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ITR Live: Conservative Iowa Politics

ITR Live: Conservative Iowa Politics

By Iowans for Tax Relief

Iowans for Tax Relief works to get politicians and government out of your pocket and off your back. The ITR Live podcast brings you news, opinion and an occasional laugh as we work to advance this conservative vision for Iowa.
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Trimming the Weeds

ITR Live: Conservative Iowa PoliticsSep 08, 2023

The Power of Prudent Budgeting: Iowa's Financial Triumph

The Power of Prudent Budgeting: Iowa's Financial Triumph

# Breaking Down Iowa's Fiscal Prosperity: Government Accounting Simplified

The state of Iowa is experiencing an unprecedented fiscal boom, thanks to a dedicated commitment to conservative, prudent budgeting. In spite of its reputation for being a dry topic, government accounting is at the heart of this success, driving Iowa's capacity to implement significant tax reforms and establish a foundation for further economic growth.

## Strong Fiscal Stewardship

The state's financial health is robust, ending the recent fiscal year with a $1.83 billion general fund balance, with an additional $902 million held in reserve funds. This surplus isn't due to spending cuts or program slashes; instead, Iowa's economic strength and commitment to controlled budgeting have facilitated this impressive financial position.

This conservative approach to budgeting has been championed by Governor Kim Reynolds, recognized last year by the Cato Institute as the most fiscally conservative governor in the nation. This accomplishment is no small feat, given the myriad financial challenges and funding demands that governments face.

In Iowa's case, the emphasis has been on allowing the state's businesses and families to grow at a faster pace than government spending, ensuring a balanced approach to fiscal health that benefits all.

## The Robust Economy Underpinning the Surplus

This fiscal prudence and economic vibrancy have cultivated the conditions for ongoing tax reforms. Rather than stockpiling more money in the public coffers or indiscriminately growing government programs, Iowa's leadership is leveraging this prosperity to push for further income tax cuts.

Despite implementing tax reductions, the state is still collecting more in revenue than is necessary, often as a result of the economy outpacing the implementation of tax cuts. As Governor Reynolds has noted, this is not a case of government under-spending, but of over-collection from hardworking Iowans. Moving forward, the focus is on returning this surplus back to its rightful owners – the people of Iowa.

## The Future of Iowa’s Fiscal Landscape

The strong fiscal position of Iowa has paved the way for "bigger and bolder income tax cuts," as expressed by Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitmer. Leaders advocating for tax reform have highlighted the potential for further reductions based on the state’s impressive surplus. This steadfast focus on prudent financial management, tax reduction, and economic growth continues to empower the state's strong fiscal outlook.

In stark contrast to the fiscal crises unfolding in high tax-and-spend states such as Illinois, Minnesota, California, and New York, Iowa's approach is demonstrating an effective alternative. The balance between funding government priorities and fostering economic growth is more than possible – it's happening, right now, in the heart of the Midwest.

On the horizon, Iowa’s surplus and sound fiscal management are set to enable deeper discussions surrounding trade policy, tax reduction strategies, and spending controls. With an aligned, fiscally conservative leadership committed to realizing these ambitions, Iowa can anticipate exciting developments on the horizon.

Sep 29, 202321:21
Parades, Politics, Presidents and Policy

Parades, Politics, Presidents and Policy

This episode of ITR Live checks in on another piece of Presidential candidate mail, this time touting Governor Doug Burgum's fiscal record in North Dakota. Burgum is cast as a conservative governor and business leader who has made significant strides in tax cuts, spending reduction, and budget balancing. The episode emphasized the importance of such achievements at the federal level, showcasing Burgum's track record as a leader devoted to fiscal responsibility.

Another topic covered was the controversy surrounding an entry from the Trump campaign during the Johnston homecoming parade. Hagenow expressed some irony and disbelief over the outrage caused by this entry—a single jeep adorned with an American flag and a Trump flag. Despite the seemingly harmless nature of the float, Hagenow described the extent of backlash and coined it as "dastardly." The incident spawned discussions regarding school board elections, with Axios' report questioning the overall morale at Johnson schools due to partisan influences.

Chris and John also discussed the announcement of a lowered corporate income tax in Iowa. As part of the state's 2022 tax reform law, the corporate tax rate reduction aimed to create a more business-friendly environment. Under this modified mechanism, any corporate revenues that exceed 700 million contribute to the buy-down of the rate. Hendrickson highlighted previous years of healthy corporate revenues to support the justification for this tax change. Such steps reflect the state's ongoing commitment to fostering a vibrant and competitive economic landscape that attracts and supports businesses.

