116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
We appreciate state Sens. Pam Jochum and Joe Bolkcom citing Truth in Accounting’s financial analysis of Iowa’s state government in their recent op-ed (“Federal bucks boost Iowa’s budget,” Nov. 2). But their op-ed overstates our appraisal of the contribution of federal funding to Iowa’s government finances. We noted that Iowa was financially sound before the pandemic. In fact, we also had Iowa ranked 10th in the 50 states in our analysis last year, before the pandemic arrived.
Iowa has had a relatively stellar record of keeping accrual expenses in line with or below revenue, in contrast to many states in the nation (including our own, Illinois). This fiscal discipline swamps federal government grants in explaining the good example Iowa’s government sets for many states.
It also bears underlining that our assessment is of Iowa’s government financial condition, not the strength of Iowa’s economy, as implied by Sens. Jochum and Bolkcom. A state’s economy and its government are two very different things. Many participants in Iowa’s economy pay taxes to a local, state and federal government — and federal government grants for state government programs have mixed if not ominous implications for Iowa taxpayers.
Bill Bergman, director of research, Truth in Accounting