Gov. Reynolds awards $26.6M in Child Care Business Incentive Grants

Release Date

DES MOINES, IOWA – Governor Kim Reynolds today awarded $26.6 million in grant funding to 23 projects intended to help businesses jumpstart new child care opportunities and make it easier for Iowans to find child care options through their employer. 
 
The Child Care Business Incentive Grant is awarding 19 projects with $25.9 million to address infrastructure projects, while four projects will receive $603,433 to support agreements between businesses and local centers that create new child care slots. In total, today’s funding from Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) and the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will involve 67 employers and is expected to create nearly 1,786 child care slots. 
 
View a list of today’s awardees  View the map of awardees
 
“Iowa businesses know that access to quality child care is a major factor in employees’ ability to work,” Gov. Reynolds said. “These awards will support and incentivize employer investment in child care resources on site or through community partnerships and strengthen our efforts to provide high quality child care throughout the state of Iowa.” 
 
The Child Care Business Incentive Grant was established this year to enable businesses and employer consortiums to build on-site child care centers or partner with local child care providers to increase new child care slots for employees. This grant program advances one of the top recommendations of the Child Care Task Force - to incentivize business engagement in child care. 
 
“Not only do today’s awards help employers create or expand child care for existing workers, but they also enhance their ability to be successful in attracting and retaining new employees,” said Beth Townsend, Director of Iowa Workforce Development. “Our focus moving forward must remain on addressing these specific types of barriers to provide options for families and create an environment where the local workforce can thrive.” 
 
“These grants support Iowa’s investment in quality child care options and strengthen parents’ ability to provide for their families while gaining the benefits of early learning for their children,” said Iowa Department of Health and Human Services Director Kelly Garcia. “As a working mom who still has a child in care, I see first-hand the advantage children who engage in early learning have and deeply understand the need for additional access in our State. These grants take that next step forward in ensuring Iowa’s commitment to achieving better access for all.” 
 
Today’s awards continue the state’s commitment to funding meaningful child care projects across the state. To build on these successes, IWD and HHS are announcing a second round of funding for the Child Care Business Incentive slots grant. This new opportunity seeks to provide additional flexibility in the ways employers can partner with local child care providers to meet the needs of their employees. Grants will support projects that increase licensed or operational child care slots, add slots to meet new time/day requirements of employees, or fill currently licensed (but unfilled) slots for the benefit of employees. 

  • Applications are now being accepted at IowaGrants.gov. Applications are due by 11:59 a.m. on October 17, 2022. 

  • Click here for Notice of Funding and Application Information: Link 

 
Including today’s announcement, the state of Iowa has awarded 191 projects with approximately $75.6 million in grant funding to help create over 10,700 new child care slots. 

Gov. Kim Reynolds, IWD announce lowest unemployment insurance rates for employers in over two years 

Release Date

DES MOINES - Gov. Kim Reynolds, IWD announce lowest unemployment insurance rates for employers in over two years 
 

Governor Kim Reynolds and Iowa Workforce Development announced today the schedule of unemployment insurance rates used to tax Iowa employers will drop to its lowest level in 24 years – the lowest rates currently allowed by Iowa law. 

“Today’s announcement is great news for our employers who are already dealing with significantly increased costs due to historic inflation,” Gov. Reynolds said.  “Iowa faced the pandemic and its economic impacts head on, and due to our conservative fiscal practices and prudent investment in Iowa’s Unemployment Trust Fund, unemployment insurance taxes in our state will soon reach their lowest rates since 1999.” 

Iowa law requires Iowa Workforce Development to establish a table each year to determine the unemployment tax rates that will impact eligible employers. The trigger for deciding which unemployment insurance rate table to implement is derived from a formula based primarily on the balance in Iowa’s unemployment insurance trust fund, unemployment benefit history, and covered wage growth.  

Based on this formula, contribution rates will be drawn from Table 8 in calendar 2023 after five consecutive years of being drawn from Table 7. The switch means that a business paying the median tax rate (on employee wages totaling $36,100 or more annually) and remaining in the same tax rank as 2022 would pay $72.20 less per employee in unemployment taxes in 2023. 