Sep 26, 202325:52
America First: Understanding Republican Stances on Immigrations and Trade Policies

America First: Understanding Republican Stances on Immigrations and Trade Policies

# America First: Unpacking Contemporary American Ideals in Republican Discourse

In the United States political arena, nuanced interpretations of pressing national issues abound. Growing issues on immigration and trade policies have emerged as significant frontiers that policymakers must navigate, chiefly due to their extensive implications on domestic security and prosperity.

With its well-rooted origins, the America First policy movement is gaining remarkable momentum within Republican circles. As the label suggests, proponents emphasize a more inward-looking approach, favoring national interests above external affiliations or commitments - a call to revitalize the love of home soil and prioritize American citizens' needs.

**Heavyweight Issues: Immigration and Trade Policies**

Whereas *immigration* proved instrumental in steering previously successful campaigns such as President Trump's 2016 election, its significance has not waned. The persistent border security challenges arouse considerable anxiety, spurred by concerns over national security, cultural preservation, and economic balance. Behind the cries for stricter immigration policies, there is an earnest plea for a stable and secure nation, reflecting a quintessential spirit of love for one's country.

The contentious issue of trade policies, particularly regarding relations with China and their implications for technology and wealth transfer, is equally salient. The monumental volume of wealth transferred through Chinese hacking warrants due attention. This palpable tension underscores America's pursuit for fair and reciprocal trade relations, reaffirming an inward-looking economic orientation.

**Populist or Conservative? Drawing the Battle Lines**

Indeed, the Republican party's ideological landscape is no monolith. Diverse policy perspectives characterize what might be broadly labeled as either populist or conservative. Populism thrives on charismatic leaders who represent the people's interests directly, often promising a radical shake-up of the status quo. In contrast, conservatism tends to preserve established traditions, structures, and values, advocating for a slower, more cautious approach to change.

Nonetheless, these dichotomous terms can become muddled when applied to real-world policies, candidates, and their supporters. Both populism and conservatism overlap in some key areas, hence smart observers should refrain from oversimplifying these relationships using rigid definitions. The "America First" agenda, for instance, can be seen as a blend of both ideological strands, favoring national interests and calling for strong leadership.

In essence, the Republican nominee for president will likely be the candidate who can credibly and forcefully convey strength with authenticity, willing to fight for the country and its people. A candidate who embodies the "America First" mantra — whether through populist charisma or conservative resolve — will resonate with a broad spectrum of Republicans.

In times like these, the *America First* policy movement serves as a potent reminder of the need for solutions grounded in domestic priorities. Amid global complexities, the longing for elements of common sense, for basic American values, and for policies that benefit home ground echo the timeless appeal of the America First ideology, continually shaping contemporary Republican discourse.

Sep 22, 202328:12
Tax Policy: Impacts and Implications - Federal and Local

Tax Policy: Impacts and Implications - Federal and Local

# Understanding the Impacts and Implications of Tax Policy: An In-depth Look

In today's dynamic political landscape, the discourse surrounding tax policy and its impacts plays a pivotal role. This article takes a deep dive into the various facets of the tax policy debate including inheritance tax, tax codes, and the powers of local governments.

## A Glance at Inheritance Tax

*Proposed Inheritance Tax Reforms*: A notion that has gained some interest is the idea of introducing a hefty inheritance tax. The motive behind such a proposal is to level the playing field among citizens and curtail the head start that some individuals receive due to familial wealth. As lofty as this idea seems, its practical implementation could pose dangerous and unforeseen ramifications.

## The Importance of Stepped-up Basis in Tax Codes

Currently, when an asset is inherited in the United States, it is eligible for a stepped-up basis. The stepped-up basis is critical when calculating capital gains tax after the sale of an inherited asset. Primarily, it permits the beneficiary to adjust the initial asset value, used to compute the capital gains tax, to its value at inheritance rather than the original purchase value. This adjustment significantly reduces the taxable value if the asset has appreciated over time.

This tax provision is particularly important to consider in the context of farm families. For families that have held farmland for several decades, selling the inherited land could lead to an enormous tax bill should the notion of stepped-up basis be omitted from the tax code.

Conversely, the elimination of stepped-up basis could lead some families to feel forced into transactions they would have otherwise avoided. Such forced transactions may disrupt agricultural practices and the preservation of family-owned lands.

## The Role of Local Governments

While federal government decisions often gained the limelight, the authority and influence of local governments should not be underestimated. Local governments have the power to approve and enforce fiscal decisions that can profoundly impact their residents, including changes to property taxes and state spending.

