A liberal research group is criticizing state officials for the way they handled the recent recession. An “Iowa Fiscal Partnership” study — a joint effort by the Child and Family Policy Center and the Iowa Policy Project — evaluated how the 50 states handled finances over the past few years, and found Iowa cut spending and taxes more than others. Charles Bruner, executive director of the Child and Family Policy Center, says only Michigan and South Carolina cut budgets more than Iowa did between 2001 and 2004. Bruner says Iowa was “clearly out of the mainstream in how states responded to the fiscal crisis.” Bruner says during that three year period, most states raised taxes, by an average of four-point-three percent. Bruner says many states raised their cigarettes taxes, but sales taxes, income taxes and corporate income taxes were hiked in other states, too. By comparison, Iowa taxes were cut by just over two percent. Bruner says Iowa should have done the opposite so spending to help needy families during the recession.Bruner says it’s not that you want to either cut services or raise taxes, but he says it’s better to raise taxes during a recession. Bruner says polls last spring showed Iowans would have supported an increase in the cigarette tax. But statehouse republicans say they did the right thing by tightening the belt and not raising taxes.
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