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Des Moines Tops List Of The Best Places For Business And Careers

Des Moines

From Forbes

By Kurt Badenhausen

Last week’s jobs report for July showed unemployment dropping from 7.6% to 7.4%, which marks the lowest rate since December 2008. Good times, right? Not exactly. The rate fell in part because more and more Americans have ceased looking for work. Wage growth has been anemic and the recovery from the recession has been the slowest since World War II. The U.S. economy is sputtering along at 2% growth.

But there are places with strong business climates, fueled by low costs and educated labor forces. With that in mind, Forbes crunched the numbers for our 15th annual list of the Best Places For Business And Careers.

Click here to read why Des Moines is #1…


State Auditor Mosiman Praises House Republican Budgeting Principles

M Mosiman

State Auditor Mary Mosiman, in fulfilling her duty as the “Taxpayers’ Watchdog” to report directly to the people of Iowa on the condition of the State’s finances, has completed her review of the Final Action Fiscal Year 2014 budget. Mosiman said, “The first rule of fiscal sustainability is to not spend more than you take in, and this budget delivers in that regard. This budget is significant because it virtually erases the spending gap that has existed for years in our State’s budgets.”

Final Action Budget Continues to Reduce Reliance on One-Time Monies

Auditor Mosiman said, “The poor budgeting practice of shifting ongoing General Fund costs to onetime or limited-time monies has been severely curtailed. The Fiscal Year 2014 adopted budget reduces the reliance on one-time monies to just $36 million – a huge improvement over past years.”

Improved Revenues and Fiscal Discipline Nearly Eliminate Spending Gap

The Final Action Fiscal Year 2014 budget reduces the spending gap from $764 million in Fiscal Year 2011 to under $17 million in Fiscal Year 2014. Auditor Mosiman said two factors led to the dramatic, three-year reduction in the spending gap—8.8% average annual revenue growth with modest, 2.9% average annual spending growth. Mosiman said, “The Final Action budget reflects a continued focus on long-term sustainability of services instead of only thinking about the next year. For the first time in years, Iowans have a budget that does not spend more than it takes in on an ongoing basis.”


Top 7 Legislative Wins for Business in 2013 Session

From the Des Moines Business Record

By Kent Darr

Property Tax Reform

Provides a 10 percent rollback over two years on commercial and industrial property taxes; 100 percent backfill to local governments for loss of revenue on the rollback; creates a property tax credit that will reach $125 million by fiscal 2015 for commercial and industrial properties; limits assessment growth to 3 percent on agriculture and residential properties; and extends the Property Assessment Appeals Board.

Education Reform

Increases funding to schools by 4 percent for fiscal years 2014 and 2015; increases beginning teacher pay to $33,500; creates teacher career pathways that include leadership positions providing high-performing teachers with additional responsibilities that include mentoring and professional development for other teachers; creates a Teach Iowa Initiative designed to recruit high-quality individuals to the teaching profession; requires a new student assessment to be in place by 2016 to measure student performance and outcomes; and creates a council to develop a new teacher and administrator evaluation system based on classroom results.

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Fastest-Growing Cities are in Right To Work States

From the National Institute for Labor Relations Research

The city of Cedar Park in Texas was the fastest growing city in terms of percentage growth from 2010 to 2012 when it increased 12 percent to 57,957 people, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics.

Eight of the top 15 fastest growing cities were in Texas, a right-to-work state. The state was a big reason why 77 of the top 100 fastest-growing cities were in right-to-work states.

Eighteen right-to-work states had cities crack the top 100.

“Much of the growth in the country is happening in right-to-work states,” said James Hohman, a fiscal policy analyst at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

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Right To Work States 9 of Top 10 Pro-Business States


Photo courtesy of the National Right to Work Committee

From the National Right to Work Committee

Nine of the top ten states for business and jobs in America are all Right to Work states, according to Pollina’s annual study of business environments:

Click here to read Pollina’s report…


62% Think Government Should Cut Spending to Help Economy

Most voters still see less government spending as good for the economy.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 62% of Likely U.S. Voters now think the government should cut spending in reaction to the nation’s economic problems. But that’s down from 65% last month and the lowest level of support for reduced spending since last August. Still, voters aren’t enthusiastic about more government spending: Just 23% think the government should spend more in response to the struggling economy. That’s consistent with regular surveys for more than a year now. Fifteen percent (15%) are not sure which is a better option.

