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Posted May 23, 2014in Iowa Watchdog

Union contract will cost Iowa county’s taxpayers double original estimate

DES MOINES, Iowa — Woodbury County’s new contract with the union representing its deputy sheriffs will cost taxpayers more than twice what the county board of supervisors had previously estimated. At this week’s board of supervisors meeting, Woodbury County Auditor Pat Gill informed the board and the public that instead

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Posted May 16, 2014in Iowa Watchdog

Taken for a ride: Taxpayers send tourism officials on a bus tour and get questionable numbers in return

DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa taxpayers just spent $29,000 to send state tourism officials on a nine-day bus tour of the state, all in the name of promoting tourism. The Epic Iowa Road Trip, which concluded on Saturday, was a collaboration between Travel Iowa, the state’s tourism office, and the

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Posted May 09, 2014in Iowa Watchdog

Tax grab: Iowa county’s residents forced into funding city hall they won’t use

DES MOINES, Iowa — Taxpayers all across Scott County will help Walcott pay for a new city hall, whether they want to or not. Walcott intends to use up to $1.5 million raised through tax increment financing to build a new city hall. The final cost of the project hasn’t been

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Posted May 05, 2014in Iowa Watchdog

Downgraded Des Moines feels the cost of public pensions

Some of the damage of public pensions — what Warren Buffet once called “a gigantic financial tapeworm” — is being visited upon Des Moines. Moody’s Investors Service announced Wednesday it lowered the city’s bond rating rating from Aa1 to Aa2. One of the main reasons for the downgrade is Des Moines’ average

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Posted April 29, 2014in Iowa Watchdog

One dollar payments get Iowa millions in Medicare dollars

DES MOINES, Iowa — Talk about a massive return on investment: Iowa receives millions each year from the federal government in exchange for $1 monthly contributions for each of the state’s Medicare recipients. In 2011, Iowa contributed $497,000 and received $39 million from the federal government, a ratio of roughly

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Posted April 29, 2014in Iowa Watchdog

Casinos will pay $92 million to end dog racing mandate

DES MOINES, Iowa —Decades of state-mandated subsidies for Iowa’s two greyhound racing tracks may be about to end. In exchange for a $92 million payout to the state’s greyhound racing interests, the Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs and the Mystique in Dubuque would no longer be required to subsidize the

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Posted April 24, 2014in Iowa Watchdog

Iowa congressman urged IRS to investigate nonprofits

DES MONES, Iowa — Four days after the head of the Internal Revenue Service denied the agency was targeting conservative social welfare organizations applying for tax exempt status, Rep. Bruce Braley signed a letter urging a probe into the political activities of social welfare organizations. Braley was one of 30

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Posted April 24, 2014in Iowa Watchdog

Iowa to give Microsoft millions in exchange for 86 jobs

DES MOINES, Iowa— The Iowa Economic Development Authority has unmasked Project Alluvion, awarding $18 million in sales tax rebates for Microsoft to build a data center in West Des Moines. Project Alluvion, you might recall, is the code name the city of West Des Moines used for a mystery company

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Posted April 24, 2014in Iowa Watchdog

Zoom! Sioux City and South Dakota battle over speed cameras

DES MOINES, Iowa — Sioux City’s Interstate 29 mobile speed cameras, which pumped $4.5 million into the city’s general operating budget last year, have just become less profitable. Neighboring South Dakota will no longer provide Iowa or any other state with information that could be used “to impose or collect

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Posted April 16, 2014in Iowa Watchdog

IRS-Social Security seizure a ticking time bomb

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Washington Post declared victory Tuesday for exposing the seizure of income-tax refunds to claw back alleged Social Security overpayments. But the legal issue of garnishing money from the children of deceased parents remains legally contentious, and a senior senator is demanding answers from the agencies involved. As

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