Cedar Rapids Superintendent Brad Buck and two members of the Cedar Rapids school board - which is poised to decide whether to close eight and rebuild 10 of the district's elementary schools - will take questions in an open forum Wednesday.

Reynolds wants federal tax reform to get to Iowans (and is not absorbed by state taxes)

Governor also looking at education funding fixes

Kevin E. Schmidt/Quad-City Times

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds shakes hands with Dan Smicker of DeWitt before speaking to about 100 people Friday at Flapjacks Family Restaurant in Maquoketa. The event in the Eastern Iowa city was part of the governor’s “Unleashing Opportunity” tour that followed her Condition of the State address on Tuesday. Reynolds canceled a planned stop in Cedar Rapids on Thursday because of the weather.
Kevin E. Schmidt/Quad-City Times Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds shakes hands with Dan Smicker of DeWitt before speaking to about 100 people Friday at Flapjacks Family Restaurant in Maquoketa. The event in the Eastern Iowa city was part of the governor’s “Unleashing Opportunity” tour that followed her Condition of the State address on Tuesday. Reynolds canceled a planned stop in Cedar Rapids on Thursday because of the weather.

DAVENPORT — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said she wants to make sure the savings Iowans see in their federal income tax are not absorbed by state income taxes.

“We need to be sure and act so that we can make sure that the tax savings they’re trying to pass on from the federal government we get to pass on to you at the Iowa level also,” she told supporters Friday at the Iowa Machine Shed.

She and acting Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, who accompanied her, are on an “Opportunity Unleashed” tour to promote her vision for Iowa following her Tuesday Condition of the State speech.

Reynolds said the state is on a positive path, with a high graduation rate and low unemployment. She added the 2017 legislative session was “the most pro-jobs, pro-growth legislative session in decades.”

Of particular interest to Davenport residents is an inequity in education funding that’s vexed school districts like Davenport’s for years.

Davenport school officials have been lobbying lawmakers to address the per-pupil funding inequity that allows some school districts to spend more than others. A small number of school districts can spend up to $175 more per student than others.

The stumbling block has been coming up with the money. A Senate bill was approved last year that would have closed the inequity gap over 10 years, as well as address transportation funding problems. But it didn’t get past the House amid revenue shortfalls.

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Lawmakers still are dealing with revenue problems this year. But Reynolds said using money from the SAVE fund — the 1 percent state sales tax that goes to school infrastructure — might be a possibility.

Also, she said, a broader tax reform effort could bring in more revenue from online sales.

“You know, we’re buying more and more things online, and it’s kind of unfair ... for our Main Streets, so maybe we take a look at the growth in that,” the governor said.

State Sen. Roby Smith, R-Davenport, had broached the idea last year of using revenue from federal tax reform to fix the school funding issue.

But Reynolds, along with other lawmakers, are eyeing tax cuts for much of that money.

The governor also is proposing using some of the federal windfall to help cover the $34.7 million shortfall in the current fiscal year.

Educators have been pushing for an extension of the infrastructure fund, which is due to expire in 2029. The Cedar Rapids school district is looking to that fund to pay for a major update to elementary school facilities.

Reynolds also was scheduled to make a stop in Maquoketa on Friday.

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