By Rod Boshart, Gazette Des Moines Bureau
WEST DES MOINES — First daughter and presidential adviser Ivanka Trump touted the nation’s strong economy — fueled, she said, by federal tax cuts — and urged Iowans Friday to keep the successes and prosperity moving forward by electing Republicans like Gov. Kim Reynolds in Tuesday’s midterm election.
Trump pointed to a just-released Labor Department report — showing the U.S. economy added 250,000 jobs in October with unemployment the lowest since 1969 and wages growing 3.1 percent — as evidence the nation and Iowa are moving in the right direction, something voters should consider when going to the polls next week.
“What’s at stake is everything we’ve talked about — the growth, the opportunity, these are metrics that you never see,” Trump told an invitation-only crowd of about 100 at a campaign stop with Reynolds. “There’s a lot at stake and a lot to lose because Iowa is really growing and we want to keep that going.”
Reynolds, who is locked in a tight 2018 election battle with Democrat Fred Hubbell — a Des Moines business executive making his first bid for public office, said Iowa has seen similar successes with wages going up and taxes going down. She said Iowa has been ranked the best state overall with the second-lowest cost of doing business and the second-lowest unemployment rate at 2.5 percent, as well as the third-best managed state with a $127 million budget surplus.
‘Promises made, promises kept,” Reynolds told the crowd, in touting her close relationship with the White House that Trump said is paying dividends to Iowa with decisions to expand E15-blended fuel for year-round use, a new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico — Iowa’s top trading partners — and greater emphasis on STEM education and developing skilled workers.
“My family always says you don’t get what you don’t ask for and Gov. Reynolds is not afraid to ask,” Trump said in promoting the job Reynolds has been doing as Iowa’s first female governor and the partnerships she has forged.
“I don’t like to get out and just campaign for the sake of campaigning,” Trump told the morning crowd, noting that Iowa is “starting to feel like home” on this her third visit this year. “I like to support people who I’ve worked with and who I can speak from the heart about and this woman is so effective.”
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Iowa Democrats marked the visit as more of a “lifeline” to help “prop up” what they called Reynolds “flailing campaign.”
“Gov. Kim Reynolds knows her campaign is in a tailspin and called in reinforcements to prop up her campaign just four days out from Election Day,” according to a news release issued by the Iowa Democratic Party.
Democrats called Ivanka Trump’s visit an effort “to bail out Reynolds and try to make up for the campaign’s lack of vision or record to run on” that follows two trips to Iowa by President Trump, three by Vice President Mike Pence and a fundraising appearance by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to try to excite GOP voters in Iowa.
During Friday’s discussion moderated by state Rep. Ashley, Hinson, R-Marion, Trump credited “much-needed” GOP federal tax relief achieved in Washington’s “very toxic political environment” with facilitating the “booming” economic growth that is spurring more business hirings and creating “a workers’ market” for job opportunities and employment mobility.
“I’m really proud of tax reform and I think people are really going to experience the benefits of it over a long term,” the president’s daughter said.
Since Iowa is one of a few states that allow residents to deduct the federal taxes they pay from their state income tax liabilities, a monthly revenue report issued this week by the Legislative Services Agency indicated the Iowa treasury has reaped a windfall of up to $104 million in higher individual income tax collections in the first four months of the current fiscal year.
LSA tax analyst Jeff Robinson said federal tax cuts that were applied to payroll withholding tables last February lowered Iowans’ federal tax payments which in turn meant they had more income that was subject to state tax, which is boosting state revenue.
That situation will end Jan. 1, Robinson noted, when lower state income rates passed by majority Republicans during the 2018 legislative session and signed by Reynolds will take effect and Iowans will see their state income taxes decline as well. The governor has said part of the urgency in passing the largest tax cut in state history earlier this year was to make sure Iowans didn’t see their overall taxes go up due to Iowa’s federal deductibility law.
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