Some local government officials argue that any intervention that aims to reduce their allocated funds would inevitably lead to cutbacks on essential services like public safety. Nevertheless, state legislators contend that such arguments usually amount to little more than alarmist rhetoric.

# Tax Policy Transparency

Transparency in tax policy is key for effective governance. Encouragingly, numerous legislators across the country recognize the importance of tax policy transparency in their jurisdictions. For example, the Governor of Oklahoma's proposed budget transparency measures aim to clearly communicate information about state spending to taxpayers.

In conclusion, as consideration of tax policy continues to evolve, understanding these intricacies becomes increasingly significant. Tuning in regularly to the ongoing tax policy discussion allows for informed opinions and educated decisions. Both legislators and citizens alike can then work towards a tax policy that aids in economic growth, reduces inequality, and ensures fiscal responsibility.

Sep 19, 202321:10
It's The Economy, Stupid: Bidenomics and Public Opinion

It's The Economy, Stupid: Bidenomics and Public Opinion

# Delving into American Conservatism: Past, Present, and Future

American conservatism is steeped in rich history, often interwoven with discussions of economic policies, income tax, and the impacts of presidential decisions on the economy. A prime focus of American conservatism today is the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library Museum in West Branch, Iowa, a place of much interest to scholars, historians, and political analysts alike. Named after the 31st President of the United States, Herbert Hoover, the museum offers a treasure of information and historical archives that shed light on pivotal moments in American conservatism.

## Herbert Hoover: A Torchbearer of Modern American Conservatism

Herbert Hoover is not just an intriguing presidential figure, but many observers of American politics see him as the godfather of modern American conservatism. Hoover's influence spans from his presidential years to his activities during the post-presidency era. Of particular interest is his stance on the New Deal, a series of public works projects, financial reforms, and regulations enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s. Analyzing Hoover's perspective on these issues can provide valuable insights into a somewhat overlooked chapter of American conservatism.

## Iowa's Tax History: Resonance with Today’s Issues

Particular emphasis is given to the exploration of early 20th century Iowa tax history. Documents from that period reveal that Iowa's primary tax was property tax. Advocacy groups during that time were suggesting other sources of income for tax relief, such as sales and income taxes. The significance of these documents today lies in the current legislative discussions surrounding income tax, especially considering the inception of Iowa's first income tax took place in the early 1930s. Drawing parallels between the past and present can help shape future tax policies.

## Reflecting on American Political Climate

In the present day, income taxes, property taxes, and debates around the Electoral College still echo arguments from past decades, proving policy discussions are often cyclical. Past discourses and decisions help us forecast and shape the future of political and economic policy. The notion of Bidenomics has surfaced, reflecting public sentiment and perception of President Joe Biden's administration. Amid talk of increased expenditure and inflation rates, citizens are growing more concerned about their financial stability.

One crucial aspect to consider is the influence of presidential regimes on known economic indices. Does a political leader guide the economy toward a growth trajectory or does economic growth stumble during their tenure? The answers often vary across different income groups and political beliefs, but the consensus seems to lean toward a direct correlation between the two.

In the wake of these discussions, understanding Herbert Hoover's politics and their significance in modern American conservatism is both relevant and insightful. It not only provides a richer understanding of U.S. politics but also sheds light on how history can inform and influence present and future tax policies and economic strategies.

Sep 15, 202331:58
From Tailgates to Tax Relief

From Tailgates to Tax Relief

The annual Iowa-Iowa State football game has become a magnet for political figures, especially so in the lead-up to the Iowa Caucuses. From mingling in the crowds to conversations under the tents at the tailgates, this event was crawling with Republican presidential candidiates including President Donald Trump, Governor Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Governor Doug Bergum. Last Saturday, Iowa was the center of the political universe.

We also take a disconcerting look at near total agreement between ITR Live and the Des Moines Register's editorial board. We both share strong reservations about the use of economic development incentives for the construction of a new minor league soccer stadium in downtown Des Moines.

Sep 12, 202316:23
Trimming the Weeds

Trimming the Weeds

## Toward a More Efficient Government

The recent efforts to streamline Iowa's government drew much attention during the podcast. The Governor's reorganization initiative is part of a broader attempt to refashion government into a lean, efficient machinery. A significant part of this initiative is aimed at reducing the number of boards and commissions. Some of them may seem relatively obscure, from the Capital Planning Commission to the Elevator Safety Board. Nonetheless, their existence indicates the historical growth of the administrative state in Iowa.

