In the past decade, opioid-related deaths have more than doubled, and will continue to rise unless we take action to reverse this heart-wrenching trend. My plan to address this epidemic includes, increase use of the Prescription Monitoring Program, supporting enhanced intervention for Iowans addicted to opioids, and expanding medicated assisted treatment.
And today I am calling on the legislature to pass legislation to reduce the number of opioids prescribed in Iowa. This is a big step in the right direction. It will change lives and provide opportunities for a brighter future.
We have also maintained our commitment to school choice, which offers families the option to teach their values, beliefs, and viewpoints to their children. That's why my tax reform plan will expand 529 plans to include K-12 education.
I commend the number of women who have found the courage to speak out. As a woman, a mother of three girls, a grandmother, wife, sister, and daughter, I understand we're at an unprecedented moment in time.
I also understand that this is not a partisan issue. It can't be fixed by legislation or rule-making alone. You cannot legislate kindness or respect or morality. They must be taught. And that means the solution starts with every individual, man or woman. It's about showing respect to others. It's about character and decency. And it's about changing the culture once and for all.
I continue to call on Congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. But we can't wait for Congress to fix it.
Almost two years ago, we modernized our Medicaid system to an individualized, patient-centered approach that was already in place in 39 other states. It was a change that needed to be made.
I still believe managed care is the right decision for Iowa, but it has become very clear that mistakes were made in how it was done. With our new team in place, we are continuing to work with our Managed Care-Organizations to ensure Iowans are getting the best possible outcomes. And we are reaching patients in new and innovative ways to individualize their care.
150,000 more Iowans have mental health coverage today and have access to more local and modern services. We've invested $2 billion in mental health services. And in 2016 we invested $4 million in a new psychiatric medical residency program to recruit and retain more psychiatrists.
But we must do more, and I know we can. I look forward to an exciting new initiative, where every new doctor will receive the training and skills to identify and treat a patient with a mental health challenge. I have included money in my budget for this innovative program. It will be the first-of-its-kind.
But here's the thing: Because of an outdated provision in Iowa's tax code, Iowans will see a tax increase if we don't pass tax reform at the state level. Iowa is 1 of only 3 states that allow taxpayers to deduct their federal taxes. While that might sound like a good thing, right now it's not. It creates complexity, and worse--it means that when your federal taxes go down, your Iowa taxes go up.
With federal deductibility in place, when the federal government cuts taxes for working-class families, Iowa raises taxes on those same families. That's not just a hypothetical. It's what will happen if we don't act.
Therefore, I will be proposing a tax reform package that significantly reduces rates, modernizes our tax code, and eliminates federal deductibility. This is an opportunity to free us from decisions made in Washington, D.C. and simplify our tax code.
So today I'm announcing a new initiative that focuses on rural Iowa, which I have asked Lieutenant Governor Gregg to lead. We will bring together leaders from across Iowa with different backgrounds to be part of this effort. Iowans who have lived in rural communities all of their lives, those who recently moved there, young professionals, successful business owners, and those just starting out.
This new initiative will promote investment and connect rural Iowa by expanding broadband capabilities in every corner of our state. Our goal: to keep and bring home Iowa's sons and daughters and grow the next generation of community leaders.
The above quotations are from 2018 Governor's State of the State speeches.
Click here for other excerpts from 2018 Governor's State of the State speeches.
Click here for other excerpts by Kim Reynolds.
Click here for other excerpts by other Governors.
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