrfoundation.org/2023-will-be-a-big-year-for-iowa-taxpayers/
ITR Live Christmas
No stockings have been hung over the fireplace, but this episode is the ITR Live attempt to get ready for Christmas. This episode brings a gift for Iowa policymakers: the new ITR Foundation Property Tax Toolkit. This report has a history of property taxes in the state of Iowa has a series of policy ideas to reform Iowa's overall property tax system.
You can read the full ITR Foundation Property Tax Toolkit here: https://itrfoundation.org/solutions-to-iowas-growing-property-tax-problem/
The State of Iowa Has a Lot of Money
On this episode of ITR Live we discuss the recent forecast of the State Revenue Estimating Conference (REC). The REC projects that the state will continue to collect far more in tax revenue that is needed for the state budget. The REC estimate also reveals that the 2023 income tax cut is having less of an impact on state revenue collections than originally expected. The most recent REC numbers are evidence that not only were the 2023 tax cuts responsible, there may be the opportunity to go even further.
One of the main issues of the upcoming 2023 legislative session will be Iowans' property tax burden. Sarah Curry and John Hendrickson have information on new ITR Foundation reports on several policy solutions available to legislators next year.
How Biden Stole Christmas
This fun-filled, action-packed episode of ITR Live is a free-wheeling trip that begins with current conflicts in European monarchies, travels to the end of an election contest in Davenport, Iowa and finishes with the battle between President Biden and Santa Claus.
The Iowa Caucuses
The Democratic National Committee recent set its 2024 calendar for their presidential nominating process. The DNC removed Iowa from the early part of the schedule, and putting Iowa's first-in-the-nation status in peril. ITR Live takes a look at the recent history of the Iowa caucuses and what led to this decision. Will this make the overall process of electing our President better? Is this change good for the state of Iowa and what does it mean for the Iowa Democratic Party?
Looking ahead, what does this mean for Iowa Republicans and the contested 2024 nomination for President?
Iowa's Economic Strength
ITR Live is back following the Thanksgiving holiday to discuss the final disposition of the office apple pie. John has completed part of his collection with another century-old presidential campaign poster.
The crew spends time exploring the question if whether or not Iowa's economy is in a recession, and if so, why? What are the strengths and challenges of Iowa's economy, and what might that hold for the future of tax reform initiatives?
You can read more from John Hendrickson at the ITR Foundation website on the question "Is Iowa Recession Ready?"
ITR Live is ready for a big Thanksgiving and we have a free-wheeling, action-packed episode to help you get ready too. The American Farm Bureau Federation released their annual Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Survey, which shows a nearly 20% increase from last year in the cost of your thanksgiving dinner. To make ends meet, maybe it's time for American families to finally get rid of green bean casserole and cranberries.
There are still a few remaining recounts happening in Iowa legislative races, but that isn't slowing down preparations for the 2023 Iowa legislative session. Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs have been announced, and what might that mean for conservative reforms next year and beyond?
Taxes Have Consequences
ITR Live is back with a free-wheeling, fun-filled episode of tax policy, politics and World Cup Soccer. John has has the first-ever ITR Live book review, "Taxes Have Consequences" by Art Laffer, Brian Domitrovic, and Jeanne Cairns Sinquefield. What historical lessons can be learned from a look at the last 100 years of tax policy in America?
Congratulations are in order to Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds on her new role as Chair of the Republican Governor's Association. Governor Reynolds will have an even larger platform to showcase the success of Iowa's conservative reforms on the national stage.
Sarah and John review a recent ITR Foundation article explaining who is not to blame for your rapidly-rising property tax bill. It's not the county assessor, and it's not the arbitrary level of your tax levy rate. The among that you pay in taxes is driven by one thing: locally elected officials and the budgets that they set.
What's Next For The Conservative Movement?
