Letter to the Editor

If it ain’t broke the Iowa Legislature will fix it!

Monday, March 8, 2021

Just like in past years the Iowa GOP Legislature is taking things that have worked well and is trying to fix them.

Iowa had record voter turnout in the 2020 election, so in true form, the GOP has passed legislation that will make it more difficult to vote.

Governor Reynolds is trying to give public school money to private schools by encouraging vouchers.

Governor Reynolds and the GOP-controlled Legislature again underfunded education by passing legislation that will cut $7 million from preschool programs and cut 2,500 slots for kids, but Governor Reynolds says preschool is a priority! Say one thing but do another.

They took local control away from public schools by the “one size fits all” governor decree on what is safe.

Now Governor Reynolds is trying to take away local control of cities regarding police budgets.

The GOP has proposed legislation to eliminate tenure at the Iowa universities. This will guarantee top notch professors will leave while also guaranteeing few will ever want to come teach in Iowa.

What does the GOP have against education at any level from preschool — universities?

The GOP has legislation that will end civil rights protection and discriminate against LBGTQ individuals. That must be from the Good Book; love your neighbor except …

Fun facts: Since 1973 school funding increases were less than 3% only six times in the first 38 years. Since 2011 under GOP control, funding has been less than 3% nine out of 10 years.

Lets’s look at other examples:

• 2016: Governor Reynolds praises IPERS, but in a private fundraiser, says she wants to privatize it.

She privatizes Medicaid and it becomes a huge mess along with no where near the savings she promised.

• 2017: For 40-plus years we had a Collective Bargaining system that worked well and was started by GOP Governor Ray with the agreement teachers could not strike. Then without campaigning on any changes they decimated the system, except they kept the no striking part!

Governor Reynolds and Senator Schneider hired the Koch Brothers anti-pension Reason Foundation to make recommendations on IPERS. What a biased report!

• 2018: The GOP said no IPERS changes but then Senator Zaun submits SF 45 to eliminate the IPERS program that was started and has worked well since 1953 and is one of the top 10 pension systems in the nation!

• 2019: Governor Reynolds, Speaker of the House Upmeyer and Representative Kaufmann said no changes to IPERS, not even punctuation, and then, you guessed it, they put IPERS in a property tax bill and passed it at 3 a.m. Then they denied IPERS was in the bill!

• 2020: They couldn’t fix COVID-19 as Iowa became the worst state (Sept. 1, 2020) for the highest number of cases (per capita) of the virus and ranks 17th in deaths per capita.

Then it was another disaster to get signed up for COVID-19 vaccinations. People were going out of county to get shots. No one knew who to call or what website to try to get signed up. You relied on what your neighbor might tell you as to where and how to get a shot.

• Last March: The Associated Press reported over the weekend that Governor Reynolds awarded a $7 million no-bid contract to Competitive Edge, Inc. to provide gowns and goggles for Iowa’s frontline COVID-19 workers. Competitive Edge has never sold either gowns or goggles. The company is a ‘go-to vendor’ Republican candidates in need of yard signs, T-shirts and barn signs, according to the AP.

• There’s more: In signing a $50 million contract for a new cloud-based computer system, the state of Iowa sidestepped traditional competitive bidding procedures and chose a company with little state government experience whose lobbyist is Governor Reynolds’ former chief of staff.

I guess giving no bid contracts to your friends is an acceptable way of doing business and needs no fixing though.

— John Brostad, Storm Lake