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A warning, this edition is a buzzkill. And contains several run-on sentences.

What’s even more concerning than a potential windfall of your taxes flowing to private schools is the process by which the ruling party has tried to achieve it. We are witnessing several more fractures inflicted upon our already fragile democracy in the state of Iowa. In order to satisfy the wishes of a governor – who herself is satisfying the wishes of her wealthy benefactors, Betsy Devos and the private school industry – an entirely new House committee entitled “Education Reform” was created by the House Speaker. The committee was then populated by handpicked pro-voucher Republicans to shepherd through a bill that has previously failed twice to win enough Republican support due to the damaging impact on rural Iowa and because it is dumb.

Now this week, House Republicans are changing the historic “Permanent Rules” of the chamber; a bill that emerges from the Education Reform Committee can bypass the usual process of financial review by the Ways and Means Committee and/or the Appropriations Committee in order to avoid demise by anti-voucher Republicans on those committees. While the Governor’s office has estimated the voucher scheme to cost $918 million over four years of implementation (and then much more after that), bypassing these additional committees avoids cost estimates by the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency. In the end, Iowans could be left with a law that most don’t want that was passed before the price tag was ever known.

The precedent is dangerous. What unpopular pet project of the Governor’s will Republican leaders try to jam through next? It’s also short-sighted. Republicans appear to think they’re going to have the majority and governorship forever. They won’t. And with an agenda that exceedingly runs counter to the will of Iowans, that reality may soon be realized. Whether this harebrained voucher scheme passes or fails, all laws passed at the Capitol are as temporary as the lawmakers who warm the seats.

The private school voucher scheme is expected to come to a vote in the House on Monday, January 23rd. Debate may stretch far into the night. For this reason, I am cancelling this week’s Monday evening office hour at Lua Brewing. However, you are welcome to still join me for coffee Monday morning, 8am-9am at Gateway Market Café to talk politics or fly fishing.

Hang in there. This isn’t done.


  1. I don’t know who wrote this article, but my 11 year-old could do better than this. “and because it is dumb.” Is this a serious rebuttal?


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