In what has been a recurring theme for the Republican governor, Kim Reynolds this morning took credit for a new Iowa project funded largely by one of President Joe Biden’s policies while also sharply criticizing Biden’s policies. The only difference today was just how little time elapsed between the two statements.
“We have a good story to tell, and it is a significant contrast to what we see coming out of the Biden Administration in Washington DC,” Reynolds said immediately after touting a major new initiative made possible by what’s coming out of the Biden Administration in Washington DC.
She also knocked Biden for inflation and “soaring gas and food prices,” something Republicans often blame on Biden’s Rescue Plan and infrastructure spending.
Reynolds was holding a press conference to announce a sweeping $100 million effort to improve school safety, investing funds mostly from Biden’s Rescue Plan. The federal funds will get Reynolds’ School Safety Bureau finally funded and off the ground, which the Republican-run state legislature has yet to allocate money for.
The Governor’s quip was in response to a reporter’s question about her reelection matchup with Deidre DeJear, the Democratic nominee (Iowa’s primary was last week).
“We’re empowering parents, we’re making sure the kids are safe,” Reynolds said as she contrasted what she sees as her Iowa record to Biden’s. “I feel good about what we’ve been able to do.”
Moments previous she was lauding the money coming out of Biden’s Rescue Plan, which she slammed last year as a “blue state bailout” and used to raise money for her campaign, to fund a program she started.
“I am pleased to announce the state is making $100 million investment in school safety … In January of 2020, I established the Governor’s School Safety Bureau, a new division within the Department of Public Safety, to support Iowa schools and law enforcement,” Reynolds said. “Now, with today’s investment, the bureau will have the resources it needs to be fully operational and support all schools.”
The vast majority of the $100 million is coming from Biden’s Rescue Plan, which apparently there’s still enough of sitting around unused for Reynolds to pull from at any given moment. Some of the funds will come from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER), which has been funded under both Donald Trump and Biden’s administrations. Reynolds noted ESSER was covering the digital aspect—in their press release, two digital parts account for $7.5 million.
A full $75 million will go to the School Safety Improvement Fund, which will include $50,000 for each and every school building in Iowa to implement safety upgrades and/or a safety plan. Other aspects will fund vulnerability assessments for schools, radios for schools, digital software for online threat tracking, and more.
Another chunk of the money will fund the operations of the School Safety Bureau, which takes just $1.5 million annually to run. That $1.5 million per year is what Republicans at the Statehouse couldn’t bother to find money to allocate in order to help keep children safe at school.
A reporter asked Reynolds to clarify whether the Legislature ever passed the funding.
“No, um, you know, but, but it hasn’t stopped us from doing stuff, and so I hope that’s the message we’re trying to deliver,” she said. “We didn’t get the funding, so we haven’t stood it [the School Safety Bureau] up in the manner that it needed to be stood up, but now we will be able to, which I think is a wonderful use of the some of the funds that are coming into the state, because it’s infrastructure.”
Iowa reported a budget surplus near the end of last year of over $1.2 billion.
by Pat Rynard
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