However, this move toward efficiency does not imply a disregard for essential functions. Rather, the goal is to avoid duplication and ensure that resources are utilized effectively. It doesn't mean, for instance, that the state doesn't care about elevator safety when it proposes the elimination of the Elevator Safety Board. The responsibilities are likely to be transferred to a more comprehensive body to avoid unnecessary redundancies.

A foundational belief amongst conservatives is the importance of small government. By cutting back on boards and commissions that could arguably be categorized as "weeds," Iowa's government can focus its resources more directly on essential elements of governance and regulation. The "pruning" of government entities, which might have enjoyed unchecked growth over the years, symbolizes a return to the principles of limited government. It seems only fitting, given the longstanding conservative tradition, that efficiency and streamlined bureaucracy become paramount in imagining a modern government.

## The Role of Populism in Today's Conservative Discourse

Another critical topic that the podcast broached was the concept of populism, particularly as it pertains to current conservative discourse. An op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal by former Vice President Mike Pence, warning Republicans against the allure of populism, served as the springboard for the discussion.

Populism, as a political ethos, is centered around catering to the interests and concerns of the common person. While tensions may exist within conservative circles about the role of populism, the bottom line is that people want to feel that their leaders are fighting for them. It's this sense of being on the side of the people that endears political figures like Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis to large swaths of the populace.

Inherent in this debate is a critique of elitism and a call for a return to what some might term "old right" conservative principles. Pence's call against populism seems to represent an attempt to steer the Republican party towards a more centrist position, a move that some might argue neglects the beliefs of a significant proportion of Americans. Indeed, many conservatives argue that "populism" or "America first" policies actually align more closely with the principles of the founding fathers than the globalist and interventionist tendencies of neoconservatism.

The conclusions drawn from these complex discussions should inspire ongoing debate within conservative circles. Effective governance and responsible representation remain the bedrock of any successful political movement. The popularity of "America first" ideologies suggests an appetite among Americans for leaders who prioritize their interests and liberties. The conservative movement and, indeed, the Republican party will need to grapple seriously with these sentiments as we move into an increasingly uncertain future.

Sep 08, 202329:54
Iowa is an Example of Federalism at Its Best

Iowa is an Example of Federalism at Its Best

# The Influence and Impact of Federalism

Federalism, since its inception in the United States Constitution, has created a system where states reserve the right to govern specific facets pertinent to their residents. Working akin to a machine with its many components, each state, with its distinct demographics and needs, plays a vital part. Admittedly, the boundaries between the responsibilities of the state and federal government may have blurred over the years. However, the key principle remains - different states may have varying preferences when it comes to policy-making.

## Iowa - A Model State

Take the state of Iowa, for instance. Boundary-pushing *conservative* policies have become the hallmark of this state, effectively proving that such an approach can foster prosperity and growth. The popularity of the state's Governor, Kim Reynolds, stems from her effective leadership, evident in the changes she has introduced.

Some might remain skeptical about *conservative victories*, but when observed in a broader perspective, these policies have brought concrete results. This is evident in Iowa's impressively low unemployment rate and burgeoning economy.

## Federalism - An Avenue for Progress

*Iowa's recent accomplishments* demonstrate the potential benefits of Federalism at their finest. The division of power provided by Federalism allows individual states, like Iowa, to craft targeted policies to govern their unique circumstances. These policies often work directly to improve the lives of the residents. This effect goes beyond just ticking a box in a checklist but resonates with the founding principle of democracy - governance to improve lives.

Chicago’s recent State Policy Network conference was an illustration of Federalism’s advantages. More than 1600 leaders from across various states convened to discuss their policies, experiences, and challenges. Iowa was recognized as a **finalist for the biggest home state win** for its impactful property tax reform package. This recognition illuminates the efficiency of states' direct control over their policies and the snowball effect it can create.

## Competition Among Red States

Federalism is not without its challenges. The polarity of political leanings in different states brings into view the other side of the coin. States like California and New York, traditionally more liberal in their policies, provide a stark contrast to states like Iowa. This contrast provides *an interesting dynamic of interstate competition in policy-making*.

Precisely because of this varied landscape, Federalism works. It becomes the crucible for policy experimentation, with successes shared and replicated across states. For instance, Iowa’s success offers other states a model for efficient governance, encouraging the possibility of an exponential upswing in national governance effectiveness.

## The Future of Federalism

As we observe the experiences of individual states such as Iowa, the importance of Federalism becomes clear. The system allows each state to adapt and evolve according to its residents' preferences, thus forging their unique paths. Therefore, as the nation moves forward, it becomes crucial to preserve this balance of power to allow states to continue delivering according to their constituents' needs.

