On March 5, 2019, vote YES for Public Measure “A”

to fund improvements to public safety, city streets, sewers and neighborhoods in the City of Des Moines


On March 5, 2019, Des Moines voters will have the opportunity to vote on Public Measure “A”, authorizing imposition of a 1% local sales and services tax for the city of Des Moines.

How will the money from Public Measure A be spent?

Public Measure “A” will generate an estimated $37 million in annual revenue for the City of Des Moines to be distributed as follows:

50% towards property tax relief.

50% towards improving streets, sewers, neighborhoods, and public safety.

Why should I vote YES on Public Measure “A”?

Take the Burden Off Property Owners

If Public Measure “A” is passed, over one-third of the revenue generated by the sales tax will come from out-of-town visitors. This brings in the revenue the city needs that Des Moines residents would not have to pay through property tax increases.

Des Moines hosts many events that draw visitors from around the state and nation such as the State Fair, NCAA tournament, concerts, and festivals.

Des Moines also supports many great amenities used by people who live in the suburbs such as the Civic Center, and the zoo.

Des Moines property owners are saddled with the upkeep of the roads and infrastructure necessary to support the thousands of out-of-town visitors we see every year.

Fund Infrastructure Improvements

Only 22% of Des Moines streets are rated in “good condition” by national standards. The vast majority of our streets are on the verge of requiring major maintenance.

  • Fix more potholes thus reducing wear and tear on our vehicles and cutting down on accidents.

  • Accelerate projects to help reduce the impacts of flooding while keeping our neighborhoods safe.

  • Fund critical investments in public safety, updating safety equipment, funding our firefighters, and improve emergency response times throughout Des Moines.

  • Pay for these critical improvements, while taking on less debt.

Property Tax Relief

Half of the revenue will go towards property tax relief for Des Moines property owners.

This will help reduce city debt, preserve core city services, and help avoid future property tax increases.


97% of communities in in Iowa currently have a 7% sales tax, meaning Des Moines residents already pay the increased tax when they shop in other communities.

All spending will be reviewed annually and subject to a regular public audit and report on expenditures.

The sales tax is fair because everyone pays the same.

Key Endorsements

  • Mayor Frank Cownie​
  • City Councilman Joshua Mandelbaum​
  • City Councilman Chris Coleman​
  • City Councilman Joe Gatto​
  • City Councilwoman Linda Westergaard​
  • City Councilwoman Connie Boesen​
  • Former Councilman Bob Mahaffey (Chair)​
  • Former Councilwoman Christine Hensley
  • Retired Des Moines Police Officer Joe Gonzalez
  • Somerset Neighborhood Association President Mel Pins
  • Mary Chapman
  • Doug Gross
  • Emily Westergaard
  • Des Moines Art Center
  • Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation
  • Des Moines Construction Council
  • Des Moines Bicycle Collective
  • Friends of Des Moines Parks
  • Des Moines Police Officers Association​
  • Des Moines Professional Firefighters Association​
  • Polk County Housing Trust Fund​
  • AMOS (A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy)​
  • Central Iowa Taxpayers Association​
  • AARP Iowa​
  • Greater Des Moines Partnership​
  • American Heart Association​
  • Ironworkers Local 67​
  • Carpenters Local 106​
  • HOME Inc.​
  • Greater Des Moines Botanical Gardens​
  • Hoyt Sherman Place Foundation Board​
  • Food Bank of Iowa​
  • Des Moines Public Schools Board of Directors​
  • Des Moines Branch NAACP​
  • BRAVO of Greater Des Moines​
  • Des Moines Register
  • Beaverdale Neighborhood Association​
  • Northeast Neighbors and Friends​
  • River Bend Neighborhood Association​
  • Somerset Neighborhood Association​
  • Southwestern Hills Neighborhood Association​
  • Waveland Woods Neighborhood Association


Food for home consumption
Medical devices
Vehicle Purchases
Natural Gas and Electric Utility Bills
Professional services such as medical or legal services
Hotel/motel rentals

Official Ballot Language 

Summary: To authorize imposition of a local sales and services tax on the city of Des Moines at the rate of one percent (1%) to be effective July 1, 2019.

Revenues from the sales and services tax shall be allocated as follows:

Fifty percent (50%) for property tax relief.

The specific purposes for which the revenue shall otherwise be expended is:

  1. Fifty percent (50%) of such revenues for lawful purposes of the City including, but not limited to, repairing streets, flood prevention, public safety, and improving neighborhoods throughout the City of Des Moines. All expenditures will be subject to regular audit, public comment, and review.