“In her actions as governor, Reynolds is known for siding with business interests over Iowa’s people, environment and educational system.”
Yesterday, the Des Moines Register published a scathing column ripping Governor Reynolds apart for the hypocrisy of her attacks on Fred Hubbell. Columnist Rekha Basu dug in to how Reynolds has sided with business interests, not Iowa interests, throughout her administration:
“In her actions as governor, Reynolds is known for siding with business interests over Iowa’s people, environment and educational system.
Did she denounce Bill Tracy, the most recent president and CEO of Younkers’ parent company, when the company recently declared bankruptcy and set about closing all its stores? No, of course not, because that was a private business decision and Reynolds, of all politicians, is not one to dictate anything to businesses.”
“It’s blatantly obvious that Governor Reynolds’ attacks are based in nothing but cold, political calculation – not genuine concern for the people of Iowa. Iowans care about actions, not words, and Governor Reynolds has left Iowa families behind at every chance she gets,” said Iowa Democratic Party Spokesperson Tess Seger.
Full column can be found below:
DES MOINES REGISTER: Reynolds claims to care about your paycheck while rejecting minimum wage hikes
“I’m not sure which part of Gov. Kim Reynolds’ Younkers-closing related attack adon her Democratic opponent is most galling, or ironic. Is it that the people it portrays as small-town Iowans disrupted by Younkers stores closing are actually Republican operatives playing roles? Or that the ad presents them in blanket stereotypes?
Is it the distortions about what Fred Hubbell did or didn’t do as Younkers CEO, as media have already deconstructed? His campaign says when the stores were closed, Hubbell didn’t have day-to-day responsibility for them because he was president and chief executive officer of Younkers’ parent company, Equitable of Iowa Companies.
Or is it the hypocrisy? In her actions as governor, Reynolds is known for siding with business interests over Iowa’s people, environment and educational system.
Did she denounce Bill Tracy, the most recent president and CEO of Younkers’ parent company, when the company recently declared bankruptcy and set about closing all its stores? No, of course not, because that was a private business decision and Reynolds, of all politicians, is not one to dictate anything to businesses.
She won’t tell agribusinesses to stop fouling the state’s water or get out. She won’t demand health insurers cover mental illnesses and other conditions in the health plans they administer. (See Senate File 2349, which she signed into law in the last legislative session.) Quite the contrary. Instead of using use state’s leverage to stand up for the services vulnerable Iowans receive, she puts business interests, first.
Now she won’t reappoint David Hudson, a critic of the state’s Medicaid privatization process, to Iowa’s Medical Assistance Advisory Council, where he has been its co-chairman. Why? The evidence suggests (and her spokeswoman hasn’t confirmed or denied) it was because he spoke up against companies that got state contracts, for cutting crucial services to his son and other Iowans with disabilities.
“Where was the case management for Todd? Why wasn’t there a fight to the death to get Todd the services he needed so he could come home?” Hudson demanded of an Amerigroup rep last year after the death of an Orange City man. Maybe most harmful to his tenure, Hudson had called attention to the fact that the privatization plan, which was supposed to save the state $232 million, was only going to save it $47 million.
But Reynolds’ ad would have you think she’s out there standing up for the little guy and gal. Under the Branstad-Reynolds administration, the collective bargaining rights of public sector workers were slashed. Women’s health centers and residential facilities for juveniles were closed, leaving their clients in crisis. She signed into law $11 million in cuts to Regents universities last year. An $8.3 million Regents budget this year doesn’t even make up for those cuts.
Meanwhile, she cut taxes to businesses even on top of the commercial property tax breaks already costing $214 million a year. The state last year shelled out $66.1 million of taxpayer dollars in “research subsidies” to huge companies, chiefly Rockwell Collins and Deere & Co. And those research tax credits are refundable, so the companies can use them to offset their taxes even it means they pay none. So nearly $42 million of the credits were received by companies that then paid no income taxes after applying them.
So, back to that ad, which opens with “Diane” of Newton sitting on her front porch, reminiscing about Younkers having once been the heart of the town. “Until Fred Hubbell shut it down and fired everyone,” continues “Kevin” of Spencer from a coffee shop. “Small towns were a drain on Hubbell’s profits. That’s what they told us,” weighs in Trudy from Ottumwa.
The speakers go on to accuse Hubbell of closing stores in Spencer, Ottumwa and Newton because they weren’t making him enough money, and then getting a $90,000 raise. The ad closes with a black screen with the words, “Fred Hubbell. He cares about his paycheck,” as two more words pop up: “Not yours.”
Shocking? Well sadly, the not-so-shocking truth is that most corporate CEOs probably do care more about their paychecks than those of small-town Americans. It’s called capitalism. Even sadder, the Iowa state government has denied Iowans a raise by refusing to hike the minimum wage from its paltry $7.25 an hour; it has actually prohibited individual counties from raising theirs.
Yes, $90,000 is a lot of money to most Iowans, especially those earning minimum wage. And if a retail business isn’t profitable, it will likely close. Sometimes owners will beg the state for incentives to stay, which is foolish from an economic standpoint if there’s no market for them. So you wonder, would Reynolds advocate throwing good money after bad?
In fact what exactly is her point about Hubbell? The ad doesn’t accuse him of financial mismanagement, and there are differing versions of when and why he got paid the $90,000, including that it was for his work for Equitable. Does Reynolds oppose soft landings for CEOs when companies fail? If so, is she ready to join those of us who want to see the Citizens United ruling overturned, so companies don’t have the same rights as people to influence election outcomes? Don’t hold your breath.
If $90,000 is a lot, so is $42 million, which the state doles out in research credits to business entities that won’t pay taxes. And so is $185 million, the difference between what privatizing Medicaid was supposed to save the state and what it actually saved. Those are reaI numbers that affect real people. So now can we please get real in this campaign?”