Last week we shared our Story Map of Greater Des Moines with all of its maps, graphics, explanations, bells, and whistles. It turns out our friends at the Iowa Economic Development Authority have put some additional exciting resources. Along with an executive summary explaining the importance of this kind analysis to local governments they put together some instructions for doing your own tax analysis.

In their downtown training resources is an easy step by step guide for looking up and comparing the tax production of different kinds of development. Their instructions help you set up is this kind of chart which we often use. It’s also a good introduction to using your friendly local tax lookup system or online parcel map. Many, but not all, counties have such a system publicly available

The instructions are a bit Iowa-centric but by substituting your own county information they’re still valid. That said, tax systems vary from place to place so make sure you know what idiosyncrasies your state system has. They also provide a template to help you organize your data and fill in some of the calculations. 

Tax Value Database

This has given us an idea. Since these resources are now available, we’d like to find a way to connect individuals who interested in this information. Sometime soon we’re going to try and come up with a shared database where people can upload their local tax findings and look at other communities.