“The problem is not that people are taxed too little, the problem is that government spends too much.”–Ronald Reagan
A great resource for citizens in Iowa is the newly released “2014 Iowa Fact Book”. This two hundred and sixty page resource is produced by the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency each year with updated maps, graphs and historical trends of many factors that impact the life of every Iowan. This is not a dry, boring document. In contrast, for those who are interested in what is happening around them in every-day life, this e-book reveals much. I found the information below in the Iowa fact book. I invite you to access this information yourself. Just type the title into any internet search engine and you should be led to the link in the Iowa Legislature website.
How much does the State of Iowa spend in a year? The simple answer is $20.4 billion annually. Iowa has a population of approximately 3.1 million people, which gives us a per capita spending rate of over $6,600 per man, woman, and child counted in Iowa.
The two largest components of this $20.4 billion State expenditure come from the State General Fund appropriations we make each year and appropriations to the State from the federal government.
As I have reported many times, the General Fund of Iowa now accounts for $7 billion (page 23 of the Fact Book). That is a hard number to swallow, because it was closer to $5.5 billion when I began serving in the House of Representatives. I’ve voted no on some of our largest appropriations bills, and learned that compromise with Senate Democrats in a split legislature is very expensive.
One of the largest surprises early in my time working in Des Moines is that the federal government sends almost $7 billion (page 55) to Iowa to fund federally funded but state administered programs. The largest allocations of federal funds are in the areas of Human Services (60%) and Education (15%).
In addition to the $20.4 billion spent each year by the State, local governments in Iowa collectively spend billions of dollars each year providing services for its residents. The largest source of revenue for local governments comes in the way of property taxes levied.
Very close to $5 billion (page 81) of property taxes are collected and spent each year. These collections are divided mostly among schools (41%), cities (29%), and counties (22%). Other tax collectors put together collect the remaining 7% of property tax revenue.
The intent of the Fact Book is to get the best up-to-date information in the easiest to use format into the hands of the tax payer and citizen. This is to help you make decisions as to which direction you want your state to move.