By Paul McKinley – Iowa Senate Republican Leader
Perhaps as early as next week, the Legislature will adjourn for the year. Many will sleep easier at night knowing the Legislature is not in session stripping away more liberties and freedoms or voting for more tax increases and bigger government. But for those who are in dire need of tangible results in the areas of spending reform, job creation and property tax relief – they will again be left with the sour taste of disappointment.
Week after week, the list of missed opportunities grows longer. Missed opportunities in job creation, in responsible budgeting and in shielding property taxpayers.
It should not come as a surprise to anyone that the vast majority of Iowans believe Iowa to be on the wrong track.
Overall, though, Iowans should not interpret the complete lack of focus on the priorities Iowans care about to mean that the Legislature is not doing anything during this shortened 80 day session. Each day, numerous bills are debated and passed by the Legislature. Many bills are non-controversial and just make the law books fatter with “code clutter” that is of little consequence to every day Iowans.
Yet, of course, there are still many really bad bills that hit middle-class Iowans directly where it counts: smack-dab in the pocketbook.
For example, legislative Democrats, with the blessing of Governor Culver, passed a bill that according to the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency will increase taxes by $122.7 million dollars. Desperate to find more revenue to feed their spending addiction and continue the same budgeting mistakes of the last three years, legislative Democrats are taking more from your budget in order to pad the government’s budget.
But wait there is more.
Earlier this week, legislative Democrats, in partisan fashion, passed a bill that increases fines and fees by as much as 400 percent for those pulled over for speeding, failure to wear a seat belt and other traffic violations. They trumpeted the fact that it would bring in $8 million more dollars annually. Once again, government gets more to spend at your expense. In typical fashion, Democrats view legislation from the standpoint of how it affects the government’s budget while Republicans look at it from the perspective of how it influences the individual’s finances.
These bills are on top of Governor Culver’s massive property tax increase and many other anti-jobs bills. When a state loses 222 manufacturing plants in one year – the equivalent of losing more than one plant every two days – common sense would suggest that we would reverse course, right? Well, that has not happened.
Instead, Governor Culver and legislative Democrats continue the same tired policies that are bankrupting our state and leaving our children and grandchildren to wonder if they will be afforded the same kinds of opportunities their parents and grandparents enjoyed.
We believe this is the wrong time to be raising taxes and fees on Iowans. The actions taken this week, like many of the other tax and fee increases passed by this Legislature, really highlight the bright line of distinction between the two parties.
One party, the Republican Party, is working hard to earn back the trust of Iowans by being the party of jobs and fiscal competency – while the other continues to push policies that drive jobs away and make government bigger and more bloated.
As the 2010 session draws to a close in the coming days and final deliberations on Iowa’s next budget are held, you can be confident that the Senate Republicans will continue to be the watchdog for the taxpayers of Iowa.
All session long, we have focused like a laser on jobs, reducing spending and property tax relief. We know these are the issues Iowans care about because we have listened carefully. Though we may not yet have the votes to change the course of this session, Iowans are resilient, they love this state and they long to leave a positive lasting legacy.
They know, like we know, that there is a better way. The political tide is turning.