DES MOINES, Iowa — After three years of attempting to pass massive education reform in the state, Governor Kim Reynolds is the closest she has ever been to getting it done.
On Wednesday the Iowa House Education Reform committee and the Iowa Senate Education committee both voted to pass the governor’s bill through. This leaves only just a couple of steps left for the bill to be debated on the floor and have a vote in either chamber.
“We have not rushed anything. You’ve have had six years of conversation with us about wanting to empower parents, about wanting to give opportunities to all children,” said Senate President Amy Sinclair, (R) from Allerton.
Democrats in both chambers voiced their concerns about the bill being rushed through without looking at the future financial impact on the state.
“When we are adding hundreds of millions of dollars to our budget every single year, more expenses to our budget, is that really truly being cautious and careful with our taxpayer dollars,” said State Senator Sarah Trone Garriot, (D) from West Des Moines. “We need to make sure that this is worthwhile.”
At the public hearing on Tuesday a lot of people from the public voiced their concerns that the tax cuts from last session were not taken into account when looking at the future financial impact on the state. This is something Speaker of the Iowa House Pat Grassley said is not true, and read off the Iowa Republican Caucus’ cost estimates for the next several years.
The Legislative Services Agency (LSA) is the nonpartisan entity that examines bills and looks at the impact on state dollars now and in the future. They are currently in the middle of reviewing the governor’s bill, and those numbers will be available to the public when they are done.
The senate version of the governor’s bill will need to go through the appropriations committee, which is taking place on Thursday at 10 a.m. The house side of the bill will not see the ways & means committee, it will go straight to the house floor for a vote when republicans are ready.