Following last week’s elections, ITR Live continues to look at what we have learned from the results. Among the many questions that are being posed around the country, we look at where the conservative movement should go from here. Fiscal conservatism clearly works in Iowa and in several other states across the country, and conservative governors in these states were handed convincing re-election victories. Should conservatively run states like Iowa continue on the same path, or should they change their governing philosophies?
Voters in Iowa made their voices hear clearly and decisively. Iowans want to continue on the path of fiscal restraint, lower taxes, and a defense of traditional cultural values. Iowa voters knew exactly what they were voting for when they re-elected Governor Kim Reynolds and expanded the majorities led by Senate Leader Jack Whitver and House Speaker Pat Grassley. This episode responds to a recently Des Moines Register editorial that argues the opposite – that these leaders should change course and no longer advance the conservative, pro-growth policies on which they recently won.
And what about the pending announcement from former President Donald Trump of his plan to seek re-election? Is this a good thing and is the timing right?
How can Iowa count votes so quickly and accurately, but in other states it takes weeks? ITR takes one more look at election 2022, what is left to be decided in Iowa and across the country.
The ITR Foundation Poll had the most consistent and most accurate data in the 2022 Election. In five of our polls over the course of the last year, we knew what was coming. In every race we tested, we nailed it.
Governor Reynolds’ 19-point margin of victory was nearly identical to what was measured in the final October ITR Foundation Poll.
Based on our polling data, we knew that Senator Grassley’s re-election was never in doubt. The average margin in our three polls of this matchup (11.3) was less than one point different from Grassley’s final margin of victory (12.1).
When other polls tried to show Attorney General Tom Miller winning in a blowout, we had it right all along. In February, the ITR Foundation Poll was the first to show Brenna Bird with a lead over Attorney General Tom Miller. In every iteration of our poll, we had this as a very close race.
What time did you go to bed on election night? The ITR Live crew stayed up way past their bedtimes to watch the election results roll in. On little sleep, Chris, Victoria and John get together to discuss what have we learned so far from the results of Election 2022 in Iowa. Who won, who lost, and what is still left to be decided. Did anyone's crazy predictions come to pass?
While the national results were not what many of us expected, the election here in Iowa was a different story. Today's episode of ITR Live takes a look at what happened and attempts to draw some early conclusions about what the election results might mean for the future of our state and our country.
Election Preview Show
Join ITR Live host Chris Hagenow, John Hendrickson and Victoria Sinclair for a breakdown of Election 2022, specifically what to expect in Iowa’s state legislative races. What are the issues that are behind these campaigns and do they have the right strategy? Race by race we take a look at what to expect this coming Tuesday night, including each guest bring one big prediction.
ITR Live also has it's first regular segment where we find out what package John received today. It's the new unwrapping/unboxing show that you won't want to miss.
Final Election 2022 ITR Foundation Poll
The most recent Iowans for Tax Relief Foundation Poll, conducted by Cygnal, shows support for conservative candidates and incumbents remains strong, while the economy continues to be top of mind for Iowa voters. Listen to Chris Hagenow, Victoria Sinclair and John Hendrickson discuss the results.
As election day draws near, the political environment for Republicans in Iowa remains strong. In every iteration of the ITR Foundation Poll this year, both Governor Kim Reynolds (+19) and Senator Chuck Grassley (+11) have held double-digit leads over their Democrat opponents. The race for Iowa Attorney General remains a toss-up. The last three ITR Foundation polls have indicated a statistical dead heat between Democrat incumbent Tom Miller and Republican challenger Brenna Bird.
When asked which issue was most important in deciding who to vote for, more Iowans (32.3%) chose inflation and the cost of living as their top priority than any other policy matter.
Read the full ITR Foundation Poll results here: https://taxrelief.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/ITR-Foundation-Poll-October-31-2022.pdf
We're Just Here To Do The ITR Shuffle
The ITR Live Shufflin' crew of Chris Hagenow and Alan Ostergren are in studio to talk about important, timely topics ranging from the 1985 Chicago Bears to Iowa's place on the national stage. What do conservative leaders in other states think of Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and the conservative victories she has secured for the people of our great state? Why are they so interested to find out what's going on?
