Breakdown of Governor Reynolds' key points during Condition of the State
DES MOINES, Iowa (CBS2/FOX28) —
Tuesday, Governor Kim Reynolds delivered her first Condition of the State Address at the Iowa Statehouse. Titled “Unleashing Opportunity,” Governor Reynolds hit on some key points highlighting her agenda for the 2018 legislative session. Here is a breakdown of the major points made.
Governor Reynolds cited federal tax reform as her chief reasoning behind making state-level tax reform a priority. The federal changes mean Iowans could see a tax increase if action isn’t taken. Reynolds said that’s because Iowa is one of three states that allow taxpayers to deduct their federal taxes. Her key points are focused on reducing rates. The Governor says her tax cuts will provide “real tax relief for middle class families, farmers, and small businesses.” Details of the Governor’s plan were not made available.
Corporate Taxes/Tax Breaks
Governor Reynolds called Iowa’s corporate tax rates “uncompetitive.” But this is where she draws the line with her plans to balance the state’s budget. The Governor says ongoing shortfalls in Iowa’s finances forced her to put off tax reform in this sector until next year. Democrats and some Republicans have called for an end to massive corporate tax breaks that produce a small amount of jobs in Iowa. Some have pointed to a massive tax credit for Apple to build a facility in Iowa. Governor Reynolds did not promise action on this issue, but did announce plans for a bipartisan task force to analyze all tax credits and make recommendations for lawmakers to act on in 2019.
Governor Reynolds again called on Congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Also known as Obamacare, the Trump Administration is in the process of stripping key provisions from the federal law. Last year, the individual mandate was repealed, ending potential fines for Americans who don’t sign up for health insurance.
In recent days, and again Tuesday, Governor Reynolds admitted that the switch to privately-operated Medicaid did not go smoothly. “I still believe managed care is the right decision for Iowa, but it has become very clear that mistakes were made in how it was done.” Said Reynolds. Since taking office, Reynolds say the leadership team she’s hired has already taken steps to make the program operate better for everyone involved. She vowed to “make this right,” but did not provide any suggestions on how to modify the system. That’s something Republican leaders have vowed to do before the end of this year’s session.
Governor Reynolds highlighted way in which her administration has tried to focus more funding and resources into mental health care. State leaders have come under intense scrutiny after some centers were closed in recent years. The Governor admitted that the state needs to modernize the entire mental health system in Iowa and that it would not be accomplished this year alone. She called for the creation of residential access centers to treat people close to home rather than requiring costly hospitalization.
Governor Reynolds offered a number of suggestions to tackle this growing problem in Iowa and the rest of the country. She called for increased use of the Prescription Monitoring Program, expanding medicated assisted treatment and enhanced intervention tactics with addicts.
Spending on all levels of education was a very contentious topic during last year’s legislative session. Many K-12 educators said they did not get adequate funding to keep up with needs. And cuts to higher learning left state universities and community college to make changes to make up for the millions lost. This year, Governor Reynolds called education a priority in Iowa in need of “real money.” The Governor is proposing a $54 million dollar boost in education funding. Her speech did not outline how that money would be spread over various education levels, those details should come when her full budget proposal is released later on Tuesday.