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The Iowa Department of Revenue provided an analysis of the cost of government services in Iowa on Wednesday. And the results are staggering.

According to the report, the overall cost of government in Iowa is a whopping $38.25 billion. The Iowa funds estimate for that is $30.20 billion while the federal funds estimate is $8.05 billion.

The cost estimates provided in the report are preliminary and not intended to be conclusive. The report is meant to provide a framework for discourse and informed decision making.

Some highlights:

*Estimated benefited fire districts cost: $2.02 million

*Estimated city assessors cost: $7.61 million. There are eight city assessor offices in Iowa. City assessors provide the same services to those eight cities that county assessors provide throughout the rest of the state. Any city with a population of more than 10,000 people may elect to have its own assessor. The largest estimated expense for city assessors is benefits (22 percent) and salaries (55.1 percent).

*Estimated sanitary sewer districts cost: $13.03 million

*Estimated regional transit district cost: $32.63 million

*Estimated county ag extensions cost: $35.35 million

*Estimated townships cost: $38.06 million

*Estimated county assessors cost: $50.33 million

*Estimated cities cost: $7.63 billion. There are 923 cities serving an estimated 2.33 million residents. More than half of Iowa’s cities have a population of 500 or fewer. Of note, almost 13.5 percent of all expenditures includes debt service payments and 14.5 percent of costs are committed to capital improvement projects. TIF capital improvements and internal Tax Increment Financing (TIF) loans, repayments and transfers in an average year encompass 18.4 percent of all cost activity. Cities greatest costs are public safety (10.8 percent), public works (6.2 percent) and general government administration (4.1 percent).

*Estimated school districts cost: $8.51 billion. Largest expense for districts is instruction of students (50.5 percent), which translates into salary and benefit expenses for teachers and staff.

*Estimated county hospital cost: $2.58 billion for the 42 county hospitals in Iowa.

*Estimated counties cost: $2.33 billion. Roads and transportation are the greatest cost (24.3 percent). Public safety and legal services are right behind at 23.8 percent.

*Estimated community colleges cost: $926.05 million.

*Estimated regents institutions cost: $6.14 billion.

*Estimated state of Iowa costs: $16.01 billion.

For Iowa’s population, which is estimated at 3.3 million, the overall cost of government comes with a tab of more than $11,500 for each man, woman and child in the state.

A couple with no kids: $23,000 (give or take).

A family of four: $46,000 (give or take).

A family of six: Around $70,000 (give or take).

Jacob Hall

Author: Jacob Hall