FILE - Virus Outbreak Test Iowa

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks during a news conference, in a Tuesday, July 7, 2020, file photo in Urbandale, Iowa.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is viewed as the big winner from the 2022 midterm elections. Both Gov. DeSantis and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio were elected in landslides. It was proof that voters in Florida support the conservative policies of Governor DeSantis. However, much of the national media ignored the “red wave” that took place in Iowa as Gov. Kim Reynolds was also re-elected in a landslide. Iowa voters not only re-elected Gov. Reynolds, but they expanded the Republican majority in the legislature, and for the first time in decades elected a Republican Attorney General and State Treasurer. Gov. Reynolds is also a national leader who is proving that governing as a conservative works.

Iowa voters overwhelmingly gave Gov. Reynolds a mandate to continue her conservative policy agenda. Iowa, just as with Florida, was a “purple” state, but over the last few years has shifted more Republican. The reason for this change is that conservative policies are working in Iowa. It is also the leadership that Gov. Reynolds has shown to Iowans.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Reynolds kept the economy open and also made sure that Iowa’s schools were open. She demonstrated leadership through her regular press conferences, communicating to Iowans during the pandemic. As a result of her economic and fiscal policies, Iowa was able to weather the COVID-triggered economic downturn.

Since assuming office, Gov. Reynolds has made tax reform a priority. This year, the governor signed into law the most extensive tax reform measure in state history. The tax reform measure will replace Iowa’s progressive nine-bracket tax rates with a flat low 3.9 percent rate by 2026. The corporate tax rate will gradually be lowered until it reaches a flat 5.5 percent rate. Starting in 2023, Iowa will no longer tax retirement income, which will benefit all senior citizens.

This year, Iowa led the nation with what is being described as the state flat tax revolution. Iowa had the most significant tax reform measure in the nation. In addition, Gov. Reynolds has balanced pro-growth tax reforms with prudent budgeting. As a result, Iowa has a $1.9 billion fiscal 2022 surplus, which is larger than last year’s surplus. Iowa has $830 million in reserve funds, which are at their statutory limit. Finally, the Taxpayer Relief Fund has a $1.6 billion balance, which is projected to increase to $2.6 billion in fiscal 2023.

As a result of her fiscal conservative record, the Cato Institute ranked Gov. Reynolds with the best fiscal policy ranking in the nation in their 2022 Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors. Gov. Reynolds has successfully balanced providing for the priorities of government along with cutting taxes and keeping spending limited. Critics have “cried wolf” that the tax cuts will be devastating to the budget, but revenue growth continues to be strong.

The national economy is confronted with the real possibility of a recession, but as a result of Gov. Reynolds fiscal policies, the state is ready to weather a national recession if it occurs.

It is not just fiscal policy that Gov. Reynolds has led, but also in education policy. Gov. Reynolds has signed into law legislation that expands school choice in Iowa by increasing charter schools and eliminating barriers to open enrollment. She is also advocating more choice by allowing dollars to follow the student rather than the school bureaucracy. In other words, Gov. Reynolds does not believe that zip codes should penalize a student from a better educational opportunity.

Gov. Reynolds has also led by fighting the radical woke agenda. Whether it is the controversial and radical curriculums that are being taught in schools or fighting against the transgender revolution, Gov. Reynolds is championing the traditional values that a majority of Iowans support.

In January, Iowa’s legislative session will convene and Gov. Reynolds will have a mandate to continue her conservative policies. It is most certain that Gov. Reynolds and the legislature will continue to implement further tax reforms. Property tax reform will be a top priority as well as expanding parental choice in education. In addition, Gov. Reynolds will continue to work to remove burdensome regulations that will allow businesses to thrive and create more opportunities for people to work.

This election demonstrated that the real policy success is happening in the states. It is unfortunate that the national media overlooks Iowa because great things are happening. This is the result of the conservative leadership of Gov. Reynolds and the Republican legislature.

Gov. Reynolds is a leading national conservative who is putting taxpayers first and defending the traditional values and constitutional rights that a majority of Iowans value. Gov. Reynolds has not backed down and we can expect more great policies in 2023.

John Hendrickson serves as policy director for Iowans for Tax Relief Foundation