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Posts Tagged ‘Peter Fisher’

IPP And Senator Dvorsky On The Budget Shortfall

Last Monday Mike Owen the Executive Director of the Iowa Policy Project and Research Director Peter Fisher gave a presentation at the Moral Monday meeting March 13th.

This video is about 40 minutes long. It is all very self-explanatory except for the reference to “REC” in the beginning. REC in this instance means “Revenue Estimating Commission” I believe. This is the second estimation that predicted a major shortfall in revenue. You may recall the first one resulted in across the board cuts.

IPP and its partner have been discussing this possibility for years.

When the news out of Des Moines doesn’t seem to add up despite the assertions of Republican politicians, the Iowa Policy Project is the place to turn to for analysis that breaks through the crap and tells the truth.

Times should be far from disastrous right now. As Barack Obama left office he left behind a robust economy. When states like Iowa and Kansas are having fiscal problems in good general economies most likely the wounds are self inflicted.

Senator Dvorsky

In his weekly newsletter Senator Bob Dvorsky had this observation on the budget shortfall:


Iowa has a revenue problem that must be addressed. The latest evidence came this week when Iowa’s Revenue Estimating Conference, a panel of nonpartisan budget experts, met to assess state revenues and expenses. They reported that Iowa has a shortfall of $131 million this fiscal year, which ends June 30; and less growth than expected for the fiscal year that starts on July 1.

This announcement comes on the heels of prior midyear budget cuts totaling nearly $118 million. To address the last shortfall, legislative Republicans pushed through a massive de-appropriation that hurt our regent’s institutions and community colleges by stripping them of $20 million. That cut also took millions out of the Department of Corrections, the Department of Public Safety and the Judicial Branch, which has a direct impact on safety for all Iowans. Fortunately, the decision has been made to use the “rainy day fund” for the current shortfall — a reserve that the state has for situations just like this budget shortfall and the last one.

With budget shortfalls like these, it is time we work in a bipartisan fashion to realign our budget with what is good for Iowa. In 2018 alone, the State of Iowa is projected to give out almost $70 million to major corporations via one tax credit, the Research Activities Credit or RAC. That is money that could be used to benefit all Iowans, not just large corporations. Senate Democrats stand ready to work with legislative Republicans and the Branstad-Reynolds Administration to restore fiscal stability to our state budget by investing in local schools and job-creation initiatives, and re-examining out-of-control spending on tax credits.

We must make commonsense decisions that balance the state budget and grow Iowa’s economy.

Business Climateers

Iowa Policy Project

Iowa Policy Project

Iowa’s Policy Project’s Peter Fisher is one of the best around these woods for ferreting out the utter BS that is being peddled by the business lobby to make themselves seem like a picked on group. To me, Peter is Iowa’s version of David Kay Johnston. Johnston as many of you know has exposed the grip that business has on America’s legislators.

Mike Owen, Iowa Policy Project Director, sent out a little teaser on Fisher’s work. As Owen notes in his blog:

“Iowa’s business lobby appears to be preparing a new assault on the ability of our state to provide public services.

It would be the latest in a long campaign, in which lobbyists target one tax at a time under a general — and inaccurate — message about taxes that we will not repeat here.

Suffice to say, Iowa taxes on business are low already. Many breaks provided to businesses are rarely reviewed in any meaningful way to make sure that taxpayers are getting value for those dollars spent, ostensibly, to encourage economic growth. Rarely can success be demonstrated.

The Iowa Taxpayers Association is holding a “policy summit” this week and promoting a new report by the Tax Foundation to recycle old arguments that are no better now than they have been for the last decade.

Fortunately in Iowa, we know where to turn to understand claims from the Tax Foundation, and that resource is Peter Fisher, our research director at the Iowa Policy Project. Fisher has written two books on the so-called “business climate” rankings by the Tax Foundation and others, and is a widely acknowledged authority on the faults in various measures of supposed “business climates” in the states.”

Owen then links to a summary of one of Dr. Fisher’s works where we find this gem:

Washington, D.C. (Nov. 28, 2012) — A new study finds that state tax and regulatory policies recommended by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) fail to promote stronger job creation or income growth, and actually predict a worse performance.

Since ALEC first published its annual Rich States, Poor States study with its Economic Outlook Ranking in 2007, states that were rated better have actually done worse economically.

Those are the key findings of “Selling Snake Oil to the States,” a study published today by Good Jobs First and the Iowa Policy Project and freely available online at It was released at a press conference the same week ALEC holds its annual fall meeting in Washington, D.C.

“We tested ALEC’s claims against actual economic results,” said Dr. Peter Fisher, research director of the Iowa Policy Project and primary author of the study. “We conclude that eliminating progressive taxes, suppressing wages, and cutting public services are actually a recipe for economic inequality, declining incomes, and undermining public infrastructure and education that really matter for long-term economic growth.”

The Iowa Policy Project should be mandatory reading for legislators who have the good of all Iowans in mind.