Reynolds sets out a bold agenda for 2022

Calls for major tax cuts, unemployment reforms and much more

On Monday, Gov. Kim Reynolds delivered a Condition of the State message to our state’s lawmakers that was anything but routine. She called upon her Republican majority in the Legislature to enact major changes in the state’s tax laws, its approach to unemployment policies and the options available to Iowans for the education of their children.

The governor wants the Legislature to begin moving Iowa from its present progressive income tax system to a flat tax (i.e., the same tax rate for all people subject to the tax). Additionally, she called for the elimination of tax on income received during Iowans’ retirement years. The governor contended that the state currently is collecting much more tax revenue than is needed to fund its obligations.

Noting the abundance of unfilled job openings in our state, Reynolds wants the state government to revise its approach to unemployment. She advocated reforms that put greater emphasis on channeling people out of work to new employment. The system she envisions would also make the period of eligibility for unemployment benefits shorter than is currently the state’s policy.

The governor acknowledged that even though Iowa has outstanding public schools there are some parents who find that option less than ideal given their values and goals for their offspring.

Reynolds noted that currently only relatively affluent families have the option of easily opting out of the public school system. She proposed that the Legislature make it possible for middle- and low-income families to receive some of the funds allocated to educate their youngsters in public schools to help finance educational alternatives.

Reynolds has led the Hawkeye State effectively both before and during the ongoing pandemic. The agenda she has set forth for 2022, however, is far more aggressive than anything she has championed previously. The major changes she is recommending will have strong opposition. Consequently, she will need to make a skillful case for these and her other proposals if she is to prevail. The Democrats will almost certainly have serious reservations about the game plan the governor envisions for our state.

The principal goals Reynolds touted in her speech are much in line with the policy agenda advocated by the most conservative leaders in the GOP. If she succeeds in turning them into laws in Iowa, she is likely to strengthen her claim to be a key leader of the conservative wing of her party nationally. She could well emerge as one of the governors given serious consideration for her party’s vice presidential nomination in 2024.

The Messenger applauds the boldness of Reynolds’ speech. We look forward to hearing much more about the rationale behind her more controversial goals. We urge area lawmakers to think carefully about these proposals. Changes this major should not be made without thorough deliberation and debate.


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