Issues Page


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Public Safety - Our First Responsibility

Rob Hogg believes public safety is government’s first responsibility.

Unfortunately, crime is up in Iowa, especially in rural areas. According to the Iowa Department of Corrections and the Iowa Board of Parole, recidivism has increased from 29% in FY14 to 35% in FY17. Combined with an increased number of people being released, Iowans are now being exposed to nearly 500 more crimes a year at the higher rate of recidivism.

Despite this upward trend, Gov. Reynolds and the Republican majority in the Iowa Legislature made more cuts to corrections, the courts, public safety, and victim services.

In 2018, Governor Reynolds and the Republican majority in the Iowa Legislature cut corrections (which includes community supervision of those on probation and parole) by $3.4 million (SF2117) on top of a $5.75 million mid-year cut in 2017 (SF130).

In 2018, Governor Reynolds and Republican legislators cut public safety (which includes state troopers, the state fire marshal, and other public safety) by $200,000 (SF2117) on top of a $1.75 million mid-year cut in 2017 (SF130).

In 2018, Governor Reynolds and Republican legislators cut our courts by $1.6 million (SF2117) on top of a $3 million mid-year cut in 2017 (SF130).

In 2017, Governor Branstad and Republican legislators cut victim services by $1.7 million, or 26% (SF509).

In 2017, Governor Branstad and Republican legislators took away collective bargaining rights for our public safety workers (HF291).

Public safety involves more than traditional law enforcement and corrections. Republicans have also cut our mental health institutes by $1.7 million (HF653), substance abuse treatment through our public health department by $2.5 million a year (SF2418), and human services field operations including abuse investigators by more than $12 million, or 16%, on an ongoing basis since FY2015 (SF130/SF2117/SF2418).

Rob Hogg believes we must restore workers' rights for our public safety employees and restore these budget cuts so our public safety, corrections, and public health officials have the resources they need to keep Iowans healthy and safe.


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Fix the Medicaid Mess and Health Care

Rob Hogg supports state policies that improve health and provide access to health care for all Iowans. He believes state government, in cooperation with the federal government, has a duty to provide a health care safety net for all Iowans. Unfortunately, Governor Reynolds and the Republican majority in the Iowa Legislature are taking us in the wrong direction on health policy.

Governor Reynolds is continuing the Medicaid privatization mess that she started with Governor Branstad in 2015. Privatization of the administration of Medicaid is hurting patients (who have had services delayed or denied), health care providers (who have had payments delayed or denied), and taxpayers (who must now pay for the profits of out-of-state insurance companies for services previously provided by Iowa public workers).

We have a provider shortage in Iowa, but Governor Reynolds and the Republican majority in the Iowa Legislature cut state funding for medical training at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and Broadlawns by $8.1 million (SF2418).

We have a mental health crisis in Iowa, but Branstad and Reynolds closed two of the state’s mental health institutes, in Mount Pleasant and Clarinda, and along with Republican legislators cut $1.7 million from the state’s two remaining mental health institutes (HF653).

Tobacco use rates are increasing again, but in 2017, Governor Branstad and Republican legislators cut tobacco prevention funding by $1.2 million a year (HF653).

We have widespread substance abuse problems including the opioid crisis, but Governor Reynolds and Republican legislators have cut substance abuse treatment by $2.5 million a year, as part of overall cuts to the Department of Public Health (SF130/SF2117/SF2418).

In 2017, Governor Branstad and the Republican majority ended a federally-funded family planning program – to disqualify the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and Planned Parenthood – at the cost of millions of dollars being used to create an ineffective state program in its place (HF653).

Rob Hogg supports fixing the Medicaid privatization mess as quickly as possible. He supports reinstating the family planning program that funded prevention services by Planned Parenthood and the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. He supports medical education funding so we can have the health care workforce we need. He supports restoring funding for substance abuse treatment, tobacco prevention, and mental health.


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Support Working Families

Rob Hogg supports state policies that help workers, families, and the middle class, and he opposes policies that hurt them in favor of wealthy special interests.

Senator Hogg is proud that he voted to raise the minimum wage in 2007, and he supports raising the minimum wage again as part of a high-wage economic development strategy. His high-wage economic development strategy includes more research and development, more education and job training, more start-up assistance, more infrastructure investments, more community improvements, and more local foods, food processing, renewable energy, clean water, and natural resource investments.

Unfortunately, over the last two years, the Republican majority in the Iowa Legislature and Governors Branstad and Reynolds have taken away workers’ rights and local minimum wage increases, and have undermined local economic development policies in favor of out-of-state special interests.

