Public Interest Institute
The Public Interest Institute "[i]s a non-profit, nonpartisan, public policy research organization located on the campus of Iowa Wesleyan College in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. The Institute promotes the importance of a free-enterprise economic system and limited government in society based upon individual freedom and liberty." The Institute was founded in 1991. It is "Iowa's only state-level, independent, research organization" and has four principal goals:
- Become an information and analysis resource for all Iowans.
- Provide local, state, and national policy-makers with a rigorous, objective, and understandable analysis of specific policy initiatives.
- Identify practical alternatives for action on critical state and local issues.
- Provide a forum for policy-makers and individuals to share ideas and concerns.
Iowa Transparency is a project of PII that aims to increase transparency of Iowa's state government. It features Iowa Vote Tally, which allows citizens to see how their legislators vote, and Iowa Bill Tally, which displays legislators' spending.
PII runs Iowa Votes, a website that "provides concise, nonpartisan, plain-English descriptions of every bill and vote in the Iowa House and Senate."
Since 1996, PII has been distributing copies of The Iowa Civics Project, a "curriculum on Iowa state and local government, to government teachers across the state. The chapters explore the historical development of government in Iowa; the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of state government; authorities, boards, commissions, councils, and districts; local governments; education; political parties; interest groups; the mass media; voting and elections; and the rights and responsibilities of citizens." It is provided free to any government teacher or school as a supplement.
PII regularly releases policy studies on a broad range of issues. Publications dating back to 1999 are available on the organization's website. Recent publications include:
- A Republic if You Can Keep It: Failing to Teach First Principles April 2009
- Iowa's State Budget Crisis: Spending Our Way to a Crisis Again March 2009
"Collected Wisdom" is a database of articles dealing with issues from a free-market perspective. A great number of topics are featured, including education, environment, property, social security, and taxes.
"Iowa Economic Scorecard"
The Iowa Economic Scorecard "provides an analysis of and statistics on Iowa's economy." The Institute publishes it January, April, July, and October.