Muscatine-based “Iowans for Tax Relief” spent over two-and-a-half million dollars in its last budgeting year, about half of that coming from member contributions. Iowans for Tax Relief executive vice president Jeffrey Boeyink says the group has come a long way from its start in 1978. “More of our members are giving on a regular basis than at any time in our history and we believe our members remain the most effective citizen-activists in the state,” Boeyink says. “Through the phone calls and the e-mails and the postcards and the personal visits, our members provide the lobby muscle that legislators must respect.”
Iowans for Tax Relief has 15 full-time employees. Boeyink says the organization has “reserve” funds that generated enough income to cover half of the group’s two-point-six million dollar budget. The group’s political action committee, Taxpayers United, raised just over three-hundred thousand dollars in 2003 and 2004 to make campaign contributions to legislative candidates. That was a record for the group, too.
Boeyink says the group’s direct, face-to-face lobbying helped earlier this year to defeat a move to borrow nearly a billion dollars for the Iowa Values Fund. That’s the state’s economic development fund which hands out huge grants to businesses promising to expand or locate in Iowa. “That fund still does operate, but on a pay-as-you-go basis, not by borrowing a billion dollars that our children and grandchildren will have to repay,” Boeyink says.
As of this past Saturday, Iowans for Tax Relief had just over 51-thousand members, and Boeyink says no other state or national taxpayer rights organization comes close to the size of Iowans for Tax Relief on a per capita basis. In the last three years, Iowans for Tax Relief has signed up over six-thousand new members.
Iowans for Tax Relief was founded 27 years ago by David Stanley, a Muscatine lawyer who served in the Iowa Legislature for 17 years, starting in 1955. Boeyink made his comments this past weekend during his report at the Iowans for Tax Relief annual meeting in Des Moines.