Facebook Live Recap Week 6
PUBLIC FORUM | FEBRUARY 18TH | 2PM | DES MOINES CENTRAL LIBRARY
WE MUST SPUR GROWTH IN EVERY IOWA COMMUNITY
With almost one-third of the 2018 legislative session behind us, I hope that Republicans and Democrats in the Statehouse will start spending more time helping Iowans get ahead.
Iowa has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country at 2.8 percent, but that doesn’t mean everybody has the job they want or the income they need to make ends meet. We must ensure every Iowa community has the tools to thrive—especially our small towns and rural areas.
I am eager to get to work on proposals that Puts Iowans First. It’s time to get back to the basics—to help improve Iowans’ everyday lives and provide more opportunities. That means focusing on our shared values, including better-paying jobs, great education and affordable health care.
MID-YEAR CUTS DO NOT REFLECT IOWANS’ PRIORITIES
In a recent Iowa Poll, Iowans shared what they see as the biggest issues facing our state. The majority of Iowans surveyed think Iowa has major problems with:
Mental-health services (73 percent)
Child welfare (58 percent)
Student debt (60 percent)
University tuition (55 percent)
The state budget (51 percent)
Unfortunately, Republican cuts that passed the Iowa Senate on February 8 could hurt those priority areas even more. SF 2117 immediately slashes funding for critical services provided by the Department of Human Services, and significantly cuts our investment in community colleges and state universities. That will lead to more out-of-pocket expenses and fewer opportunities for working families.
I voted “no” on those deep, mid-year budget cuts because they do not reflect Iowa values and priorities. In this two-minute video, my Senate colleagues highlight the consequences of failing to use your hard-earned tax dollars on Iowa’s critical needs.
We must Put Iowans First and tackle the things you say matter most. If you haven’t had a chance to take our short survey, please share your thoughts on what will help you, your family and your community get ahead.
IOWANS WANT MENTAL HEALTH CARE IMPROVEMENTS
Iowa’s lack of mental health care is a leading worry for the majority of Iowans. The recent Iowa Poll shows that almost all of us believe there are problems with our state’s mental health care system.
New recommendations from a Complex Needs Workgroup will help address Iowa’s mental health concerns. The goal is to provide the right services at the right time to those struggling with severe, complex mental health or substance abuse needs.
A new bill (SF 2252) will begin the process of making the recommendations reality. I am hopeful that all legislators are ready to do what it takes—including providing adequate funding—to fix Iowans’ most pressing concern.
Maintaining intensive residential services for at least 120 Iowans.
Establishing six Access Centers at strategic locations throughout Iowa to provide immediate, short-term assessment and treatment to those who need significant support and services not available to them at home.
Adding more Assertive Community Treatment teams. ACTs provide individualized treatment to Iowans in their home and community. Team members are trained in psychiatry, social work, nursing, substance abuse treatment and vocational rehabilitation. Eyerly Ball has two facilities providing these services in Polk County, but the report recommends we add a third team to meet our needs in central Iowa.
The Iowa departments of Human Services and Public Health will work with the Courts to implement these and other recommendations. Court involvement is crucial because so much crime stems from mental illness and substance abuse.
4 CRITERIA FOR FISCAL FAIRNESS
Iowans want a tax system that is fair to everyone, not just the special interests. Because of the state’s cobbled together tax policies, many Iowans believe the system is rigged against them. Iowans deserve a tax system that works for all of us and increases prosperity.
At a time when the state budget is not balanced, we must approach tax changes carefully.
A tax plan proposed by Governor Reynolds has started a conversation at the Statehouse and across Iowa. Similar plans in Kansas and Oklahoma have been devastating for education, public safety, health care and other vital services. In fact, Kansas abandoned its failed trickle-down tax cuts, and Oklahoma’s Republican Governor is now proposing higher taxes to dig her state out of its fiscal mess.
Last June, Senator Pam Jochum of Dubuque, lead Democrat on the Senate’s tax policy committee, wrote a letter to the Governor offering to work together on a tax plan. Senator Jochum pledged to work in a bipartisan way on true tax reform that benefits Iowans by meeting these principles: