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Where do Iowa's gubernatorial candidates stand on taxes, abortion?

During the debate on Monday, candidates Kim Reynolds and Deidre DeJear hit hard on two topics: taxes and abortion.

JOHNSTON, Iowa — Iowa made history with Monday's gubernatorial debate on PBS: It was the first debate in Iowa to feature two female candidates running for governor. 

Despite being two women, however, candidates for governor Kim Reynolds and Deidre DeJear had polar opposite opinions on several topics. 

Two of the most important issues at stake in this election that made an appearance during the debate are tax policies and abortion. Let's break down where each candidate stands on the issues. 


While serving her first term as a Republican governor in Iowa, Reynolds boasted about signing three tax cuts into law while in office. 

"Our individual income tax rate was nearly 9%," Reynolds said. "When this is fully implemented, it'll be 3.9%, flat and fair." 

Back in March, Reynolds signed a $1.9 billion tax cut, changing the law to make Iowa's individual income tax a 3.9% flat rate by 2026. 

Democratic candidate DeJear said these tax breaks are only helping out select tax brackets. 

"Since the governor has been in leadership, those tax cuts have had minimal if any impact on low to moderate income individuals," DeJear said. 

Reynolds' tax plan has four tax brackets, ranging from 4.4% to 6%. In the next few years, the top rate will gradually eliminate to 3.9%. 

Based on those numbers, if you are earning $10,000 with the current tax rate, you'd be paying close to $600 in taxes. But with the flat tax rate at 3.9%, you'd be paying around $400. 

On the flip side, if your earnings are $60,000 a year, you'd be paying around $7,000 a year with the current tax rate. With the flat tax rate, you'd be paying around $2,000. 

"I've indicated that we're not done, we'll continue to look at it, but we're going to continue to do it in a responsible manner, so that we can sustain the tax cuts," Reynolds said. 

DeJear sees Reynolds tax cuts as short-sighted, believing the state should be keeping that money and investing it into community programs, rather than cutting taxes. 

"What I've come to find out is why those tax cuts don't add value," DeJear said. "What does add value are the systems that help around them, like strong education, access to health care, mental health care services, things that mitigate them having to respond to emergencies, access to housing."


On the topic of abortion, both candidates shared personal stories as a way to support their views. 

Reynolds shared her pro-life stances, saying she will continue to uphold the fetal heartbeat bill she signed in 2018. The courts enjoined the bill, but with the overturn of Roe v. Wade, she has asked them to revisit that ruling. She intends to uphold the courts decision as law. 

"I believe that we should do everything we can to protect the life of the unborn," Reynolds said. 

Tensions ran high as Reynolds claimed DeJear supports late-term abortions. 

However, DeJear never stated she is in support of late-term abortions during the debate, though she did share her belief that choices of this magnitude belong to women. 

"My personal belief has no space in a woman's doctor's appointment, when she goes into that doctor to make a decision that's within her best interest," DeJear said. "That that is her decision. And my personal belief should not be in that room, and no other politicians opinion should be in that room."

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