To see survey question wording, click here.


Iowa Lands 14 Schools on Forbes’ List of Top Colleges

This week Forbes magazine, partnered with the Washington, D.C.-based Center for College Affordability and Productivity, released their list of the 650 best colleges and universities in America.  Among the list were Iowa’s three public universities as well as a slew of private schools from across the state.

graduateForbes methodology consisted of five categories:

  • Student Satisfaction
  • Post-Graduate Success
  • Student Debt
  • Graduation Rate
  • Nationally Competitive Awards

The 14 Iowa schools were:
64. Grinnell College (Grinnell)
162. Drake University (Des Moines)
183. University of Iowa (Iowa City)
232. Iowa State University (Ames)
287. Coe College (Cedar Rapids)
288. Cornell College (Mt. Vernon)
295. Luther College (Decorah)
417. Northwestern College (Orange City)
419. Clarke University (Dubuque)
455. Central College (Pella)
465. Dordt College (Sioux Center)
473. Simpson College (Indianola)
519. University of Northern Iowa (Cedar Falls)
545. Wartburg College (Waverly)

To see Forbes’ full list, click here.

To read their full methodology, click here.


U.S. Tax System Ranks 94th in the World

tax burden

From the Tax Foundation

By Andrew Lundeen

The U.S. tax system ranks 94th out of 100 countries considered in a recently released study of international “tax attractiveness.”

“A large body of empirical literature confirms that taxation has an influence on the location, investment, and financing decisions of multinational enterprises,” the report by two German economists says.

To come to this conclusion, the analysis considered such factors as statutory tax rates, capital gains and dividend treatment, personal income tax rates, and more.

The report predominately focuses on business and capital – because businesses and capital have an easier time than individuals when it comes to relocating – but the operation of the U.S. tax codein a shrinking world has an increasing impact on individuals as well.

As with corporations, the United States tax code taxes the income of individuals, no matter where in the world they earn it. The only two other counties in the world that tax individuals this way are North Korea and Eritrea. Let me repeat that: North Korea and Eritrea.

In an increasingly globalized world, the attractiveness of a countries tax climate continues to become more important, as people, companies, and money find it easier to locate in the most attractive places.

Unfortunately, this study only adds to the increasing pile of evidence that suggests the U.S. is not one of those places.


Americans Say Economy Is Top Worry for Nation’s Future

From Gallup

By Alyssa Brown

Federal debt ranks as second-most common worry

Economic issues dominate Americans’ concerns about the nation’s future. Americans say the economy (17%) is their greatest worry or concern for the future of the United States, followed by the federal debt (11%). Five percent or more also mention jobs and international wars and conflicts.

Americans' Top Worry for the Future

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Tax Reform in North Carolina: Simple, Neutral, Pro-Growth

From the Tax Foundation

The following is a report by economist Scott Drenkard, of the Tax Foundation, presented to the North Carolina Senate Finance Committee that is considering a major tax code overhaul.

Hearing of the Finance Committee of the North Carolina Senate
June 11, 2013

Chairman Rabon and Chairman Rucho, Members of the Committee:

My name is Scott Drenkard, and I’m an economist at the Tax Foundation. For those unfamiliar with the Tax Foundation, we are a non-partisan, non-profit organization that has monitored fiscal policy at all levels of government since 1937. We have produced the Facts & Figures handbook since 1941, we calculate Tax Freedom Day each year, and have a wealth of data, rankings, and other information at our website,

I’m pleased to have the opportunity to speak today with regard to the Senate Finance Committee Substitute to H.B. 998, a comprehensive bill to restructure North Carolina’s tax code. While we take no position on the bill, I hope to give some perspective based on our research.

In January of this year, my colleague Joe Henchman and I released a book titled North Carolina Tax Reform Options: A Guide to Fair, Simple, Pro-Growth Reform. In it, we detail reform recommendations in line with the principles of sound tax policy: simplicity, neutrality, transparency and stability.

The focus of my testimony today is that tax structures matter just as much as tax collections. In other words, how North Carolina collects taxes can have fundamental impacts on economic growth and deadweight loss. With careful consideration, the Tar Heel state can collect the revenue it needs for necessary government services without stalling the engine of economic growth.

Read Drenkard’s report here…