By Senator Paul McKinley – Iowa Senate Republican Leader
If somebody asked you what Iowa’s largest industry is, what would be your guess?
Financial services and insurance?
If those are your guesses, you would be entirely wrong.
This may come as a shock to you but by percentage of Iowa’s gross domestic product (GDP), GOVERNMENT has now become Iowa’s largest industry according to a new report released by the Council of State Governments’ (CSG) Midwestern office.
The report, which utilizes data from the U.S. Census, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and RealtyTrac, notes that durable goods manufacturing is second to government, followed by finance and insurance, non-durable goods manufacturing in fourth and real estate, rental and leasing in fifth. Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, quite predictably, is our largest contributor to real GDP growth.
At all levels, our government continues to get bigger while our debt load continues to grow heavier and our unemployment levels only seem to go higher.
Since January of 2007, when Governor Culver and legislative Democrats took complete control of both chambers of the Legislature, Iowa has added over 8,000 new government bureaucrats, we’ve endured the four largest budgets in state history, added record levels of debt and increased property taxes by $526.9 million.
Iowa has far more government than our economy can support.
The level of government spending is not sustainable and it only further strains our economy and the ability for jobs to be added.
I think you’ll agree – it’s time for a change.
That’s why Senate Republicans have offered a comprehensive three point approach to begin to reduce the size of government.
First, Senate Republicans propose and support an amendment to the Iowa Constitution to limit state spending to no more than 99 percent of state revenue.
Secondly, Senate Republicans propose requiring a two-thirds supermajority vote of both houses of the Legislature to authorize new state debt.
Next, we propose a systematic process wherein every program funded by state government will be sunset (de-authorized) by a date certain unless the governor and Legislature take action to reinstate it.
Beyond real budget reform and putting an end to Governor Culver’s property tax increases, we must get serious about private sector job creation. Coupling reduced government spending with a healthy economy that creates jobs is the only real long-term solution.
But let us be clear, Senate Republicans recognize that government should have a limited and focused role to provide the essential services and protections that Iowans need and in doing so, we must ensure all dollars are spent efficiently with full transparency.
If we can firmly re-establish the notion that it is Iowans who run government and not the other way around, I am confident we will be on our way to a brighter and more optimistic future. With more freedoms, liberties, less spending and a stronger and more vibrant economy – we can begin to replace the big government status quo.