However, it's essential to recognize that Federalism is not a race to see which state can enact the most reforms but rather a competition of ideas. It's about discovering the most effective ways to improve residents' lives. This balance, thorough assessment, and undertaking of policies will be the key to unlocking Federalism's potential fully.

Sep 05, 202319:46
Presidential Politics, Debates and Modern Challenges

Presidential Politics, Debates and Modern Challenges

# Presidential Politics, Debates and Modern Challenges

A key subject discussed on many platforms is presidential politics. With debates becoming more fiery and the field of potential candidates growing more diverse, navigating these waters can prove tricky. The nature of these debates might seem like returning to the Reagan era for some, but we are actually dealing with new issues that require a different sort of conservatism.

The growing popularity of the America First agenda has been particularly notable. It seems to resonate with grassroots movements and typical blue-collar Trump voters, indicating a change in the political discourse brought on by the modern age.

# Economics, Taxes and Policies in Focus

Switching gears, commentators have noted an increased focus on economic affairs, paving the way to critical discussions on tax reformation. Recently, Senator Dan Dawson of Iowa has made headlines with his tireless pursuit of income tax reform. This includes proposed State constitutional amendments which will not only protect taxpayers but will also lead in the right fiscal direction. Put simply, the goal is to make tax increases harder to pass while focusing on providing income tax relief. Proponents assert that this could eliminate risks of overspending.

In a state like Iowa, these new tax policies and amendments could potentially have a transformative impact on the local economy. Aimed at both reducing tax burdens and safeguarding funding for future needs, policymakers are demonstrating an understanding of their impactful role in shaping the state's fiscal future.
Aug 25, 202324:13
Back to School Special: The Start of the Political Season

Back to School Special: The Start of the Political Season

# The Iowa Poll: A Political Weather Vane

One of the most significant elements of the political landscape in Iowa is the Des Moines Register's Iowa Poll. Viewed as historically reliable and enjoying good independent ratings, it offers insightful glimpses into the likely scenario during caucuses.

*Donald Trump* leads the poll with 42% of likely caucus-goers' votes, followed by *Ron DeSantis*, who commands 19%. It is worth noting that candidate preferences remain fluid; the Iowa caucuses are too far in the future for these early polling numbers to be definitive indicators of the possible outcome. Surprising names are occasionally thrown up by the poll, like Chris Christie, who even though he is staunchly focused on New Hampshire, finds support within Iowa.

# The Perceived Electorate

Political campaigns are not the same as primaries; they're more involved, requiring potential voters to not just vote but participate actively in a party building exercise, often in cold winter evenings. The task of identifying the universe of people who would attend these campaigns falls to the Des Moines Register. However, the likelihood of attendance and the actual turnout can vastly differ. For instance, Chris Christie might show up as securing sizable support in the polls due to name familiarity. Still, actual Christie supporters at the Republican caucus might be few and far between.

# Influencing Political Tides

Irrespective of the poll numbers or caucus votes, political candidates continue to strive for visibility and connect. Many pour millions into strategic advertising in Iowa. Others, like Vivek Ramaswamy, due to constrained resources, may only get to shake hands in small communities. However, his interactions often leave a lasting, favorable impression.

Governor Kim Reynolds holds her own against the candidates, enjoying an 81% approval rating. With a seemingly fixed electorate base consisting of Republican regulars, strategies to draw in newer voters to the caucus often hinge on unconventional candidates with newer ideas. Trump and Ron Paul are excellent examples of mobilizing a hitherto unengaged electorate demographic.

Not all politicians adhere to established rules of campaigning, and the former President Donald Trump is a classic example. A political wildcard, Trump possesses the ability to amplify his presence, be it during a state fair or wielding his strength on a social media platform.

# The Upcoming Debate

An upcoming debate promises a new glimpse into the political landscape in Iowa. Expected to be absent from the event is Donald Trump. Trump's absence might be perceived as a strategic move, allowing himself to remain the focus yet steering clear of any potential political backlash. Whether this shall set a precedent for other presidential hopefuls to avoid debates in the future remains a subject for speculation.

# An Unfolding Landscape

In all, Iowa politics continue to evolve, with new candidates and strategies continually changing the political landscape. As digestible as a political podcast or intriguing as a poll projection, the eventuality can only be speculated upon. Politics in Iowa promise to keep observers on their toes, ensuring that seasons are never dull, whether it's back to school or deep into winter.

