First, Governor Branstad challenged the bounds of basic math — miscounting jobs — and now it’s language arts.
The Governor reportedly got a little testy last week at a Des Moines Register editorial board meeting. Among his complaints: references to a “diversion” of revenue from a state sales tax for school infrastructure to support water-quality improvements. From the Register:
Branstad, in particular, took issue with the idea that his proposal diverts money away from schools.
“I can’t see how you can possibly call it a diversion when schools are going to get at least $10 million more guaranteed every year, plus a 20-year extension,” he said. “They’re sharing a small portion of the growth.”
Well, here’s how you call it a diversion:
[dih-vur-zhuh n, -shuh n, dahy-]
1. the act of diverting or turning aside, as from a course or purpose: a diversion of industry into the war effort.
Under the Governor’s plan, there is a “diverting or turning aside” a share of sales-tax revenues from their currently authorized “course or purpose,” school infrastructure, from FY2017 beginning July 1 this year, to FY2029. This is illustrated by Governor’s own handout on the plan. See the one-page document his office provided the media on Jan. 5. The graph at the bottom of that page (reproduced below), shows the diversion shaded in blue, beginning with the black vertical line and running to the red dotted line.
Of course it’s a diversion. In fact, the diversion continues if the tax — which would not exist before or after FY2029 without voters’ intent for its use in funding school infrastructure — is extended to FY2049.
May future debate focus on whether the Governor’s proposed diversion is a good idea, not the fact that he has proposed it.