Alan also brings an update on his work at Kirkwood Institute. Did you know that the United States Constitution applies to the City of Cedar Rapids?
Find out more about the Kirkwood Institute: https://www.kirkwoodinstitute.org/
Special Announcement: On another action-packed episode of ITR Live, we have a special breaking news announcement from Chris Hagenow that election 2022 watchers won't want to miss. John Hendrickson also has exclusive breaking news from his homeland of Minnesota.
The gang discuss a recent article from Bloomberg which posits "GOP Poised to Cement Grip on Iowa, Ending Its Swing-State Status". While the headline is exciting for the team in red, Chris argues that the grip has already been cemented, and what's happening in this election is just the new normal.
The Tax Foundation has released it's 2023 State Business Tax Climate Index. As Iowa begins to phase in its series of recently enacted tax cuts, we can see how much tax reform was truly needed in Iowa, and John again has the inside scoop on how strong Iowa will compare once we are done.
How High Can You Count?
Voters across Iowa and around the country are ready for a change from President Biden's America. You can hear it in talking with your friends and neighbors, out in the community and you can clearly see it in public opinion polls. Chris, Chris and John share their own stories of what their experiences and discuss several recently released polls. Voters not only want a change in direction from Washington D.C's progressive liberal agenda, they are excited to re-elect strong conservative leaders like Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds.
Perhaps equally exciting in this episode is John Hendrickson announcing a new book for members of the ITR Live Book Club.
Two Competing Visions
The Cato Institute has released their 2022 Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors. Iowa’s Kim Reynolds was not only one of just five governors who received an A grade from Cato, but this data driven report calculated her score as the highest in the nation! Since 2008, this report has graded the fiscal policies of our nation’s governors from a limited-government perspective using seven variables.
The full report from Cato is available here: https://itrfoundation.org/reynolds-gets-an-a/
On the other hand, the Des Moines Register Editorial Board sees things exactly the opposite. In their endorsement of Democrat Deidre DeJear, the Register admits that they prefer a Governor who will advocate for a much larger, more expansive government that spends more of our tax dollars.
Senator Jack Whitver
Iowa Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver is our guest on this episode of ITR Live. As Majority Leader, Whitver leads the Senate Republican caucus, not just through the legislative session, but during campaign season as well. Senator Whitver discusses the importance of tax policy to the future of our state and why it remains a top issue for the Senate Republican Caucus.
With just four weeks left until Election Day, Senator Whitver previews the upcoming Iowa Senate elections and what tax issues could be in play when the legislature comes back in January 2023.
ITR Foundation Poll
The most recent Iowans for Tax Relief Foundation Poll, conducted by Cygnal, shows Governor Kim Reynolds is growing more popular while President Joe Biden remains unpopular. Iowans support a wide range of conservative candidates and policy measures, including spending limits on local governments to control property taxes.
The ITR Foundation Poll shows tremendous support for conservative candidates up and down the ballot. The Generic Ballot tested at +17 for the GOP, indicating the strongest political environment for Republicans than the state has seen for decades.
The previous ITR Foundation poll from July was fielded shortly after the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs. Since that poll, the electorate in Iowa has shifted to the right and are prepared to emphatically re-elect conservative leadership. Iowa voters are clearly focused on the fallout from the Biden economy, with inflation and the cost of living being the top issue deciding voter preference.
Get the complete ITR Foundation Poll results here: https://itrfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/ITR-Foundation-Poll-October-2022.pdf
Iowa is a wonderful place to live. Driving across the state during the beautiful fall season is a reminder that we are blessed to live in this state. Only slightly less inspiring than the harvest season in Iowa is the recently reported strength of our state's budget and strong fiscal management.
