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When the 2016 session began, Iowa faced a host of critical challenges. This session has done little to ease any of the major concerns, and nothing to meet them for the long term.
The path to advancements in education, economic stability and environmental stewardship — as well as other critical areas where strong public policy and institutions are necessary — rests on strong, strategic investments.
Governor Branstad’s words ring hollow in his decisions to cut education funding and to prevent greater access to child care assistance.
Over half the jobs in Iowa pay less than what is needed by many families to achieve basic self-sufficiency. Work support programs are important — but “cliffs” in those programs can send a family’s total resources plummeting with even a small increase in income.
Serious attention to issues means not being distracted by who has or who does not have the reins of power. Our business is the arena of issues, not of party politics.
Iowa families took a couple of important steps forward in the 2014 legislative session, but those steps paled in comparison to lawmakers’ refusal to address long-term funding challenges for critical services.
Eligibility reforms can assure that child care assistance helps families who are still well below the income level needed to support basic needs.
Iowans cannot afford new raids on the General Fund when many public services have not been restored to pre-recession levels.
Iowa lawmakers must recognize the long-term impact of tax cuts on spending choices. Past choices will force future legislatures to lower investments on critical services on which economic growth depends.
Iowans can fall off an income cliff when even a minimal pay increase costs them child care assistance — one challenge for the state’s working families.