imageBy State Senator Paul McKinley

Iowa Workforce Development announced this week that our state’s unemployment rate remains well above 6 percent.

While some may take solace in the fact that our state’s unemployment rate is much lower than the national average, due in large part to our strong agricultural economy, Senate Republicans believe that having over 106,000 Iowans unemployed with many enduring a loss of hours, furloughs, benefit cuts and reduced wages is unacceptable.

For the past few years, Governor Culver and his party members in the Legislature took the approach that it is okay to let government pick winners and losers. Their strategy has been to create large pots of taxpayer dollars like Culver’s failed I-JOBS program, and then put together a small board of people to spend it inefficiently and ineffectively.

Meanwhile, Culver and his Democratic colleagues in the House and Senate systematically worked to undermine Iowa’s job climate, raise property taxes, push a detrimental job destroying labor boss agenda and unsuccessfully attempted to eliminate federal deductibility.

Just where has that agenda gotten us to this point? Our state lost 222 manufacturing plants in 2009 and two-thirds of our counties lost population because of a lack of job opportunities.

This past November, we saw rather definitively that Iowans are tired of that failed agenda.

Yet this week, the Iowa Senate Democrats were back at again.

They unveiled a handful of proposals on Wednesday that would only continue to repeat the same mistakes of the past four years.  Among them, they want to dump even more taxpayer dollars into yet another state fund so government can continue to pick winners and losers.

Meanwhile, they have turned a deaf ear and a blind eye to the problems for which they are responsible: four years of unbalanced budgets, higher taxes and unaffordable government run health care.

That’s why Senate Republicans are excited to lead when it comes to private sector job creation.

What Senate Republicans are proposing is a recommitment to the principles that have built this state and nation into the envy of all the world. We recognize that government does not create jobs (though it sure can kill them) – it’s the private sector, small businesses, employers and entrepreneurs that will create jobs. We believe it’s time to empower the individual and the entrepreneur – not the government.

Small businesses and employers need confidence and certainty – they need to feel comfortable that government is not going to rock the boat by raising taxes or adding more burdensome barriers. Iowa’s families and job creators need real and broad-based property tax relief and responsible government budgets that do not get bigger at the expense of the family budget.

They need to know that bureaucracies will stop imposing new and unfair mandates, rules and regulations. They need to be reassured that their elected officials will stop trying to alter the labor-management balance.

Senate Republicans know it is time to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit and ingenuity of the private sector to again lead the economic revitalization of Iowa. Our state is dotted with businesses and employers who have grown into the life-blood and bedrock of their communities, and it is time to again make Iowa a state that is open to growth, expansion and relocation.

What Iowa offers is unmatched and unsurpassed. Our people are hardworking, compassionate and truly interested in building a better Iowa for their children, grandchildren and future generations of Iowans. They deserve a government that is as good as its people.

A bigger, more powerful government is not the answer – that is the status quo of the last four years.

We cannot afford for that to be repeated.

It’s time to learn from the mistakes of the last four years. Senate Republicans are excited to work with Governor Branstad and our colleagues in the House of Representatives to instead work to empower all Iowans to build better lives for their families and those in their communities.

State Senator Paul McKinley (R-Chariton) is the Iowa Senate Minority Leader

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