Today’s announcement follows a decision by Gov. Reynolds last year to invest $237 million in ARP funds to stabilize the unemployment trust fund following record payouts due to COVID-19. In 2020, at the heart of record unemployment, Gov. Reynolds also directed that $490 million of CARES Act coronavirus relief funds be used to support the UI trust fund.  

“Governor Reynolds’ commitment to maintaining and preserving the Unemployment Trust Fund throughout the pandemic will result in real savings for Iowa employers in 2023,” said Beth Townsend, Director of Iowa Workforce Development. “Employers will see, on average, a 25 percent reduction in their unemployment taxes next year, and those savings will provide more resources for Iowa employers to invest in growing their businesses.” 

 

Gov. Reynolds issues a statement in response to court’s decision to enjoin CMS vaccine mandate rule 

Release Date

Today Gov. Reynolds released the following statement on the district court’s decision to enjoin the CMS vaccine mandate rule:  

“Iowa is fighting back against the Biden Administration’s attack on individual liberties and I applaud the court’s decision to enjoin the vaccine mandate rule for Medicare and Medicaid certified providers and suppliers.   

“Medical providers that have been on the frontlines of this pandemic saving lives deserve the freedom and ability to make their own informed health care decisions.   

“I believe the vaccine is the best defense against COVID-19, but I also firmly believe in Iowans’ right to make health care decisions based on what’s best for themselves and their families, and I remain committed to protecting those freedoms. President Biden should do the same.”   

The State of Iowa has five state-run health care facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding: the Iowa Veterans Home, the Cherokee and Independence Mental Health Institutes, and the Glenwood and Woodward Resource Centers.  

Gov. Reynolds pardons two turkeys, part of longstanding Thanksgiving tradition 

Release Date

Gov. Kim Reynolds pardoned two turkeys today at Terrace Hill in Des Moines, continuing a longstanding Thanksgiving tradition celebrating Iowa’s Turkey Industry. Stuffing and Squash will move from The Slinger Farm in Ellsworth to Living History Farms in Urbandale.  

“In a year plagued by workforce shortages and supply chain issues, Iowa turkey farmers have worked tirelessly to ensure millions of families will have a turkey for Thanksgiving,” said Gov. Reynolds. “This year especially, we recognize the breadth and value of farmers to provide food for our tables and grocery store shelves, and we give thanks to the ag industry, which is the backbone of our economy. I am proud to pardon Stuffing and Squash and celebrate Iowa’s turkey producers.”  

Stuffing and Squash were raised by Iowa Turkey Federation President Ben Slinger and his family in Ellsworth. Staff from the Iowa Turkey Federation attended the event, along with Secretary Mike Naig, Lt. Governor Adam Gregg and their families.  

Iowa ranks seventh in U.S. turkey production, producing more than 12 million turkeys annually, and fifth in turkey processing. The state has two turkey processing plants: Tyson Foods in Storm Lake and West Liberty Foods in West Liberty, which combined produce more than 13 million turkeys annually. 

Gov. Reynolds has participated in the turkey pardoning every year since she’s been governor. 

Turkey Pardoning 2021

 

Federal court rules in favor of states in tax mandate lawsuit  

Release Date

A federal district court judge in Alabama ruled on Monday in favor of 13 states suing the Biden Administration over an unclear provision of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) that attempts to prohibit states from cutting taxes.  

The State of Iowa joined the lawsuit in March, which challenges a provision of ARPA that prevents states from using ARPA funds to “directly or indirectly” offset tax cuts. The court found that Congress exceeded its authority by attaching vague and ambiguous conditions on receipt of the ARPA funds. 

The court wrote in part:  

“The language of the Tax Mandate makes it impossible for States to make an informed choice about the costs of receiving ARPA funds because it is impossible to know how to exercise taxing authority without putting ARPA funds at risk. Money is fungible, meaning ‘of such a nature that one part or quantity may be replaced by another equal part or quantity in paying a debt or settling an account’ or ‘capable of mutual substitution: interchangeable.’ Thus, any ARPA funds the Plaintiff States receive could be viewed as indirectly offsetting any reduction in net tax revenue from a change in state law or policy." 

