Democrats will get outspent in Iowa House races again. Here's why

Democrats have opportunities to make big gains in the Iowa House this year. Thirteen of the 59 Republican-held seats in the lower chamber are open. A number of Democratic challengers have done well on fundraising, in some cases even out-raising the GOP incumbents in their districts. The past year’s special elections for Iowa House seats suggest that Democratic turnout may be much higher than the level seen in Iowa’s last two midterms, thanks to extreme laws enacted by statehouse Republicans and an unpopular president in Washington.

But winning a state legislative race often requires more than a favorable political environment. Bleeding Heartland observed in February that “the latest set of campaign financial disclosures reveal little sense of urgency among Democratic incumbents who could do much more to help others win competitive districts this November.”

Unfortunately, the latest fundraising numbers tell the same old story.

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Is Iowa government decentralization a fantasy?

A provocative idea from Richard Lindgren, emeritus Professor of Business at Graceland University and a past president of the Lamoni Development Corporation in Decatur County. -promoted by desmoinesdem

I have lived in Iowa for almost 20 years of my life in total, over several tenures, and for the life of me, I still can’t understand why the voters of the state allow the degree of governmental centralization that exists in the Des Moines area while so many smaller towns in the state continue to experience demographic and economic decline.

Humor me for a bit and engage with me in a “What If?” exercise. What if all the jobs involved in running the Iowa state government were more equally distributed around the state, say on a per capita basis, or better, weighted to local economic need? In this world of high-tech communication, why does Des Moines, already awash in private and public economic development dollars, continue to hold such a disproportionate share of the jobs required to run the state government? We’ll look at the obstacles in a bit, but we first may need some “whack on the side of the head” re-imagining here.

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Thoughts from Disney World

Seven Orlando parks in eight days equals gallons of sweat, aching legs, and gigantic lines. It means grandchildren smiles and fast food overdose. Days divided into ride time waits, Fast Pass deadlines, and heat-induced observations before being dropped and twirled. These are those observations.

If a party is going to defend ripping babies from their families at the border, it can’t call itself pro-family or even pro-life.

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Summer blockbuster: The Force (for Taxing Internet Sales) Awakens

Tax and budget policy expert Randy Bauer explores the likely impact of a court ruling that will allow states to collect more sales tax from online purchases. Iowa Republicans were counting on that authority, having approved expanded sales tax collections as part of the tax bill enacted in May. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Years ago, I did a tongue-in-cheek summary of major tax issues and used variations on movie titles as lead-ins to discussions of various taxes. At that time, I lamented the various factors eroding state and local government sales tax collections (and recently reprised these concerns on Bleeding Heartland), labeling the discussion “Dearth of a Sales Tax.” With that background in mind, it’s time to cue up Star Wars theme music for this year’s summer tax blockbuster, The (Sales Tax) Force Awakens.

On June 21, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) threw sales tax dependent state and local governments something of a lifeline, as it overturned two long-standing sales tax precedents that had limited the ability of governments to compel the collection of sales taxes from sellers without a physical presence in their state.

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What happened on education during the Iowa legislature's final week

Randy Richardson has the rundown on how the Iowa legislature’s final actions of 2018 will affect public school districts and higher education. -promoted by desmoinesdem

While controversial issues like abortion and tax reform grabbed the headlines last week, a number of bills impacting education saw last-minute approval before the Iowa House and Senate adjourned for the year on May 5.

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Kim Reynolds misleads three times in one sound bite on GOP tax bill

“Republicans led on tax reform in 2018,” Governor Kim Reynolds asserted in a news release after lawmakers adjourned for the year on May 5. “As a result, hardworking, middle class Iowa families, farmers, small business owners and workers get meaningful relief, all while Iowa’s budget priorities in future years are protected.”

None of those claims withstand scrutiny.

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