Senator Schneider,

This spring I attended a legislative coffee with you in Waukee and asked this question: How will you find fiscal sustainability by only cutting taxes and slashing government spending?  One of my follow-up questions was: Is Kansas a model for Iowa legislation?

You and your House colleague Rep. Taylor both said no.

I again follow this question on the news that Kansas has rebuked the ‘cut taxes, cut spending’ approach to state budgeting because the predicted economic growth that would buoy state coffers didn’t happen and the state is now in a big budget deficit.  It is hard to separate Iowa’s situation from our neighbor to the southwest.  The budget shortfalls that you consistently site as reasons why we can’t have more resources for schools, for human services, for infrastructure, for clean water, for state parks, and the myriad other services that only state government can provide are of your making.

In repeating my point as an educator and father: young people will continue to leave Iowa because they have fewer opportunities, basic services, access to strong education for themselves and their children, and compromised natural resources than in states where leaders see government investment as a facilitator of growth, innovation, and a guarantee of fundamental safety and opportunity.
You have acknowledged that we need to look at tax credits as a way to balance state revenue.  What are your plans to address the budget shortfall in the next session and beyond?  Is there anything in your plans that you can identify that I as a career public educator and father of two public school students can agree with you on?  Specifically, how are your tax and budget plans going to help my family?  Do you disagree with any of the points in the following editorial and why?  How long do you anticipate Iowans need to wait for the promised economic growth and prosperity for all that has been promised with the ‘cut taxes, cut spending’ approach?

Editorial: Cash-strapped Iowa should learn from Kansas

With interest,

Christian Baughman