A question people often ask during an election year is, “Am I better off today than the last time I voted?” Primary season is off and running in Iowa. We are going to vote for a governor, which caused me to think about how well our state has done under the Branstad/Reynolds years in office.
I moved to Iowa in 1985. For a number of years before I moved here, and after, Iowa was No. 1 in the nation in K-12 education; now we are in the middle of the pack. Iowa has the most bridges in disrepair of all the states in the U.S. Iowa’s water quality continues to be a critical problem with only minimal attention to correcting the situation. Iowa has the slowest rate of population growth than any state in the U.S. Our judicial system is closing courts as the chief justice is warning about a total breakdown in the system.
At a time when we need qualified people to fill jobs, cuts are being made to community colleges which is one of the critical sources for training and employees for companies. Our mental health services funding continues to be cut, which makes us ripe for a disaster to happen by some mentally ill person with a gun. Our Medicare reimbursements are some of the lowest in the nation, which makes it more difficult to hire and retain doctors. Our Medicaid system is a total disaster after privatization was pushed through by the governor. We can’t pay our bills as revenues continue to lag beyond our expenses and Gov. Reynolds wants to cut taxes, putting us in more debt with the need to borrow more from the rainy day fund.
Do we really want to continue to cut services? I’m just wondering: Where are we better off under the Brandstad/Reynolds leadership?