The Iowa Fiscal Partnership recently released a statement that was critical of Governor Branstad’s decision to cut education funding and veto legislation that would have expanded eligibility for child care assistance. According to the statement, these decisions will harm low- and moderate-income Iowans and have negative consequences for the state’s public schools.
Governor Branstad vetoed $55.7 million in one-time funding for local schools and area education agencies, which had been reached through a budget compromise over several months by legislators. The funds were designated for one-time uses, in deference to the Governor’s previously stated concerns. However, the veto means that schools are left with only a 1.25 percent growth in the cost per pupil for the new fiscal year, which is well below schools’ actual costs. This decision will drive up property taxes for many districts and will force them to make difficult decisions about what services to cut.
The statement argues that neither the Governor nor the Legislature can accurately claim that they have provided sufficient funds for Iowa’s public schools, and the conclusion to this question has come 16 months past the legal deadline. The Governor’s decision to cut education funding demonstrates a lack of commitment to the state’s education system and the students who rely on it.
In addition to cutting education funding, the Governor also vetoed legislation that would have expanded eligibility for child care assistance. The provision in SF505 would have lessened the “cliff effect” for an estimated 200 families and nearly 600 children each month. The cliff effect refers to a sharp loss of resources low- and moderate-income Iowans face when their income rises enough to end their eligibility for child care assistance.
The families impacted by this decision are those whose incomes are just below 150 percent of the federal poverty level, about $36,400 for a family of four. The Governor’s veto means that these families will not be able to accept or seek small pay increases if it means they could no longer afford child care. The statement argues that child care costs are not going down, and incomes are not rising fast enough for families to recover. This decision by the Governor perpetuates the cliff effect and fails to support low-income working families.
Overall, the statement argues that Governor Branstad’s decisions to cut education funding and veto legislation that would have expanded eligibility for child care assistance are harmful to low- and moderate-income Iowans. These decisions will result in negative consequences for the state’s public schools and for families who rely on child care assistance. The statement calls on Iowans to consider the full package of decisions announced by the Governor’s Office and to hold their elected officials accountable for the impact of their decisions.
The Iowa Fiscal Partnership is a nonpartisan organization that conducts research and analysis on public policy issues in Iowa. The organization is made up of two nonprofit organizations, the Iowa Policy Project and the Child and Family Policy Center, which work together to provide unbiased analysis and recommendations to policymakers and the public. The Iowa Policy Project is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that focuses on economic and fiscal policy issues in Iowa. The organization’s research and analysis is intended to inform public debate and promote responsible policies that benefit all Iowans. The Child and Family Policy Center is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that focuses on issues related to child and family well-being in Iowa. The organization’s research and analysis is intended to promote policies that support strong families and healthy communities.