Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds delivers his state-of-the-state address Tuesday night ahead of a joint session of the Iowa Legislature at the Statehouse in Des Moines. (AP Photo / Charlie Neibergall)
Governor Kim Reynolds’ State of State 2022 address on Tuesday night was 48 minutes long and covered topics ranging from education and the environment to technology and taxes.
Some statements elicited cheers, while others may have irritated listeners. The Fact Checker only checks verifiable claims – so if the governor has expressed an opinion or made a vague statement that cannot be proven, we have not verified it.
Read on to see which facts she picked up and which may have missed the mark.
Claim: “In the last eight months alone, we have invested an additional $ 300 million in broadband …”
On September 14, the Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grants Program announced $ 97.5 million in grants for broadband infrastructure projects statewide. On January 4, the state issued a notice of intent to provide an additional $ 210 million in the American Rescue Plan Act for broadband projects. This money has not yet been released, but the commitment to invest is there.
Statement: “… abrogated inheritance tax on families.
Reynolds signed Senate Dossier 619 in June, which phased out inheritance tax, or inheritance tax, by 20% a year until he passed away on Jan. 1, 2025. So if someone dies in 2025, the person who inherits his estate not pay state taxes on such income. There is still a federal inheritance tax, but it only comes into effect if a person inherits more than $ 11.7 million, the AARP reported.
Claim: “Last year, the state finished with a surplus of $ 1.2 billion, in addition to $ 1 billion in cash receipts.”
Iowa ended fiscal 2021 with a general fund surplus of nearly $ 1.24 billion, the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency reported on September 27. Reynolds said in her speech that Iowa already had $ 1 billion in cash revenue, but the print version of her speech said, “and in the past she has cited that $ 1 billion figure for the reserve. state treasury. We think she was just wrong. The legislative agency said the state’s combined cash reserve and economic emergency fund for fiscal 2021 was actually $ 801 million, about $ 200 million less than what Reynolds said. declared.
Claim: “Four million fewer Americans are working now than they were before the pandemic. “
The governor’s office highlighted a report by Yahoo Finance on the US Department of Labor’s Job Postings and Workforce Turnover Summary Report released earlier this month. However, the report says the civilian workforce shrank by around 2.4 million participants last month from February 2020 levels.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in June 2021 that there were 4.9 million more people unemployed and able to work in the fourth quarter of 2020 than at the end of 2019. Experts noted that there could be a number of factors why people choose not to work, such as lack of child care or concerns about the virus.
Claim: “Iowa is in a better position than most, with the ninth highest labor force participation rate in the country. But we’re still down from where we were at the start of 2020. ”
Iowa has the ninth-highest labor force participation rate in the United States, which calculates the percentage of the population aged 16 and over who are either working or actively looking for work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in December that Iowa was behind Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Washington, DC
In December, Iowa’s labor force participation rate was 66.8%, about 5% above the US average. But that’s down from the start of 2020.
In January 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that Iowa’s labor force participation rate was 70%. This is 3.2 percent higher than the current rate.
Claim: “Five of the top 10 positions in the state are careers in health care, with RNs and practical nurses at the top of the list. “
As of January 11, the day of Reynolds’ speech, five of the top 10 jobs on the Iowa Workforce Development job board were in the healthcare industry. Registered nurses and licensed practical nurses topped the list in positions 1 and 2, followed by licensed practical nurses and registered professional nurses; doctors and surgeons; and physiotherapists.
Claim: “The importance of a strong public school system is reflected in the state budget, where public education accounts for over 56% of our public funding. “
Public education is the most important item in the state’s balance sheet.
Of $ 8.2 billion in general fund appropriations, Reynolds’ budget proposal for fiscal year 2023 – which will span the year starting July 1 and ending June 30, 2023 – includes $ 4.6 billion. dollars in overall spending on education, including the Department of Education and the Iowa Board of Regents. This represents 55.8% of state spending, which is 56% of all state spending claimed by Reynolds.
Claim: “… For K-12 (education), that’s over $ 3.7 billion, and it has grown by almost $ 1 billion over the past decade.
Reynolds’ budget proposal for fiscal year 2023 calls for $ 3.68 billion in spending for K-12 education. This represents an increase of about $ 1 billion since fiscal 2012, when the state spent about $ 2.6 billion.
Claim: “When US News and World Report ranked Iowa the number one opportunity state last year, it wasn’t because we wanted to. It’s because we deserved it.
While Reynolds is correct that the US News and World Report ranked Iowa number one on their opportunity ranking list last year, more context is needed as “opportunities” are ranked. according to several parameters. The opportunity rankings take into account three categories: affordability, economic opportunity and equality. Iowa ranked fourth in affordability, 12th in economic opportunity and 27th in equality.
Among 71 other measures ranked by the US News and World Report this year, Iowa ranked 27th in economy, 19th in infrastructure and 23rd in fiscal stability.
Statement: “Iowa is a leader in renewable energy. In fact, we are at the forefront of the nation in the production of ethanol and biodiesel and the crops that make them. “
Iowa was No.1 in ethanol and biodiesel production in 2020, according to the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association – which is independently confirmed by the US Energy Information Administration.
Iowa also remains a leader in wind power, which was not mentioned in Reynolds’ speech. Wind power provided 57% of electricity production in the state, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2021 Onshore Wind Turbine Market Report. That’s leagues ahead of the more than 30 percent produced in Kansas, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and North Dakota.
The Fact Checker team checks statements made by an Iowa political candidate or national candidate about Iowa, or in advertisements that appear in our marketplace.
Complaints must be independently verifiable. We assign marks from A to F based on accuracy and context.
If you spot a complaint that you think needs to be verified, email us at [email protected].
The Fact Checker team members are Elijah Decious, Erin Jordan, Marissa Payne and Michaela Ramm. This fact checker was researched and written by the team.