IOWA CITY — Ten days ahead of the midterm elections, Democrat Fred Hubbell is trying to flip the argument about higher taxes. He charges that it’s Gov. Kim Reynolds who will dig deeper into Iowans’ pockets.
In a Saturday afternoon campaign stop in Iowa City, the retired Des Moines businessman said that the programs Reynolds brags about largely are unfunded, and the Republican incumbent will have to raise taxes if she intends to fully pay for them.
“When you really think about it, Future Ready Iowa is 90 percent unfunded. STEM has almost no funding. Her mental health has no funding. Medicaid privatization keeps going up in cost,” Hubbell said.
“If she’s going to do anything, she’s going to have to raise taxes because revenues are going down so fast,” he continued. “With her tax cuts, she’s going to have big fiscal problems.”
The governor’s campaign spokesman said it sounds like Hubbell is worried he has a big problem convincing voters that when he says he wants to “peel back” tax cuts that he doesn’t mean he would be raising their taxes.
“Fred knows that’s not true,” Pat Garrett said about the charge that Reynolds will raise taxes. “He’s desperate.”
“He already told us what he would do, which is raise taxes on income, property and sales,” Garrett said. “Facts are facts. Kim Reynolds cut taxes. Fred Hubbell wants to raise them.”
Campaigning with the governor in Davenport, Sen. Joni Ernst said Iowans can’t afford Hubbell.
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“We don’t want to see a Democrat moving into the governor’s office because everything we have worked for will be taken away,” Ernst said. “And he’s said that. He makes no bones about it. He’s going to undo everything we have worked so hard for.”
Hubbell will have to raise taxes, Reynolds said, because his answer to everything is “more money, more money, more money.”
“That’s your money that he’s coming after,” she said.
Hubbell said he’s looking at how to save tax money to pay for Iowa’s priorities, such as fixing Medicaid, putting more money into education and funding comprehensive mental health reform.
“There are a lot of ways to save money if you’re smarter about how you spend state money,” he said. The first step will be reversing the privatized management of the program that serves about 680,000 Iowa children, elderly and disabled. Reynolds, he said, has sent $100 million to out-of-state, for-profit companies and Medicaid costs are rising faster than when it was a state-run program.
“If we’re just smarter with what we do and we focus on a different quality of outcome for people, I think we can stay within the costs that we already have,” he said.
Hubbell also called for ending “wasteful, corporate giveaways,” such as up to $20 million in state tax credits for Apple, which is building a $1.3 billion facility in Waukee and creating as many as 50 jobs.
Both candidates are claiming the momentum is theirs with early voting underway and the election less than a week-and-half away.
“We’re going to get this done,” Reynolds told supporters. “We’ve had great turnout, great energy, great momentum. You can feel it. You can sense it.”
Hubbell is “very optimistic about what’s going on.”
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“We’re going to keep working every single county, working as many voters as we can to reach out to them and make sure they understand our priorities and make sure they go vote.”
He’s looking forward to former Vice President Joe Biden coming to Cedar Rapids on Tuesday to “help get Democrats in Iowa and independents and people who are interested in change, motivated and out to vote.”
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