Specifically, they took away local minimum wage increases in Linn, Johnson, Polk, Wapello, and Lee Counties (HF295). They took away collective bargaining rights for Iowa’s public service workers (city, county, state) (HF291). They circumvented “Buy American” and “prevailing wage” rules for road projects (HF203). They took away local control over worker qualifications for construction projects (SF438) as well as the ability to support local workers through lease-purchase agreements (HF2253). Perhaps most seriously, they created new barriers and reduced compensation for injured workers (HF518).

Rob Hogg supports restoring workers’ rights, improving work safety, increasing the minimum wage, and promoting high-wage jobs with good benefits through a better economic development strategy for our state.


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Fund Iowa Schools

Rob Hogg supports excellence in education from early childhood to college and job training for our children, our economy, and our future. We all need a skilled workforce for our economy today and in the future. That requires more state investment in education and job training.

In the Iowa Senate, Senator Hogg helped establish Iowa’s four-year-old preschool program, Iowa’s science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) initiative, and community college programs that help students gain job skills for better-paying jobs in areas such as health care, industrial technology and renewable energy.

Unfortunately, over each of the last two years, the Republican majority in the Iowa Legislature and Governors Branstad and Reynolds have short-changed our public schools with funding levels (1% and 1.1%) that have not kept up with inflation (SF166/HF2230).

We know that early childhood education is one of the best investments government can make, but Republicans actually cut it by more than $1 million a year (HF641).

We know that our community colleges and universities are essential for jobs today and in the future, but Republicans actually cut our community colleges over $5 million in mid-year cuts, and they made over $30 million in mid-year cuts to our universities (SF130/SF2117). Today, the state provides $96 million less financial support for our three universities than it did in 2008 and is below the funding levels provided in 1998. No wonder tuition and fees are going up.

Rob Hogg will work to restore the cuts to education. He believes that more students need vocational educational opportunities and job training. Connecting education to the jobs of today and the future makes education more relevant. He believes that innovation in education requires investment. He believes that school employees deserve a living wage. He believes that more students need service learning opportunities to engage young Iowans in the public life of our communities, our state, and our country.


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Flood Mitigation and Disaster Preparedness

After the Flood of 2008, Rob Hogg led the legislative effort to help citizens who were flooded and to rebuild Cedar Rapids and other communities. Throughout that event, he worked to provide more help to people and businesses damaged by the flood and to make sure we rebuilt smarter, safer, and more sustainable than before. In 2010, he helped form the Cedar River Watershed Coalition to prevent future flood damage and improve water quality, and continues to serve as its co-chair. In 2012, Senator Hogg led the effort to pass the Iowa Flood Mitigation Program with unanimous bipartisan support in the Iowa Senate (SF2217 in 2012). Today, that program has already helped build flood mitigation infrastructure in Waverly, Dubuque, and Coralville, and is providing ongoing infrastructure assistance in Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Iowa City, Council Bluffs, Storm Lake, and Burlington.

Unfortunately, Governor Reynolds and the Republican majority in the Iowa Legislature have already started to forget the lessons of the Flood of 2008 and so many other disasters (like the 2016 flood pictured here). They cut an additional $28,000 from the Iowa Flood Center in 2018 (SF2415) on top of a $300,000 cut in 2017 (HF642).

Since 2016, Republicans have cut the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) floodplain management program by $115,000, or 5.75% (HF2491).

In addition to these cuts, Governor Reynolds and Republican legislators have cut natural resource programs that could help Iowa prevent future flooding, such as the Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) program, which has been cut by $6 million over the last two years (SF510/HF2491), as well as eliminating funding for the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture (SF510). Overall, Republicans cut the DNR by an additional $123,000 in 2018, (SF2117), on top of $1.45 million in cuts in 2017 (SF130), with a total ongoing cut of $1.7 million, or 11.4% (HF2491).

Rob Hogg believes we need comprehensive water, flood, and drought policy in Iowa to safeguard our people and our property. In 2018, he proposed Senate File 2161. This bill would restore funding for the Iowa Flood Center and the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, fund the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund, and provide more pre-disaster hazard mitigation, drought monitoring, water quality monitoring, goals, timetables, and reporting to address flooding, drought, and water quality.


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For Clean Energy and Clean Water

Rob Hogg supports clean energy and clean water solutions. We have real environmental problems that need to be addressed. The good news is we have solutions that create jobs, grow businesses, help farmers, save consumers money, and improve our health, as well as meeting our obligations for the environment and future generations.

Clean energy and clean water jobs include renewable energy manufacturing, installation, and production; energy-efficient green buildings; rail infrastructure; new and updated water infrastructure; green infrastructure; and soil conservation practices, wetland restorations, and other natural resource enhancements. Iowa is well positioned to be a leader in these clean energy and clean water industries today and in the future.

Senator Hogg has a record of accomplishment for clean energy and clean water. For example, in 2012, he worked across party lines to pass Iowa's solar energy tax credit that has helped build over 2,000 projects, attracted investment of more than $100 million, and created over 700 jobs in the solar energy industry that did not exist before the adoption of the tax credit.