Aug 22, 202324:38
Politics, Pork Chops, and Straw Polls

Politics, Pork Chops, and Straw Polls

## *Political Chess Moves: Indictments and Elections*

The world of politics is rife with strategies that often parallel chess moves. One such strategic maneuver is the recent wave of indictments against former President Donald Trump. This move potentially poses multi-faceted implications - from stirring controversy to indirectly impacting rankings on straw polls. The intertwining dynamics of such indictments tend to impact public sentiment and could significantly sway the outcomes of subsequent polls and elections.

## *Taking on the Fair Food Adventure*

While it may seem frivolous, assessing the favorite fair food race can serve as a metaphor for the political race. It brings to light some surprising insights about the preferences of voters. So, whether it’s biting into a pork chop on a stick or taking a stand on political debate, it’s clear just how integral these aspects of American life are in shaping political opinion and expression.

## *Small-Donor Politics: A Two-Sided Coin*

When individuals make modest donations to candidates promoting perspectives aligned with their beliefs, their commitment to democratic participation shines through. Their contributions highlight an essential reality of American politics; every voice matters. Each check written out to a favorite candidate serves as a tangible declaration of support, resonating within the echo chamber of election campaign financing.

Aug 18, 202333:20
Iowa Democrats Can't Even Describe It

Iowa Democrats Can't Even Describe It

Iowa's Political Shift: A Deep Dive into Changing Political Landscapes

The Iowa State Fair sits at the center of the political universe, with Republican Presidential candidates each making their obligatory appearance. The past weekend had Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis both there at the same time.

The New York Times recently published an article drawing attention to the Democrats' predicaments in Iowa. The article, based on interviews with a number of Iowa Democrats, reveals a general sense of disillusionment within the party's ranks. Many interviewed spoke candidly about the challenges they face, from dwindling support to policy misalignment.

Over the years, political landscapes undergo seismic shifts and no place exemplifies these changes better than Iowa. The state, once a stronghold for progressive ideologies, has veered towards the right in recent times. Conservatives have replaced the previous progressive agenda, underscoring a profound shift in Iowa's political balance.

John and Chris also have a few thoughts on cost of our investment in Ukraine with a troubling lack of accountability.

Aug 15, 202325:37
State Fair Kickoff

State Fair Kickoff

In essence, the Iowa State Fair embodies the spirit and vibrancy of the state itself. Being an annual event of such magnitude and diversity, the fair reveals the depth and breadth of everything that Iowa has to offer. It conveys a sense of unity and togetherness, enabling in-state and out-of-state visitors to connect and share experiences.

The Iowa State Fair also doubles as a hub of political activity, in particular the Republican presidential caucus campaign. The event witnesses an influx of political figures, both local and national. These officials usually participate in activities like the Des Moines Register soapbox, engaging in important dialogues and discussions. In addition, the office of the Iowa Secretary of State conducts a straw poll, offering fair voters a chance to voice their opinions on current political matters.

Through its array of wholesome experiences, the Iowa State Fair acts as a cornerstone event, maintaining the balance between Iowa's rich history and its progressive future, and in doing so, continues to establish an enduring legacy.

Aug 11, 202319:46
Politics, Economics, Trade, and...Landscaping

Politics, Economics, Trade, and...Landscaping

The Hendrickson Library development took another step closer to reality - the arrival of boxes filled with an impressive 650 books! These books, forming part of the core collection, will find their home on newly sourced bookshelves. While being a significant fraction of the overall collection, a portion of it remains protected.

The Hendrickson Library will not be just about the study of conservatism; it will effectively study Hendrickson conservatism. This will not only represent the intellectual background for the future generation but also assist people who want to delve into what gave rise to the movement - they can read the original material that triggered it. The idea here is to inspire people to think about these perspectives, agree or disagree, but reflect on them.

The discussion drifted towards various presidential strategies with a foreign affairs twist. The group dissected a recent headline suggesting the United States may be aiding Ukraine because of Hunter Biden and the implications of such a proposition. Questions around legitimacy, correlations, politics-vs-media bias, ties to Biden's corruption, and the extent of intertwined policy were thrown into the mix. This sparked debate on the lack of critical questioning from mainstream media and, consequentially, the evident double standard in addressing controversies.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently released his 'Declaration of Economic Independence.' Lauded as comprehensive and extensive by the group, his plan encompasses a variety of subjects such as regulatory form, tax relief, federal spending cuts, and Federal Reserve policies. At the same time, it raises questions on strategic tax abatements for encouraging more domestic manufacturing.

Aug 08, 202329:08
Hendrickson Spotlight: Trade Policy - Part 2

Hendrickson Spotlight: Trade Policy - Part 2

Part 2 of our special episode on United States trade policy.

Aug 02, 202321:15
Hendrickson Spotlight: Trade Policy - Part 1

Hendrickson Spotlight: Trade Policy - Part 1

Part 1 of our special episode on US trade policy.

