Estimating the Economic Boost of Marriage Equality in Iowa: Sales Tax
By Angeliki Kastanis, M.V. Lee Badgett, Jody L. Herman
This report estimates that the total spending on wedding arrangements and tourism by same-sex couples and their guests added a $12 to $13 million boost to the state and local economy of Iowa. This economic boost is likely to have added $850,000 to $930,000 in tax revenue to state and local coffers. According to data provided by the State of Iowa, 866 in-state same-sex couples chose to marry in the year following the April 2009 decision to allow same-sex couples the opportunity to wed. In the same year, an additional 1,233 out-of-state same-sex couples traveled to Iowa to receive a marriage license. Out-of-state same-sex couples alone are estimated to have spent $2.2 million on wedding arrangements in Iowa, translating to about $150,000 in additional tax revenue. It is possible that out-of-state same-sex couples spent up to an additional $1.6 million on tourism during their brief stay in Iowa. Iowa marriage data include an additional 1,015 couples (71% residents) who did not state their gender, thus we are unable to distinguish if these couples were same-sex or different-sex. If all 1,015 additional couples were indeed same-sex couples, an additional $7.4 million could have been added to the state and local economy, adding about $530,000 in additional tax revenue to our estimates.