ITR Foundation has the details of the final budget numbers for the past fiscal year and a look at the foundation that has been built for the success of our recent tax cuts. This is the second year in a row Iowa experienced a billion dollar surplus, as the state ended fiscal year 2021 with a $1.24 billion surplus. While income tax cuts have been phasing in since 2018, these figures provide even more confidence for the coming rounds of rate cuts and the exemption of retirement income scheduled for 2023.
Read more here: https://itrfoundation.org/iowa-fy2022-exceeds-expectations-with-large-surplus/
Into The Abyss
Why can't our federal government work more like Iowa?
ITR Live gets together to talk about Governor Reynolds joining other governors in a lawsuit challenging the Biden Administration's student loan forgiven plan. The conversation then turns to our state's growing budget surplus, and how that stands in stark contrast to the exploding federal debt. John has further thoughts on how our massive federal debt might impact our nation's future.
Way Too Early
The City of Des Moines plans to give 100% of the revenue from a TIF (Tax Increment Financing) district to property developers. The price tag for this development could reach $1 billion. Is that fair? ITR Foundation President is a student of TIF and has answers to some very basic questions: Is there any evidence to show that this will boost overall economic activity, and are these incentives really necessary? Will individual taxpayers benefit in any way?
ITR Policy Director Sarah Curry is in studio to talk about how NOT to do property tax relief. Nebraska has a convoluted system of income tax credits meant to offset local property taxes. Amazingly, the majority of Nebraskans don't even claim the credit. When it comes to tax policy, simpler is better. As Iowa looks at property tax relief, what lessons can we learn from our neighbors to the West?
Runaway Property Taxes
ITR Live is back with amazing stories from their recent tour. An action packed episode that is sure to entertain with crazy Uber rides, one-of-a-kind BBQ and the thrilling, action-packed, heart-pounding agenda of a state think tank policy conference.
The gang also talks about recent headlines focused on an upcoming round of real estate assessments for properties in Polk County. The Polk County assessor estimates that residential assessments will increase by 22% next year. If you aren't enthused about the corresponding increase in your property tax bill, who is to blame? What can you do about it? What can the legislature do about it?
ITR Foundation - Combating Runaway Property Taxes: https://itrfoundation.org/combating-runaway-property-taxes/
ITR Watchdog - Homeowners Set Up for Higher Property Taxes: https://taxrelief.org/homeowners-set-up-for-higher-property-taxes/
Chris got a new microphone and talks about the event where he got to meet all 11 of our listeners. Chris Ingstad and Sarah Curry join the podcast to talk about the state's revenue outlook and continue the conversation about Iowa's overall economic outlook.
Sarah also provides a preview of her research on the history of Iowa's property tax system (Spoiler alert: It's always been frustrating). Did you know that Iowa once had a property tax system which involved the use of "Tax Ferrets" whose job it was to investigate individual Iowans to ensure compliance?
You are read ITR Foundation's report on August revenue here: https://itrfoundation.org/state-revenue-in-august-paints-a-positive-picture/
Why is the Flat Tax Important?
Governor Kim Reynolds and Iowa’s legislature have delivered pro-growth tax reform by balancing restrained spending growth with income tax cuts. Years of prudent budgeting enabled the passage of historic tax reform in 2022, which will create a flat 3.9 percent income tax rate by 2026.
But why is the flat tax a good thing? What benefit does it have for Iowa taxpayers? Jared Walczak at the Tax Foundation recently released an article talking about the "Flat Tax Revolution" across the country. Read more here: https://taxfoundation.org/flat-tax-state-income-tax-reform/
John also wants everyone to know that this Saturday is Constitution Day. Why is the Constitution important, and why should we continue to study it? Ronald Reagan touched on the answer to that question in his farewell address:
"An informed patriotism is what we want. And are we doing a good enough job teaching our children what America is and what she represents in the long history of the world?...We've got to do a better job of getting across that America is freedom -- freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of enterprise. And freedom is special and rare."
