CEDAR RAPIDS — Republican candidate for governor Ron Corbett called Monday on his rival, Gov. Kim Reynolds, to veto the 1 percent state funding increase for K-12 schools legislators are expected to set this week.
During a campaign event, the former Cedar Rapids mayor urged Iowans and legislators to stop “settling for less” for Iowa’s public schools.
“We’re in back-to-back years now of 1 percent funding,” Corbett said, referencing last year’s 1.1 percent increase. “So this isn’t an anomaly, it’s more of a trend. We’re actually in a rut, a 1 percent rut — a 1 percent Reynolds rut.”
In her Condition of the State address last month, Reynolds called for a 1.5 percent increase in state aid for schools for the coming academic year.
Republican majorities in the House and Senate have agreed on a 1 percent increase for fiscal 2019 — which comes to about $32 million statewide — but still disagree on providing other relief to K-12 schools.
Iowa should “settle for more,” Corbett said, holding the autobiography of former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, entitled “Settle for More.”
Corbett said he would require an increase at least in line with inflation — noting that Social Security recipients received a 2 percent increase this year, and even so seniors were left “treading water.”
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Legislators are facing a budget shortfall still this fiscal year and are weighing tens of millions of cuts to other budget areas before June 30. Funding for K-12 has been held harmless in those cuts by Reynolds and legislators.
Lawmakers fear a budget shortfall is possible again in fiscal 2019.
“I hear all these people in Des Moines talk about how tough the budget is. But remember, under the governor’s Medicaid scheme, the managed care scheme, they’re giving reimbursement rates to the out-of-state managed care providers at over 3 percent,” Corbett said at his event in Cedar Rapids. “And look what happened with Apple. They gave Apple $20 million, that’s $400,000 per job that they gave Apple, and they’re going to give schools 67 bucks a kid.”
That’s not an accurate comparison, the governor said during her weekly news conference at the Capitol.
“There has not been one dime, not one bit of cash, has gone to Apple,” Reynolds said. “It is a credit. It is not cash and nothing has transpired yet.”
Apple can’t get the tax credit until it breaks ground, buys materials and builds its data center, planned for Waukee, she said. The incentive package also includes thresholds for the number of employees and their wages before Apple is eligible for the credits.
Apple has five years to exercise the tax credits and Reynolds said it’s not unusual for companies not to claim all the credits for which they are approved.
“So not a dime has been taken away from K-12 education,” Reynolds said.
Corbett said he expects Reynolds to approve the Legislature’s expected $32 million increase for schools while referencing Iowa’s “challenging budget.”
“This is what you always hear from the establishment politicians, and that’s what Kim Reynolds is,” he said. “She’s the leader of the establishment. I’m not the establishment candidate, I’m the individual that challenges the status quo and challenges the establishment.”
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