Tax Cuts Popular; The Consequences Aren’t

Iowa has had a peek at our future, but too few people have noticed. And that’s unfortunate. In case you missed the headlines last week, moderate Republicans in the Kansas Legislature finally became fed up with the fiscal mess created by Gov. Sam Brownback’s massive tax cuts. They joined with Democrats and reversed course in dramatic fashion. Lawmakers voted to restore $1.2 billion in income taxes — that’s billion, with a “b” — that Brownback and the Legislature’s Republican-majority enacted in 2012. The tax cuts five years ago were based on Brownback’s belief, and the philosophy of many conservatives elsewhere, […]

Will Iowa Republicans Push Drug Testing For Medicaid Recipients Next?

Watch out Iowa. Our political leaders seem to get many of their ideas from our neighbors in Wisconsin, and the latest idea being considered there is a real doozy. A few years ago, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and his fellow Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature went after collective bargaining by teachers and other state and local government employees. They succeeded in 2011 and restricted the ability of public workers to negotiate with government entities that employ them. Earlier this year, the Iowa Legislature and Gov. Terry Branstad picked up the Wisconsin playbook on collective bargaining and quickly implemented wholesale changes […]

Disparity In Funding For Rural Schools Getting Worse

We all want to believe that our children have an equal shot at opportunity and success. And we all want to believe that Iowa will deliver that equal shot. Who doesn’t remember Iowa sitting atop the national rankings year after year in college entrance exam scores? Who doesn’t remember Terry Branstad’s promises during the 2010 campaign for governor that he would make Iowa’s K-12 schools world class? But a report last week shows that Iowa lawmakers have repeatedly dropped the ball when it comes to providing funding equity for the state’s public schools. Because of disparities in the way the […]

The First Amendment Is Dead In Muscatine

It was quite a week last week with the buzz about impeachment. Relax. I’m not referring to President Donald Trump. I’m talking about the mayor of Muscatine. Diana Broderson was removed from office by a 7-0 vote of the city council on Thursday. The meeting lasted 3 minutes. There was no discussion by the council members, and they offered no explanation of their votes. Earlier this year, the council directed the city attorney to prepare a statement of impeachment charges against the mayor. Then the council heard two days of testimony during a “trial” this spring. The charges involved an […]

Evans: You Won’t Beat Steve King With A Former Psychic

Two of my friends are polar opposites when it comes to politics. One is oh so liberal. Excuse me, oh so progressive. The other is conservative. Quite so. They don’t often agree on issues. On other topics, they are fine. Just not on politics. That’s the reason it was so unusual earlier this month when these two found themselves agreeing on one of the most-talked-about news developments in Iowa politics since Bruce Braley made those stupid, derogatory comments about the possibility “a farmer” — read that, Chuck Grassley — might end up chairing the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. The latest […]

Big Business Wins Again Over People On Internet Privacy

It’s an unusual day when Congress can bring together the disparate factions in the United States. But our lawmakers in Washington have done just that. And it has largely slipped past public view because of cable news’ fixation on all things Trump. This is unfortunate, because the actions that occurred in the past three weeks in Washington amount to an unwarranted assault on the privacy of everyday Americans. The U.S. Senate and House votes, coupled with President Trump’s signature last week, erased a Federal Communications Commission regulation that had required internet service providers to get your permission before they provided […]

Insurance And Government Are Like Pickled Beets

The Republican health care plan was unraveling in front of our eyes when an Illinois congressman opened his mouth without first putting his brain in gear. Rep. John Shimkus objected to men having to pay for prenatal care in their health insurance policies. The reaction rained down like a spring thunderstorm. Shimkus was criticized for his insensitivity and for neglecting to see the role of men in the need for women’s prenatal care. Some women asked why they should have to pay higher premiums in their policies for coverage that includes men’s prostate cancer screenings or treatment of erectile dysfunction. […]

Free Speech At Colleges Getting Drowned Out By Controversy Avoidance

The T-ball mentality has spread to many colleges and universities. This trend should concern parents, grandparents, students, prospective employers and others. It should concern us because access to a rigorous education has helped make the United States an academic powerhouse in the world and has moved our nation forward economically and socially. But the attitude wrapped up in T-ball is throwing a wrench into that. The attitude draws its name from the children’s sports leagues where 5- and 6-year-old boys and girls are introduced to softball and baseball by hitting the ball off a tee. No score is kept in […]

Why Can’t We Learn To Hold Our Tongues?

Another year has come and gone, and it’s a time when people take stock of the 12 months we’ve lived through. Looking back on 2016, a bunch of words aptly describe this year: anger, division, animosity, hatred, intolerance, stress, upheaval. I wish more people were familiar with the late Albia attorney Frank J. Karpan, a charmingly cantankerous character I knew for 30 years. He was an astute observer of events and people. On more than one occasion he said, “I missed an ideal opportunity in there to keep my mouth shut.” That was Frank’s way of admitting he probably had […]

What Was Branstad Thinking When He Said “Yes”?

Iowa, this place we call home, has been a state since it was admitted to the Union 170 years ago next week. In that long arc of history, there has not been an Iowa political figure quite like Terry Branstad. Many politicians start plotting their next campaign for a higher office almost as soon as they are sworn in. Not Branstad. He has been a model of consistency (or complacency, depending on your point of view). Admire him or dislike him, you have to give Branstad credit for resiliency: Twenty-one years as Iowa’s governor, the longest-serving chief executive in Iowa […]