In 2013, the Republicans cut commercial property taxes for large corporations and then, foolishly, took general fund money to backfill cities, counties and school districts. This reduced the amount of general fund money available for education by $150 million per year. Already there is talk of ending the backfill which would be another huge blow to schools. Couple this with nearly $1 billion of tax credits, many to wealthy corporations, and you can see why allowable growth in K-12 funding for the last eight years is the lowest in over 50 years.
Now Republicans are pushing Educational Savings Accounts, another name for vouchers, which will further reduce the general funds available for K-12. Our public school districts cannot afford any further financial hits. When you consider what the Republicans did last year when they rammed through changes to the Chapter 20 collective bargaining bill which had served teachers and public sector employees well for four decades, it’s becoming clear what their aim is.
It’s time to stand up and speak out to uphold Iowa’s long and proud tradition of high quality public education. We need to change from this failed Republican leadership and representation which has left us with a mental health crisis, a mismanaged Medicaid program and a budget way out of balance. We need a new governor with the background and proven record of caring for education, our children, women’s health care and the working men and women of Iowa. We need Fred Hubbell.