116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
JOHNSTON — Gov. Kim Reynolds cited fairness as a guiding principle in her efforts to flatten Iowa income tax rates, provide more families with opportunities to send children to non-public schools and prohibit transgender athletes from competing in girls’ sports.
Reynolds and House and Senate Republicans all are pushing tax plans that would flatten income tax rates to 4 percent or lower and exempt retirement income.
“So I'm pretty confident that we're going to get something done,” Reynolds said Friday during taping of “Iowa Press,” which can be seen at 7:30 p.m. Friday on Iowa PBS, at 8:30 a.m. Saturday on Iowa PBS World and online at www.iowapbs.org.
The state has “over-collected,” Reynolds said. “This will give us an opportunity to return that over collection back to hardworking Iowans and see those dollars turnover in our communities.”
Although the three tax plans have much in common, there are differences.
The House GOP plan approved this week with one Democratic vote gradually lowers the income tax rate to 4 percent, but doesn’t include and change in the corporate income tax rate.
Reynolds has proposed using any corporate income tax revenue above $700 million to buy down the rate from 9.8 percent — third-highest in the country — to 5.5 percent.
Senate Republicans included a mechanism for funding the outdoor trust fund Iowa voters approved in 2010. Reynolds had her own plan for funding water quality and outdoor recreation in her Invest Iowa plan a couple of years ago. Reynolds didn’t take a position on that facet of the plan.
“Right now, I'm interested in lowering taxes,” she said. “We just need to take all of that into consideration” as she works with legislators “to get something done that honors our priorities, which makes sure that we can still fund education, public safety, mental health, workforce, but allows Iowans to keep more of what they earn.”
She’s also proposed a plan to make public funds available to pay for non-public school enrollment.
“Bottom line, it's a fairness issue,” she said about giving Iowans, regardless of income, and opportunity to choose an alternative to public schools, which Reynolds called the foundation of Iowa’s educational system.
“We know there's great schools all across this state that are providing most parents what they expect,” Reynolds said. “Most parents, I think, are happy with the education that their children are being provided.
“But if you don't agree with some of the things that are being done or you believe that your child needs a different environment to thrive, that option should just not be available for those that can afford it,” Reynolds said.
Democrats often talk about doing more to low- and middle-income Iowans, Reynolds said, but yet when it comes to education — the great equalizer — they are saying, ‘Sorry, you don't make enough money, you don't get an opportunity to decide what's the best option for your child.’
“I just I don't think that that's right,” she said.
Prohibiting transgender girls from competing in sports
And she doesn’t think it’s right for transgender athletes to competes on girls’ sports teams. A House bill to prohibit transgender athletes from competing on K-12 sports teams is expected to be debated early next week. A plan in the Senate would expand the ban to cover sports at state community colleges and universities.
“First of all, I just believe it's a fairness issue,” Reynolds said. All one has to do is look at results at track meets. Boys and girls run the same distances, but “you look at the scoreboard and you look at the times ... the boys’ time is significantly lower than girls.”
“It's biology. They're just stronger,” Reynolds said. “It’s a fairness issue.
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