Divide et Impera
ITR Live is back! Chris, Chris and John return from their long, unexplained hiatus to discuss two new articles. After President Biden's inflamatory speech last week, Pat Buchanan claims that "Liberal Elites Detest Middle America" and brings receipts. John also takes a few moments to sing the praises of Iowa's own "quiet conservative," Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver.
The Pat Buchanan article is here: https://buchanan.org/blog/how-liberal-elites-detest-middle-america-159617
Senator Jack Whitver: Iowa's Quiet Conservative: https://www.thecentersquare.com/iowa/op-ed-sen-jack-whitver-iowa-s-quiet-conservative/article_0b3e653e-2dfb-11ed-a6d9-73124b1d35d6.html
ITR Gets Called Up To The Show
Another ITR Live episode with real breaking news. The ITR Foundation Poll is cited in former President Trump's application to federal court for a special master. John tells us about the Durham Bulls' Ripken the Dog, who fetches bats for the players. Chris Ingstad has more property tax information from ITR Foundation research and Chris Hagenow talks about the state revenue report.
The Trump application for a special master: https://storage.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.flsd.618763/gov.uscourts.flsd.618763.1.0.pdf
Sarah Curry's op-ed on Council Bluffs/Pottawattamie County property taxes: https://nonpareilonline.com/news/local/guest-column-arpa-provides-financial-relief-from-covid-struggles/article_99d43a72-1fe5-11ed-9e34-5b09bd53fb3d.html
Did You Get Your Property Tax Savings?
Too many Iowa counties failed to pass along the property tax savings provided in the legislature's 2021 tax bill. In that bill, counties are no longer tasked with paying the bill for mental health services, as the responsibility of paying for mental health services was shifted from counties to the state.
A recent ITR Foundation report reveals that 48 Iowa counties did not pass along the full amount of the property tax savings that was provided. What can we learn from this, and how should it inform future property tax reform efforts?
Read the full ITR Foundation report here: https://itrfoundation.org/did-your-county-pass-on-mental-health-savings/
More Inflation Act
Chris and John provide rapid response as President Biden signs what Washington DC liberals have named the "Inflation Reduction Act". In reality, it will do the opposite - Increasing inflation while trying to engineer our economy to fit their own agenda. And to rub salt in the wound, Democrats are hiring 87,000 new IRS agents to go along with their central planning.
Not everyone wants to or has the ability to purchase an electric vehicle. Some Americans may not want to pay more to heat their home or drive their car. And almost no one is excited at the new army of IRS agents soon to be deployed against the American people.
State Fair Special
ITR's resident historian John Hendrickson draws a historical parallel between our current economic situation to that of 100 years ago. Our nation is currently recovering from a worldwide pandemic and struggling with rising inflation. 100 years ago, President Warren G. Harding inherited a similar situation after winning the 1920 election in a landslide. But Harding overcame it by getting government out of the way. The economy recovered quickly—whereas President Biden enacted progressive policies that have resulted in a double-dip recession with 40-year high inflation.
You can read John's full article here: itrfoundation.org/a-history-lesson-for-president-joe-biden/
The FBI Never Raided Herbert Hoover
Don't mess with historians. They take documents seriously.
What does the FBI raid of Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate have to do with Herbert Hoover's birthday? Very little, but Chris and John do their best to try and make it happen. What are the implications of the FBI raid on former President Trump's office? What is the Biden Administration's Department of Justice really trying to accomplish here and why is it really poor politics for Democrats?
Perhaps only slightly less newsworthy is the 31st President's birthday on August 10th. Iowa's own Herbert Hoover is often misunderstood and takes far too much blame for the Great Depression. John has many things to say on Hoover, and in this episode showcases a small piece of his vast knowledge of US history.
