Despite Governor Reynolds “bold” words on sexual harassment in her State of the State address, Senate Republicans voted to force taxpayers to foot the $1.75 million bill for their sexual harassment scandal.
“From the start, Iowa Senate Republicans have proven themselves incapable of leading on sexual harassment and our Governor has done nothing to hold them accountable. Instead, like with so many other critical issues facing our state right now, all we’ve gotten from Governor Reynolds are nice words and no action,” said Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price. “Now, Iowans are literally paying the price for Republican mismanagement in the middle of a budget crisis that was caused by their messed-up priorities. It could not be more clear that our state needs change in 2018.”
Governor Reynolds ignored direct calls from the victim – still the only person to have been fired throughout this whole incident – to take action on sexual harassment. The Governor also declined to condemn or return donations from Missouri Governor Eric Greitens after allegations came to light that he engaged in sexual harassment and blackmail.
A new column from the Des Moines Register digs in on the warning signs for Governor Reynolds’ re-election campaign, highlighting critical vulnerabilities and why Iowans are looking for new leadership in 2018:
“[Reynolds and Branstad’s] tax policies drilled a hole in the bottom of the state revenue bucket, forcing painful and unpopular budget cuts at a time of overall economic growth. Medicaid is a mess. The mental health system has gaping holes in accessible services.”
Columnist Kathie Obradovich analyzes these vulnerabilities in the context of the most recent Iowa Poll, which found that the majority of Iowa voters are not ready to give Reynolds another term.
More excerpts from the column below:
“Gov. Kim Reynolds is vulnerable. That’s a remarkable campaign status for any Iowa incumbent but especially for one with more than $4 million in the bank.
Reynolds has not just one but two Democratic challengers nipping at the heels of her sensible pumps.”
“I’ve seen some Republicans on social media, trying to spin the competitive poll numbers as expected for this time of year. After all, they say, Democrats are pouring over a million bucks into TV ads and campaigning full-time while Reynolds is toiling away behind the scenes to get her agenda through the Legislature.
Phooey. In the last Iowa Poll, taken in December, roughly six in 10 Iowans didn’t know enough about Reynolds’ best-known challengers to give an opinion about them. Every one of her opponents would eat a live spider — a big, furry one — for the free media the governor can get any time she wants.
With about nine months still to go until the Nov. 6 general election and contested primaries coming up in June, the cake batter is still in the bowl. Undecided voters and those supporting other candidates total 22 percent in both of these matchups.”
In their opening proposals for the legislative session, Governor Reynolds and Iowa Republicans put education on the chopping block to preserve the huge taxpayer handouts to special interests that led to the Reynolds Budget Crisis.
“Iowa’s kids shouldn’t have to pay the tab for Governor Reynolds’ mismanagement of the budget, but that’s just what she and the Republican legislature are forcing them to do,” said Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price. “By taking a hatchet to education instead of evaluating the effectiveness of the massive taxpayer handouts she gave to her special interest allies, Kim Reynolds shows just how warped her priorities really are.”
Republicans are poised to make cuts to K-12 schools by refusing to match funding with rising operating costs. Their consistent underfunding of education resulted in the closures of 105 schools since Reynolds started in the Executive Branch and caused massive cuts in school districts across the state. Case in point: the Des Moines School District is looking at an $11 million cut if the Republican plan is approved.
Rural school districts are grappling with the added cost of transportation. Instead of restoring funding, lawmakers are instead considering making rural kids spend hours each day on the school bus to allow for more school consolidation.
Governor Reynolds heavily targeted Iowa’s higher education system in her proposed mid-year budget cuts, despite warnings that resources are already depleted.
Iowa Legislative Republicans followed Governor Reynolds’ lead and took it a step further. They proposed cutting $5.4 million from community colleges and $19.2 million from the Regents University system. Similar cuts last year resulted in burdensome tuition increases for Iowa families, and all indications are that it will happen again should the Republicans get their way.
In an interview with KMALand, Republican State Representative Cecil Dolecheck, Chairman of the House Education Budget Committee, admitted that the Reynolds Budget Crisis is the reason Republicans in the State Legislature will not provide more funding to Iowa schools this year.
From KMALand :
In an interview on KMA’s “Morning Line” program Monday morning, State Representative Cecil Dolecheck says legislators favor the lower allowable growth rate because of the need to pay off funds borrowed by the governor out of the State Emergency Fund.
“We just felt that the revenue was not there to be able to do that ,” said Dolecheck. “The governor had not paid back the money borrowed from cash reserves last year. The House had agreed to pay it all back in one year. The governor didn’t do that. So, we just didn’t feel that we could take the full one-and-a-half to do that. So, we agreed on the 1%.”
For more on the Reynolds Budget Crisis’ impact on education, visit ReynoldsBudgetCrisis.org