Iowa Policy Points

‘Toto, we’re not in Kansas — yet’

The unmitigated disaster of tax-cutting in Kansas — which we have noted here, and here, and here, and here — and others have noted as well, is threatened for a curtain call just up the road in Iowa.

Those links might help Representative Guy Vander Linden, who is chair of the House Ways and Means Committee and says in the Cedar Rapids Gazette today that he doesn’t know what happened in Kansas.

Governor Kim Reynolds has indicated since before she took office in May that taxes are on her agenda, and she’s been spreading bad information about our current system when she could be promoting it.

We find out now that the Governor wants to wait until January to tell people what she wants to do. Likewise, details are few from the legislative side. We saw this play out scandously last session, as backroom deals were shoved through the process and signed into law with limited debate and no deliberative, open process that involved the public.

Targets in 2017 were collective bargaining, workers’ compensation, and voting rights. Targets in 2018 are new tax cuts for high-income individuals and the wealthy, undermining public education, and — though they may be seeing they can’t get away with this onepublic-sector pensions that already are stable and taxpayer friendly.

Behind a lot of these moves: The Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity (AFP). Guess who showed up in today’s Cedar Rapids Gazette story? AFP’s Drew Klein, peddling utter nonsense to The Gazette about what happened in Kansas — nonsense not worth repeating here for fear it will spread.

Be very clear about what happened in Kansas: They cut taxes and budgets severely, and forced themselves this year with painful steps to start climbing out of the hole. Ask ’em. They’ll tell you. Oh, wait, they have:

“Business tax cuts were supposed to be magic, they were supposed to spur job growth — and they didn’t,” said Duane Goossen, a former Republican state legislator and state budget director under three governors, in a meeting at the Iowa State Capitol last February.

So, again paraphrasing from The Wizard of Oz”: “Pay lots of attention to the people behind the curtain.”

 

Mike Owen is executive director of the nonpartisan Iowa Policy Project. mikeowen@iowapolicyproject.org