By Paul McKinley – Iowa Senate Republican Leader
It’s déjà vu all over again.
Early in life, we are taught to learn from our mistakes. Governor Culver has chosen to repeat them. This week, he announced he wanted to raid another $45 million from the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund and plow it into his temporary government make-work plan known as I-Jobs.
You may be familiar with I-Jobs. If not, here’s a brief recap:
In the final hours of the 2009 session, Governor Culver and legislative Democrats, without the vote of a single Republican in the Senate or House, passed a $890 million dollar bonding scheme to create temporary government make-work. Once the bonding fees and interest are paid off over three decades, the total bill to our children and grandchildren will swell to roughly $1.7 billion dollars.
At the time, 80,000 Iowans were unemployed and Governor Culver and legislative Democrats promised it would create 30,000 jobs. They touted it as the program that would revitalize Iowa’s economy. Today, 111,000 Iowans are unemployed with many more who are underemployed. 30,000 jobs were promised; over 30,000 have actually been lost.
Governor Culver recently admitted to some reporters that he hoped it would create hundreds if not over a thousand jobs. A far cry from the 30,000 he guaranteed only months ago. Another classic case of government over promising and under delivering. Is there any wonder why an Iowa Poll sponsored by The Des Moines Register found 71 percent of Iowans opposed to the governor’s plan?
Iowans have made it clear that they want sustainable private sector jobs not more debt, bigger government and failed promises. Governor Culver and legislative Democrats are again headed in the wrong direction. This entire session has been a missed opportunity to make serious progress on private sector job creation.
That is why Senate Republicans have been not only talking about private sector job creation every day – we have offered numerous bills and smart solutions that would make it easier for small businesses, entrepreneurs and employers to invest once again in our workforce. Republicans are the party of jobs.
Iowans know it is unacceptable to be 49th in the nation according to US News & World Report or 41st in the country according to the Small Business Survival Index when it comes to business climate competitiveness. We know it is intolerable to have 222 manufacturing plants close their doors in 2009 alone. We know it is not suitable to allow two-thirds of Iowa counties to lose population in 2009 because there has not been enough job creation to keep people from leaving.
A recent editorial by Kathie Obradovich, The Des Moines Register’s political columnist, gave Republicans the edge when it comes to job creation. Many Senate Republicans are current or former employers who have created jobs and know what it takes to be successful and provide opportunities for others. We know more government programs designed to pick winners and losers, bigger tax increases and more burdensome regulations are not the key to job creation.
Iowa should be the destination place for anyone to open a business or chase their dreams. We have safe, welcoming communities, a wonderful education heritage and a dedicated and devoted workforce. We have a state that offers ample potential – 99 counties worth of it.
Yet, we have a government that has set up too many barriers. So what do investors, small business owners and entrepreneurs need from the government in order to begin investing here, expanding here and creating jobs here? They need stability and commitment.
They need stable fiscal policies so they know what to expect if they come to Iowa or expand here. The wayward budgeting of the last three years has produced higher job-killing property taxes and other tax and fee increases. When we must compete not only with our neighboring states but other countries all over the world, we must ensure stable fiscal policies that do not rock the boat. Job creators need clarity and stability.
With stability comes commitment. We must commit to keeping our state a Right-to-Work state and avoid many of the anti-jobs bills that have been discussed during the last few years. Whether it be the repeal of federal deductibility, radically changing our workers compensation system, altering collective bargaining or allowing a price-fixing prevailing wage, all of these ideas make Iowa less attractive. Even discussing these bills and others like them in the Legislature have sent the wrong message.
We must set aside the legislation that raises taxes, puts out of balance the labor-management relationship and enacts new over zealous regulations that send jobs across our borders. We should not punish the very people who we need to help grow our state. We need stability and commitment.
We must never gauge the success of our state by the size of its government; we must instead focus on the economic prosperity of our individuals, families and communities.
Iowans are demanding a rededication to the founding principles of our state and nation. We must restore the promise of a more hopeful and prosperous future for our children and grandchildren. It can be done, it must be done and Senate Republicans are poised to lead the way.