“This is a major victory for the State of Iowa and Iowa taxpayers,” said Gov. Reynolds. “The Biden Administration was trying to punish fiscally responsible states like Iowa, which has a record budget surplus, and that’s why we took legal action. With this ruling, Biden’s Administration can’t keep us from cutting taxes and I look forward to doing just that.”  

The Court permanently enjoined this provision of ARPA against the plaintiff states.

Governor Reynolds extends Harvest Proclamation 

Release Date

Today, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed an extension to the proclamation relating to the weight limits and transportation of grain.  

The proclamation is effective immediately and continues through November 30, 2021. 

The proclamation allows vehicles transporting corn, soybeans, hay, straw, silage and stover to be overweight (not exceeding 90,000 pounds gross weight) without a permit for the duration of this proclamation. 

This proclamation applies to loads transported on all highways within Iowa (excluding the interstate system) and those which do not exceed a maximum of 90,000 pounds gross weight, do not exceed the maximum axle weight limit determined under the non-primary highway maximum gross weight table in Iowa Code § 321.463 (6) (b), by more than 12.5 percent, do not exceed the legal maximum axle weight limit of 20,000 pounds, and comply with posted limits on roads and bridges. 

 See the proclamation here

Gov. Reynolds to challenge Biden Administration’s vaccine mandate CMS rule 

Release Date

Gov. Reynolds today announced that the State of Iowa has filed a lawsuit challenging President Biden’s vaccine mandate rule for Medicare and Medicaid certified providers and suppliers. 

“Medical providers that have been on the frontlines of this pandemic saving lives deserve the freedom and ability to make their own informed health care decisions. 

“Not only is this an attack on individual liberties, it’s yet another mandate that will further exacerbate the critical workforce issues currently impacting the health care industry across the country. 

“I believe the vaccine is the best defense against COVID-19, but I also firmly believe in Iowans’ right to make health care decisions based on what’s best for themselves and their families, and I remain committed to protecting those freedoms. President Biden should do the same.”  

The State of Iowa has five state-run health care facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding: the Iowa Veterans Home, the Cherokee and Independence Mental Health Institutes, and the Glenwood and Woodward Resource Centers. 

A copy of the filed lawsuit can be found here.  

Gov. Reynolds orders flags at half-staff in honor and remembrance of Fairfield teacher Nohema Graber 

Release Date

Gov. Kim Reynolds ordered all flags in Iowa to be lowered to half-staff Tuesday, November 9, 2021 from sunrise to sunset in honor and remembrance of Nohema Graber, a Fairfield high school teacher who was killed last week.  

A public memorial service is planned for Graber tomorrow night at the Fairfield High School. Private services are planned for a later date. 

“My heart goes out to the family, friends, colleagues, and students that are dealing with this tragic murder of Nohema Graber,” said Gov. Reynolds. “Ms. Graber touched countless children’s lives through her work as an educator across our state by sharing her passion of foreign language.”  

Flags will be at half-staff on the State Capitol Building and on flag displays in the Capitol Complex. Flags will also be half-staff on all public buildings, grounds and facilities throughout the state.   

Individuals, businesses, schools, municipalities, counties, and other government subdivisions are encouraged to fly the flags at half-staff for the same length of time.  

Gov. Reynolds orders flags at half-staff in honor, remembrance of former U.S. Rep. Neal Smith 

Release Date

Gov. Kim Reynolds ordered all flags in Iowa to be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday, November 10, 2021, in honor and remembrance of former Congressman Neal Smith. He passed away on Tuesday, November 2, 2021, at the age of 101. 

“Rep. Neal Smith was an American hero and a true Iowa treasure. He faithfully served our state as Iowa’s longest-serving member in the U.S. House of Representatives and leaves behind a storied legacy in our state and across our nation. Kevin and I join with Iowans to extend our condolences to his family, friends and colleagues across Iowa and far beyond our borders.”   

Flags will be at half-staff on the State Capitol Building and on flag displays in the Capitol Complex. Flags will also be half-staff on all public buildings, grounds and facilities throughout the state. 

Individuals, businesses, schools, municipalities, counties and other government subdivisions are encouraged to fly the flag at half-staff for the same length of time as a sign of respect.