You can read more from John about Hoover here: https://itrfoundation.org/herbert-hoover-americas-forgotten-conservative/
Many other of John's great articles on history can be found on the ITR Foundation website: https://itrfoundation.org/
Where Did Iowa's Local Relief Funds Go?
In March 2021, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the massive federal stimulus intended to provide economic relief from the pandemic. Out of this explosion of borrowed money, the law directed huge sums of money to state and local government. Not only did this bill have a direct impact on our current recession, ITR Foundation's Sarah Curry has discovered that the funds for local government may have been largely unnecessary in the first place.
So where did all of the money go?
You can read the full ITR Foundation report here: https://itrfoundation.org/where-did-iowas-local-covid-relief-funds-go/
Save Our States - Part 2
Part 2 of the ITR Live interview with Trent England, Executive Director of Save Our States. Trent joins Chris and John to talk about the principles of federalism and how they relate to our politics today. How can states pull back some of the power they have lost to the federal government? How can states prepare for the time when the federal government can no longer live up to its commitments?
You can learn more about Save Our States here: https://saveourstates.com/
Save Our States - Part 1
Part 1 of the ITR Live interview with Trent England, Executive Director of Save Our States. Trent joins Chris and John to give answers to some very important and difficult questions. What is Federalism and why does it matter? Why do we have the Electoral College in the first place? What is so dangerous about the National Popular Vote movement? Why does Chris enjoy the Nifty Fifty United States song so much?
You can learn more about Save Our States here: https://saveourstates.com/
ITR Foundation Poll
Chris is all alone today. Left all by himself to discuss the latest installment of the Iowans for Tax Relief Foundation Poll. The most recent ITR Poll, conducted by Cygnal, shows Governor Kim Reynolds is very popular, President Biden is not, and it looks like Republicans could perform well in the November elections.
Governor Reynolds was the most popular person tested and holds a wide 14.4 point lead on the gubernatorial ballot over Democrat nominee Deidre DeJear.
The popularity of Governor Reynolds is in stark contrast to that of President Biden, who is deeply unpopular with Iowa voters. By a 2 to 1 margin, Iowa voters disapprove of the President's job performance. Donald Trump would win a hypothetical rematch with Joe Biden by 11 points, up from his 8-point win in 2020.
Read more about the ITR Foundation Poll here: https://taxrelief.org/poll-iowans-like-governor-reynolds-as-bidens-support-slides/
You can also find the complete polling memo here: https://taxrelief.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/ITR-Foundation-July-2022-poll-toplines.pdf
Rejecting Failed Liberal Policy
ITR Live is back! Chris, Chris and John get together to talk about the stark contrast in public opinion between Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and President Joe Biden. The failed policies of President Biden and the progressive left are not only causing economic chaos, they are also being soundly rejected by the American people. In contrast, Iowans are poised to ask Governor Reynolds to continue leading a successful conservative policy agenda.
After John finishes giggling, he talks about a recent ITR Foundation article on the brazen unconstitutionality of the STAMP act being considering in Congress. Not to be confused with the Stamp Act of 1765, which John is saving for a future series of podcast episodes.
You can read the article here: https://itrfoundation.org/the-latest-assault-on-our-constitution-and-the-states/
Congratulations also go out to Representative Bobby Kaufmann (R-Wilton) who was recently named the new Chairman of the Iowa House Ways and Means Committee, where he will have a significant impact on future tax policy in Iowa.
Biden's Way or the Iowa Way
As Americans try to deal with the impact of rising inflation, President Biden had a tweet this weekend with his plan to lower gas prices. Biden's solution is issue a command that gas stations simply lower the price. Brilliant. Chris Hagenow, Chris Ingstad and Sarah Curry get together to discuss this stunning ignorance of free market economics and the audacity to believe that the President holds the power to dictate terms to private citizens.