Aug 01, 202321:18
The Greatest Income Tax Cuts in U.S. History
Jul 27, 202321:52
The Impact of Bidenomics on Everyday America

The Impact of Bidenomics on Everyday America

In an unsettling revelation from a recent Axios Des Moines report, about two-thirds of Americans aged over 55 are considering delaying their retirement or are unsure when they will be able to retire. Even more concerning, 20% of Americans over this age bracket believe they will never retire. This reflects the growing financial insecurity and economic challenges American citizens face in their golden years.

The report also highlights the retirement income scenario in Iowa and how it differs from the national trend. Starting from January 1, according to the new legislation, income tax on retirement income has been scrapped in Iowa to the delight of many retirees.

Despite the economic uncertainties swirling at the national level, Iowa stands on solid financial ground. Compared to other states following the Bidenomics playbook, Iowa’s budget is robust and the state's financial condition is positive. Several factors, such as revenue optimization, budget surplus forecasts reaching approximately $2 billion, and maximized reserve accounts have shielded Iowa from the financial turbulence seen in other states.

Jul 25, 202322:18
Stadium Incentives Relegate Taxpayers
Jul 18, 202327:44
Trump's Tweets and Governor Reynolds

Trump's Tweets and Governor Reynolds

ITR Live is back with another rapid reaction episode following former President Donald Trump attacking Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds on staying neutral in the Iowa caucuses. Is there any point to this outburst from Trump, and what could he hope to gain from directing fire at our state's popular Governor? Will this ultimately blow over like so many times before?

Jul 11, 202321:06
Weekend Conversations: Foreign Investment in Iowa Agriculture

Weekend Conversations: Foreign Investment in Iowa Agriculture

This episode of the ITR Live Podcast is a stirring examination of trending issues with Chris Hagenow and John Hendrickson. Join us as we dive headfirst into John's imminent induction into the densely packed, fast-paced world of Twitter. Driven by his eagle-eyed attention for Tucker Carlson's monologues, and a small twist by Twitter's changed policy, he prepares himself for an exciting journey into this platform.

Then, we pivot attention to the giant leap in applications for Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) in Iowa. When Governor Reynolds suggested Iowa families wanted ESAs, the swell in applications can only be described as an enthusiastic endorsement of improved education opportunities.

John and Chris go in-depth over a growing concern with foreign ownership of American agricultural land. Specifically, China, through various entities and investors, owns between 200,000 to 300,000 acres of agricultural land. This issue raises questions about national security and the potential for espionage.

Jul 07, 202329:59


Get ready for a whirlwind tour of the Iowa political landscape in this episode of ITR Live. We take you behind the scenes of Studio 130, more than just a broadcasting haven, a hub of intellectually stimulating discourse on contemporary currents. Join Chris Hagenow, John Hendrickson, and Chris Ingstad as they present you with a well-rounded analysis of recent events, cut from hours' worth of diligent process. Open up a world beyond bare facts and sound bites. Having seen her rise from relative obscurity to being front-and-center as the beacon of conservative values, we couldn't resist delving into the story of Governor Kim Reynolds. We explore how she has engaged with critical issues, vouched for school choice policies, and emerged as a national figure. Her exceptional leadership, especially in successfully navigating the COVID-19 crisis, is a journey worth experiencing. Beware, this episode isn’t solely about hard-hitting politics. Join us as John Hendrickson shares his tale of a fishing escapade that lacked fish but overflowed with life lessons. Embrace the unpredictability of nature while being carried aloft in the spirit of familial bonding and holiday cheer. This story underscores the refreshing grace of staying optimistic despite frustrating circumstances.

Jul 06, 202325:46
What is Bidenomics?

What is Bidenomics?

The Biden Administration has chosen to go on offense with a messaging campaign around "Bidenomics," touting the President's record on managing the nation's economy.
What exactly is Bidenomics? Apart from driving our economy into a recession and exploding the nation debt, what will history have to say about the President's economic policies?
In Iowa, the Iowa Business Council released its Q2 Economic Outlook Survey. The leaders of Iowa's largest employers say that despite the national headwinds, they have "strong confidence" in Iowa's economy and they attribute much of that to Iowa's recent tax reforms.
Jun 30, 202331:25
Corporate Tax Credits

Corporate Tax Credits

ITR is the voice of the taxpayer at the Capitol when spending decisions are made with your tax dollars. These spending decisions are not just in appropriations for programs and services, but also in offering generous tax credits and exemptions to specific interests. ITR Live takes a fresh look at some of the lucrative tax credits offered to Iowa businesses. Are these credits really necessary? Do these credits help the average Iowa taxpayer?

