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Reynolds offers a challenging game plan

Governor’s proposed agenda for Hawkeye State makes sense

Gov. Kim Reynolds delivered her Condition of the State Address on Tuesday. She asked lawmakers to join with her in making our state fully ready to seize the opportunities open to it in the years ahead.

The governor emphasized that the Hawkeye State is well-positioned to approach the future with confidence because it has made great strides in the last decade.

“When this body met in January 2010, our unemployment rate was 7.3 percent. Just months earlier, our state faced a near billion-dollar deficit. School funding was drastically cut and Iowans were worried about their future,” Reynolds said. “A decade later, the condition of our state is truly strong. Because of the vision and tenacity of Iowans, our unemployment rate has gone from a near-record high to a record low. Instead of cutting school budgets, we’re cutting taxes. Our cash reserves are full, wages are going up, and Iowans once again believe we’re headed in the right direction.”

The stage has been set for Iowa to make great additional progress. With that in mind, the governor asked legislators to approve the Invest in Iowa Act, which she will soon send to them. This visionary measure has four main components. According to Reynolds it will:

• significantly cut income taxes,

• create a sustainable funding source for our mental health system,

• reduce the burden of property taxpayers, and

• fund the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust.

Her goal in calling for approval of this game plan is straightforward.

“We need to seize the opportunities that exist so that years from now, the next generation of Iowans will inherit an Iowa whose greatness comes as no surprise to anyone,” Reynolds said. “But that kind of planning also takes a bold vision. … It’s an investment in our future. And it’s an investment in those who are our future.”

Reynolds outlined a variety of changes that will strengthen Iowa’s ability to remain a highly successful state. She called for further improving the mental health system. The governor said telemedicine options need to be more available across the state. She advocated action to modernize the state’s professional licensing system. Reynolds recommended additional state funding for education and advocated continued progress in making schools compatible with our digital world. She urged the Legislature to take a hard look at making childcare more affordable for more Iowans. The governor called on the Iowa Senate to pass a constitutional amendment restoring the voting rights of felons who have completed their time in prison. (The Iowa House has already taken this action.) Reynolds urged support for changes that will help expand the use of renewable fuels. And all that is was just part of her bold message.

The governor took time at the beginning of her address to acknowledge the passing in 2019 of a number of Iowans who have made significant contributions to our state. She paid special tribute to Fort Dodger Mark Cady who was chief justice of the Iowa Supreme Court.

“He loved his state,” Reynolds said. “And he loved the law. To his family and colleagues in the Iowa Judicial Branch, our entire state shares your loss.”

In concluding her message, Reynolds summarized powerfully the positive can-do theme that has been the hallmark of her tenure as governor.

“So as we move into the next decade, let’s put Iowans first,” she said. “Let’s be bold and visionary. Let’s seize this opportunity and make the next decade Iowa’s best. It’s time to show the world that opportunity lives here.”

The Messenger commends Reynolds for the sensible agenda she has proposed. She once again demonstrated that the faith Iowans have placed in her is well-founded. The Legislature should give her recommendations careful and respectful consideration.

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