Research Papers - Taxation

The Puzzling Decline in State Sales Tax Collection

By Michael Lipsman, December, 2017 - View or download the report

This is the first of a series of papers that will investigate fiscal problems confronting the states. In spite of low unemployment rates, many states are experiencing little or negative revenue growth. In a number of states fiscal problems are so severe that they approach conditions usually only experienced during recessions.1 This series of papers will investigate what factors may be depressing state revenue growth and how these factors and their impacts vary among the states.

Iowa State Taxes and Fee Changes 2000-2016

By Michael Lipsman, June, 2017 - View or download the report

"Over the past two years Iowa has experienced minimal growth in tax collections, while at the same time having one of the strongest economies of the past two decades. The budget enacted this past legislative session and staff cuts at state executive branch agencies over the over the past several years are comparable to what one would expect to occur during a deep recession. So what gives?..."

Putting Iowa Property Taxes in Perspective

by Michael Lipsman, March, 2013 - View or download the March presentation (33 slides)

Iowa Property Valuation and Tax Trends

By Michael Lipsman, April, 2013 - View or download the April presentation (38 slides)

These slide presentations were delivered by Mike Lipsman to the board members of the Iowa Taxpayers Association. They examine property tax and other local government finance trends for Iowa. The presentatiosn conclude withg a number of questions intended to better frame the property tax reform discussion going on in the Iowa Legislature.

Motor Fuel and Special Fuels Trends

By Michael Lipsman, July 2012 - View or download this Paper

"The primary focus of this analysis is variations in motor fuel and special fuel consumption due to national and regional macroeconomic factors. Both motor fuel and special fuel consumption are sensitive to fluctuations in economic activity. Changes in the size of the workforce, shopping habits, and recreational and vacation activities in response to economic conditions influence personal travel and as a consequence motor fuel consumption..." This paper examines the regional economic patterns.

Iowa Property Tax Facts - Growth Trends

By Michael Lipsman, June 2012 - View or download this Paper

"Total property taxes levies during FY 2012 equal $4,651.5 million. This equals a 3.44% increase from FY 2011 when the total amount of property tax levies equaled $4,487.1 million. During FY 2012 the largest share of property tax revenues was claimed by community school districts (42.65%) followed by cities (28.97%) and counties (21.63%)...";

Tax Increment Financing in Polk County

By Peter S. Fisher and Michael Lipsman, May 2012 - View or download this Paper

"As Tax Increment Financing (TIF) faces new scrutiny this year by taxpayers, local officials and statelegislators, it is important to understand how the TIF law has been used by different jurisdictions across the state. There is wide variation in TIF practice. Some cities use the program quite judiciously to aid development projects in targeted areas, and then release the incremental taxes, or most of them, to the schools, the county, and to other taxing authorities when the project has been paid off. Other cities have included most or nearly all of the city in a TIF area and continue to divert all TIF revenues long after the original project costs have been recovered..."

Iowa Property Tax: Differential Taxation of Property Classifications

By Michael Lipsman, January 2012 - View or download this Paper

"During the 2011 legislative session the Governor and leaders of both the House of Representatives and the Senate offered proposals for reducing property taxes imposed on commercial and industrial property. However, as so many times in the past none of the proposals were enacted. Although legislative staff and others completed analysis of the various proposals, many important issues were not addressed..."