In contrast, things in Iowa work much better. ITR Foundation has released an article on the most recent state revenue information, where state revenue collections continue to see strong growth. Naysayers said the tax cuts would put the state in a bad fiscal position, but the revenue reports continue to prove that narrative wrong.
The Hendrickson Group: Property Taxes
From Iowa’s capitol city: “The Hendrickson Group”, an unrehearsed, hastily assembled program presenting inside opinions and forecasts on major (and sometimes minor) issues of the day.
ITR Foundation’s John Hendrickson and his panel of Chris’s come together to discuss Iowa’s ongoing efforts to cut taxes, specifically regarding Iowans’ skyrocketing property tax burden.
Alan Ostergren, President and Chief Counsel of the Kirkwood Institute joins the podcast to talk about the recent history of the judiciary in Iowa. Alan and Chris also discuss what's currently happening in the legal world, including the recent Iowa Supreme Court Decision in Planned Parenthood v. Reynolds and also the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health.
The Kirkwood Institute is a conservative public-interest law firm dedicating to promoting the rights of Iowans. They focus on personal liberty, including economic and property rights, constitutional governance, and the separation of powers.
General Election Preview - Iowa House
With Iowa's primary election in the rear view mirror, it is time to look ahead to the general election. As part of a series on the upcoming November election, ITR's Chris Hagenow and Victoria Sinclair get together to talk about the battle for control of the Iowa House of Representatives. While control of the chamber is not believed to be in play, there are undoubtedly several races that will be hotly contested. Chris and Victoria have crunched the numbers and take an early look at which districts look to become battleground races.
“It’s Easy” To Spend Taxpayer Dollars
Why do local governments believe they need so much of your money? In recent years, Iowa property valuations have increased considerably. Large valuation increases usually translate into increased revenue for local governments in the form of property taxes.
ITR Foundation Research Director Sarah Curry joins the podcast to talk about what's facing the people of Indianola. Several different tax authorities are all making big new demands of property taxpayers. The city has two new bond issues for a new public safety building and a library with a cost of $62.2 million. The school district is planning to build a new high school with an estimated price tag between $71 million and $144 million, and Warren County is opening a new justice center that was $10 million over budget, coming in roughly 30% more expensive than planned.
How can they justify all of this spending? As one county supervisor explained, "When our tax revenues and property valuations are going up every year, it's easy."
Post Primary Extravaganza
ITR's Chris Hagenow, Chris Ingstad and Ernie Adkison get together to discuss chickens, bounce houses and pressure washers along with a few other random topics.
The results of Iowa's primary elections. Big wins for Republican United States Senator Chuck Grassley and his opponent Micheal Franken. State Senator Zach Nunn wins big and will now be the Republican nominee against Congresswoman Cindy Axne.
The guys spend much of their time on the show discussing several hotly contested primaries for the Iowa House of Representatives. Who are some of these future legislators and how did they win?
A Brighter Future?
Host Chris Hagenow was recently named President of Iowans for Tax Relief and is joined by new ITR Foundation President Chris Ingstad to discuss their new roles within the ITR family of organizations. The Chris's talk about why the future is bright not only for their organizations, but more importantly for the future of the state of Iowa.
After explaining the importance of Iowa's upcoming Republican legislative primary elections, the conversation turns to why Iowa's immediate future may not be quite as "bright" as we first thought.
You can read John Hendrickson's recent piece on the Electoral College here: The Fight to Preserve Iowa's Voice
Better, Stronger, More Conservative
This has been the most pro-taxpayer legislative session in recent history and will create a better and brighter future for Iowa.
When legislators returned to the Iowa Capitol in January, ITR encouraged them to "think big and don't back down" and that it was "time to seize the opportunity to create a better and brighter future for Iowa." The 3.9% flat tax passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Reynolds does exactly that.
The inaugural episode of ITR's podcast sets forth our vision for the future of Iowa. We discuss our vision for Iowa along with what happened at the Capitol to make this year the most pro-taxpayer legislative session in recent history.