DES MOINES — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Fred Hubbell on Friday urged Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds to veto a major tax-cut package passed by the GOP Legislature that is awaiting her action.
Hubbell said there are elements of the tax-cut measure that he supports, such as eliminating federal deductibility that skews Iowa’s tax rates when competing to attract jobs and the change equalizing sales tax collections between online and Main Street businesses.
But, overall, he does not believe the state can take more than $2 billion out of its revenue stream in coming years and still fund the government programs and services that Iowans expect.
“That tax bill should never be signed because it’s risky for our state,” Hubbell said in an interview at the kickoff of a 14-day, 35-stop statewide tour to promote his bid to be the Iowa Democratic Party’s 2018 nominee for governor in the June 5 primary election.
“She shouldn’t sign it because this is not the time to be lowering taxes in our state. They can’t balance budgets, they owe money to the reserve funds,” said Hubbell, a Des Moines executive who has held private and public posts.
In addition, Iowa agriculture is threatened by possible Trump administration trade tariffs, and changes to renewable energy standards come at a time when livestock producers are losing value and commodity prices are depressed.
“We have all those big storm clouds,” Hubbell said. “Now is not the time to be lowering taxes. Now is the time to be stopping the wasteful corporate giveaways, claw back the commercial property tax deduction because they’re not getting the benefits from that that they said they were going to get.
“That’s where we could raise a lot of money to start investing in these other things,” such as education, health care, workforce development and infrastructure, he said.
Hubbell made the comments at the start of a statewide “Fired Up For Fred Bus Tour” that opened with him getting the endorsement of Des Moines Mayor Franke Cownie. He was joined on the tour by two former Democratic lieutenant governors — Sally Pederson and Patty Judge.
“I love going on a road trip,” Judge declared at the kickoff rally near the Iowa Capitol building. “We’re going to get in that Winnebago, and we’re going to take off and we’ll see how many people we can find and convince them to vote for Fred.”
Pederson said she has known Hubbell for more than 35 years and is convinced he is the right person to lead Iowa at this critical juncture.
“I’m very confident that Fred Hubbell is going to win this primary and he’s going to win the general election in November and he’s going to turn this state around,” she said.
Jesse Dougherty, communications director for the Republican Party of Iowa, issued a statement saying Reynolds and the GOP-led Legislature “have been checking off bipartisan priorities in the Statehouse, meanwhile Fred Hubbell’s buying friends and supporters using his wealth and that of his friends in Des Moines.”
Dougherty pointed to passage of legislation on comprehensive mental health reform, affordable health care coverage and efforts to combat the opioid epidemic.
But Hubbell said Iowans are concerned about “extreme behavior” that has taken place at the Statehouse with passage of the most-restrictive “anti-women’s health care law in the country” to restrict abortion, defunding Planned Parenthood clinics and taking away public employee collective bargaining rights — as among the issues prompting him to get into the governor’s race.
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