ITR Live also revisits the scare tactics used by local governments any time that are faced with the prospect of having to make do with fewer of your property tax dollars than they want to confiscate. Iowa property tax payers have begun to see through the false claims of cuts to police and fire services.

Jun 27, 202322:43
Jun 23, 202323:15
Judicial Supremacy

Judicial Supremacy

John and Chris are safe and sound in ITR Live's Studio 130, thankful that they are not lost at sea trapped in a metal tube 13,000 feet below the ocean surface with only 3 days worth of oxygen. Instead, they take a trip through what happening in the news.

Former House Speaker Paul Ryan says he doesn't want to fight on social issues, but instead wants to focus on the federal debt and poverty. What does that really mean?

A huge scandal in Warren County where the Republican Board of Supervisors appointed a Republican as County Auditor, passing over the hand-picked Democrat successor. Hunter Biden gets a sweetheart plea deal, avoiding not only prison time, but also any real scrutiny over his wide-ranging malfeasance. Finally, the Iowa Supreme Court continues it's assault on independence of the Iowa legislature.

Jun 20, 202324:10
Hendrickson Spotlight: Buchanan '96

Hendrickson Spotlight: Buchanan '96

ITR Live has a new regular series: John Hendrickson's spotlight on conservative issues. In this inaugural episode, John showcases new pieces for his political memorabilia collection, including a signed copy of the platform from Pat Buchanan's 1996 Presidential campaign. Several planks made Buchanan unique in that race such as "America First" and "Economic Nationalism." Did those ideas originate with Pat Buchanan, and if not, where did they come from? Is the concept of economic nationalism something that exists outside of the political mainstream, or was it simply brushed aside by the orthodox opinions of the major parties? John has answers to all of that and more.

Jun 16, 202320:11
Cold California
Jun 14, 202328:01
Crossing the Rubicon

Crossing the Rubicon

Former President Donald Trump had been indicted on federal charges surrounding the handing of classified documents. Does this first ever action toward a former President help or hurt Trump, and what does it mean for the future of our politics in this country? The crew has strong feelings about the use of the police power of the state to selectively attack political opponents. However, if the evidence of these crimes truly merits this unprecedented action, then the Department of Justice owes it to the American people to show us why. Either way, this is a moment in our politics from which we cannot simply move on. Times have changed.

Jun 09, 202322:18
Your Task Will Not Be An Easy One...

Your Task Will Not Be An Easy One...

“Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely ... I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory! Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.” - General Dwight Eisenhower, Supreme Commander Allied Forces, June 6th, 1944

This episode of ITR Live not only remembers the greatest amphibious invasion in human history, we also check in on the Presidential race and talk about sports cards. Tim Scott, Mike Pence, Ron DeSantis and Bo Jackson are all part of this fun-filled, action-packed episode.

Jun 06, 202333:42
Representative Bill Gustoff

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?

Jun 02, 202322:28
Debt Ceiling Deal

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?

May 31, 202324:55
New Property Tax Exemptions

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:

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.

May 23, 202324:41
Whatever...Let's Go

Whatever...Let's Go

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.

May 19, 202321:06
Iowa or Florida?

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.

May 16, 202330:59
Messaging Differences

Messaging Differences

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?

May 12, 202325:19
Biden's Budget Battles

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.

May 09, 202327:48
Yeah, We've Got Travel Mugs and Everything

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.

May 04, 202328:50
Construction Update

Construction Update

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?

May 02, 202321:15
Public Budget Hearings

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.

Apr 28, 202322:33
Biden Ready to Finish the Job

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.

Apr 25, 202323:47
Sorting Through the Details

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.

Apr 20, 202325:52
Property Tax Direct Notification
Apr 18, 202320:39
Biden Tax Increases
Apr 12, 202319:42
ITR Foundation Poll

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.

Apr 10, 202320:05
Property Tax Assessments

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).

Apr 04, 202318:10
Taxes are No Fun

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?

Mar 31, 202318:47
Separation of Powers

Separation of Powers

Alan Ostergren from the Kirkwood Institute is back on the program, becoming ITR Live’s first three-time guest. Alan has in-depth analysis of the Iowa Supreme Court’s recent decision in LC Power v. State of Iowa, which could have wide-reaching implications for how the Legislature conducts business, and possibly for the separation of powers between the branches of government.
Mar 28, 202337:10
New Taxpayer Protections
Mar 24, 202333:56
The North Remembers
Mar 21, 202320:54