Unfortunately, Governor Reynolds and the Republican majority in the Iowa Legislature are taking us backwards on energy and water. In SF512, they passed a so-called clean water bill that includes no watershed approach, no monitoring, no reporting, and no timetables or deadlines for achieving results. The funding provided in the bill is subject to future cuts, just like Republicans have cut the Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) program by millions below its statutorily provided level (SF510/HF2491).

Republicans also passed SF2311 which puts an arbitrary cap on utility energy efficiency investments well below current levels, jeopardizing future energy savings and the 20,000 jobs that exist in the energy efficiency industry in Iowa today. They also voted to stop funding for the Iowa Energy Center (SF513) and took away the property tax rollback from new wind power projects (HF2502, § 94).

Rob Hogg believes that these bills move Iowa in the wrong direction. As climate change jeopardizes our future, and Iowa's water problems persist, we must unite for strong action for clean energy and clean water, not just for the environment, but also for jobs today and in the future.


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Support Veterans and Seniors

Rob Hogg supports veterans and seniors. He believes we must honor veterans for their service to our country by caring for their needs. He believes we must help seniors stay in their homes as long as they can and want to do so. Unfortunately, over the last two years, the Republican budget mess has been hurting veterans and seniors, too.

In 2018, Governor Reynolds and the Republican majority in the Iowa Legislature cut aging services by $110,000 (SF2117) on top of the $530,000 cut in 2017 (SF130). Since the original budget for FY2017, aging services have been cut by $1.73 million, or over 12% (SF2418). Iowa’s Department on Aging has lost over 50% of its employees, cut from 40 to 17, over the last nine years.

Due to budget cuts, Iowa’s ombudsman now does investigations of nursing home complaints by phone, rather than in person.

In 2018, Governor Reynolds and the Republican majority in the Iowa Legislature cut the Iowa Veterans Home $37,000 (SF2117) on top of the $200,000 cut in 2017 (SF130). Overall, since 2016, they have made an ongoing cut to the Iowa Veterans Home of $432,020 a year (SF2418).

In 2017, Governor Branstad and the Republican majority cut veterans home ownership assistance by 20% or $500,000 (HF653). None of that cut was restored in 2018 (SF2418).

Rob Hogg supports restoring these cuts, supporting services for veterans through the County VA system, and supporting services for seniors through the area agencies on aging. He supports expansion of the Veterans Court, currently available only in Woodbury County (pictured here), to other judicial districts.

Senator Hogg wants to fix the Medicaid privatization mess, make mental health services available to all Iowans, and ensure that dental services are available, especially for low-income veterans and seniors. He also supports property tax reform that would help veterans and seniors, especially those living on fixed incomes.


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For Fiscal Responsibility

Rob Hogg supports fiscally responsible government that meets its obligations for education, public health, natural resources, and public safety, and invests wisely for our future. He has made tough decisions – such as opposing government building projects and corporate giveaways, reducing the number of middle managers in state government, and cutting redundant information technology systems – to make sure state government is run as efficiently as possible and has the resources it needs to serve Iowans.

Unfortunately, under Governor Reynolds, the state's budget has been a mess. Over the last two years, the Republican majority in the Iowa Legislature and Governor Reynolds and Governor Branstad made major mid-year budget cuts to education, public safety, human services, veterans, aging services, and natural resources (see chart). These major mid-year budget cuts disrupted services, cost jobs, and raised college tuition.

While Republicans said the state did not have the money, they were in fact making these cuts to help justify the reckless and costly tax bill they passed on May 5, 2018, that primarily helps the wealthiest taxpayers (SF2418).

It fails the Iowa common sense test to make major mid-year budget cuts, then turn around and cut taxes, especially for the wealthiest.

Here is how the GOP tax bill is tilted toward the wealthiest, by showing the average income tax cut in 2019 for taxpayers based on taxable income:

For annual taxable income of $1,000,000 or more, average tax cut is $18,773.

For annual taxable income between $70,000 and $80,000, average tax cut is $215.

For annual taxable income between $30,000 and $40,000, average tax cut is $92.

That is badly skewed in favor of the wealthiest taxpayers. At the same time, the tax bill is also expected to raise sales tax revenue by over $130 million a year, paid for primarily by working families and the middle class.

Rob Hogg opposed this reckless tax bill. He supports tax reform that actually helps Iowans, like the bill signed by Governor Vilsack that phased out state income taxes on Social Security income. Rob Hogg supports property tax reform that helps low-income homeowners, veterans, and seniors, especially those living on a fixed income. However, he opposes tax cuts that are fiscally irresponsible and fail to help working families in Iowa.

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