Governor Kim Reynolds: “Safe-Sane-Steady”

This article was published in the Des Moines Register.

Whether it is fiscal conservatism, reforming state government, fighting against the radical woke cultural Marxism, or fighting to protect American soil, Governor Reynolds is leading Iowa as a strong conservative.

“Safe-Sane-Steady” was one of the campaign slogans used by President Calvin Coolidge during the 1924 presidential campaign. “Safe-Sane-Steady” reflected Coolidge’s policies and his landslide victory in the election demonstrated that the American people agreed. In 2024, “Safe-Sane-Steady” can be applied to Governor Kim Reynolds. Since entering office whether it is fiscal or social policy, Governor Reynolds has pushed for commonsense conservative policies that place families and taxpayers first. Iowans agree, and they have not only reelected Governor Reynolds, but also expanded the Republican majority in the legislature.

A recent editorial by The Des Moines Register argues that Governor Reynolds “picked this Legislature and it steamrolled an extreme path for Iowa.” Further, the Register’s editorial advises that Iowans “should wrap up its experiment with extremism, not just to better serve residents, but because we worry what Reynolds might try to do next.”

What has been the policy agenda that the Register and their liberal fellow travelers view as extreme? In terms of fiscal policy, Governor Reynolds has made tax relief a priority. Since 2018, Governor Reynolds and the legislature have enacted tax reform measures. Iowa once had some of the highest income tax rates in the nation. Starting in 2025, Iowa will have a 3.8 percent flat tax, which will be the sixth lowest income tax in the nation. The legislature passed this tax bill on a bipartisan basis, which included some progressive Democrats.

Critics of the Governor’s tax policy constantly “cry wolf” and argue that every tax cut will lead to a “fiscal Armageddon.” Iowa’s fiscal condition tells a different story. For the last several years the budget has been in surplus, reserve accounts are full, and the Taxpayer Relief Fund continues to grow. The budget surplus for fiscal year 2024 is estimated to be $1.9 billion and a surplus is projected for fiscal year 2025. The Taxpayer Relief Fund has a $3.7 billion balance and the Legislative Services Agency (LSA) fiscal note on the tax bill estimates that the legislature may not even need to transfer dollars from the Fund in order to cushion the budget as a result of the tax cut. Revenues continue to remain strong even with the phased-in taxes.

The Register notes that the acceleration of the flat tax will “cost the state treasury $1 billion over two years.” First, these dollars do not belong to the government, but rather, they are a direct result from Iowa families and businesses who pay taxes. Governor Reynolds and the legislature are returning the money back to taxpayers.

Governor Reynolds is also criticized for recent property tax reforms, which at best provide more transparency for taxpayers while slowing the growth of how much local governments can collect from assessment windfalls. The legislature in passing property tax reform was responding to the overwhelming demand of Iowans who want property tax reform. Further, the Governor is correct that the source of high property taxes is local government spending.

The Register’s editorial is also critical of Governor Reynolds getting involved in the primaries of her own political party and that this legislature is handpicked to do her bidding. The Governor has every right to support conservative candidates within the Republican Party even if they are challenging incumbents. As to the legislature being handpicked, this is hardly the case. Even though the Governor and the legislature agree on many issues this session demonstrated that many of her priorities did not get “rubber stamped” such as AEA reform, income tax cuts, and the boards and commissions consolidation.

Iowans are supportive of this conservative agenda as demonstrated by recent election results. The higher-than-expected demand to participate in the ESA program is further evidence that Iowa parents support the Governor’s efforts to expand parental choice in education. Iowans even support the tax reform efforts and the Register’s own poll demonstrated that 62 percent favor gradually eliminating the income tax. 

Whether it is fiscal conservatism, reforming state government, and fighting against the radical woke cultural Marxism, Governor Reynolds is leading Iowa as a strong conservative. She is also responding to the failures of the federal government by trying to respond to the immigration and border crisis and make it more difficult for foreign adversaries to purchase farmland.

“Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant, but that they know so much that isn't so,” stated Ronald Reagan in a 1964 speech on behalf of Senator Barry M. Goldwater.

Governor Reynolds is fighting for conservative values that put families and taxpayers first and she reflects many of the values of President Coolidge. Iowans agree with her commonsense conservative agenda. If the Register wants to see what a truly extreme policy agenda looks like they only need to look to our Minnesota neighbors.

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