DES MOINES, Iowa – During the Republican Party of Iowa’s Legislative Breakfast on Monday before the Iowa Legislature gaveled in for the 2022 session, Gov. Kim Reynolds and Republican legislative leaders expressed optimism about the new year.
“As we began 2022, I couldn’t be more optimistic and hopeful about Iowa’s future. You know, there is a two-year pandemic, not one, but two, Derechos, floods and drought, tornadoes, all of which have occurred in the last four years. A word used a lot to describe Iowa is resilient. And that’s true of our people. It’s true of our communities. It’s true of our state budget and our economy. Our recovery has been recognized as the fastest in the country. And we proved that enough effective pandemic response doesn’t have to come at the cost of our most basic civil liberties,” Reynolds said.
She highlighted the state’s efforts to open schools up, the Back the Blue law, passed during the last session, election reform, investments in K-12 education, mental health, housing, and child care. In addition, she pointed out recent tax cuts and noted that the state ended last fiscal year with a $1.24 billion surplus and $800 million in cash reserves.
“Let’s keep delivering on the issues that matter to Iowans, and let’s meet those expectations: empowering parents, strengthening our schools, investing in Iowans in our workforce, protecting our communities, bold, yet practical tax cuts that will drive economic growth and prosperity in every single corner of this state,” Reynolds stated.
Senate President Jake Chapman, R-Adel, called for the legislature to take bold action in 2022.
“This is the year to take a stand. This is the year for Republicans to lead the way. Our goal should be focused on the total elimination of income tax,” he said.
Chapman noted that that goal is unlikely to happen in one year, but the legislature should move toward eliminating the income tax.
“We can’t allow another year to go by where other states are aggressively going after taxes,” he added, pointing to South Dakota as an example.
Chapman also called for school choice, “This is the year for us to take a stand for parents. This is the year to tear down the financial barriers that prevent parents from choosing the school of their choice.”
“Let’s make 2022 a historic year, a year that we can look back on and be proud of taking a stand, a stand for what’s right. Stand for freedom, for liberty, a stand for Iowans,” he concluded.
Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver, R-Ankeny, said he has never been more optimistic than he has ever been heading into the 2022 legislative session.
“Iowa is in the strongest position we have ever been. And that is not an accident. We’re in the strongest position we’re in after five years of this Republican trifecta,” Whitver said.
“We started this trifecta six years ago with conservative budgeting and conservative policy and tax reforms for Iowa, and the results are now clear. It’s no longer subjective,” he added.
“We are in the strongest position we have ever been, and so we have the largest surplus in history. Our rainy day funds are filled with over 800 million. We have over 1.2 billion in our taxpayer trust fund. We’re going to end this year with another billion dollar surplus, and we’ve created a structural surplus between what we bring in and what we spend almost a billion dollars, and it’s because of the tough decisions by many of you legislators in this room,” Whitver said.
Iowa House Majority Leader Matt Windschitl, R-Missouri Valley, also pointed to the Republican trifecta.
“The bottom line is this for five years, pardon my language, but for five years, we have been kicking ass with this trifecta. Want to know what has changed?” Windschitl asked. “Not a damn thing. 2022 is going to be a great year for Republicans. It’s going to be a great year for Iowans.”
Iowa House Speaker Pat Grassley, R-New Hartford, said the left keeps attacking Republicans, but they continue to succeed.
“Iowans are sending the message on our behalf. They keep reelecting us with significant majorities all over the state,” he said, pointing out Republicans represented 97 of Iowa’s 99 counties.
The Iowa Torch spoke with three Republican lawmakers before the program started. State Senator Jason Schultz, R-Schleswig, said one of his top two priorities is eliminating the income tax.
“That means making drastic, bold and careful moves year after year until we reach that point,” he said.
Schultz also said his second priority is to see his welfare reform bill pass, legislation he has pushed for four years. “We’re hoping now I’ve worked with the governor’s office, talk to the house. We’re hoping this is the year we can get that one done,” he said.
State Rep. Dean Fisher, R-Montour, also said eliminating the income tax was one of his priorities.
State Rep. Megan Jones, R-Sioux Rapids, also pointed to income tax reform but said the state’s workforce is her second priority.
“I’m hearing from a ton of businesses that they have jobs open,” she told The Iowa Torch. “We need to make sure that we have people to fill them. So to address that shortage, certainly daycare, we need to make sure that we have safe, reliable, affordable childcare for working families. And also, we need to make a welcoming environment in our state.”