Author Archives: Gretchen Tegeler

Asking the right questions

Suppose you set up an automatic withdrawal from your checking account to fulfill a five-year pledge you made to a capital campaign for your church; or to construct the Botanical Center’s outdoor gardens; or to build the University of Iowa’s … Continue reading

Boom times for city budgets

Property taxes were due on March 31, so for many people, property taxes may be top of mind right now. It’s always a good idea to turn the bill over and look at which local governments receive what share of … Continue reading

Can taxpayers ever get a break?

As the public pension crisis unfolded, the entity that sets accounting standards for governments decided that more disclosure of unfunded pension liabilities was needed. These are huge numbers (almost $6 billion in in Iowa), and, for the most part, have … Continue reading

Many Iowa public employees are better off in retirement than working

Iowa is a great place to retire. After an eight-year phase-out period, Iowa retirees now pay no state income tax on their Social Security income. Retirees also continue to receive a large exclusion of pension income that was first made … Continue reading

DART: A property tax funded amenity

Last year we looked at DART’s financials, and wondered aloud whether it would be sensible to think about the sustainability of the current funding model before committing to a major new project as represented by bus rapid transit (BRT). (See … Continue reading

Making U.S. Pensions Honest About Returns Means Bigger Deficits

How much indebtedness does Iowa really have?

The Governmental Standards Accounting Board (GASB) is a national organization that sets generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) for state and local governments.  Among the reasons such standards are useful is for comparability (everyone’s financials can be compared) and transparency (we … Continue reading