Pella Chronicle

July 31, 2009

McKinley’s Memos


Late last week, Iowans received more sobering news about the economy. Iowa Workforce Development announced that Iowa’s unemployment rate climbed to a new 23 year high at 6.2 percent. There are now more than 104,000 jobless Iowans and the numbers could get bigger before they get better.

As Iowans learn about more of their fellow citizens being out of work, the news serves as a reminder about the consequences of inaction during the legislative session by Governor Culver and legislative Democrats. They failed to enact any real substantial legislation that would spur the creation of sustainable sector jobs. According to a U.S. News and World Report study, Iowa is second to last amongst all states in friendliness to small businesses, employers and entrepreneurs. Iowa received its unwelcoming rating because of our high taxes, onerous regulations and propensity by the Legislature to consider anti-jobs bills.

In contrast, I offered an ambitious and aggressive set of solutions during the 2009 legislative session that if enacted would immediately stimulate the creation of sustainable private sector jobs. However, Democrats in the Senate refused to even allow our solutions to even be debated. Instead, they pushed forward bills that would reduce worker freedoms and the quality of workers’ health care, garnish the wages of Iowa employees and increase property taxes. Iowans understand there is a bright line of distinction between the two parties and now are living with the consequences of an agenda that does not make Iowa more attractive to job creators. Keep in mind that Iowa must not only compete with other states - we must also compete with other countries too.

There is also a growing disconnect between the common sense Iowans who live in our communities making difficult financial choices every day and the Democrat governor and lawmakers in Des Moines who, instead of making cut backs, actually grew the size of the state’s budget on the backs of our children and grandchildren. Under the current administration, Iowa continues to have unbalanced budgets, record deficits that could easily top a billion dollars and debt that continues to pile up far beyond any level ever before seen in the history of the state. Once again, Senate and House Republicans offered hundreds of millions of dollars in savings but in partisan fashion, those smart savings were rejected. Legislative Democrats said “No” to cutting out inefficiency and waste and “Yes” to a bigger, more out-of-control government.

When Governor Culver had his debt sale last week to pay for his temporary government work program, his bonds sold for a few million dollars less than projected. He sent out a statement claiming it was a savings for Iowa taxpayers. Only a debt and spend governor like Chet Culver would put over a billion dollars on the state’s credit card, make this year’s college freshmen pay it off until they are nearly 50 years old and then claim that somehow the state saved money. Only in government does spending over a billion dollars somehow equate to Œsavings’. Iowa’s government has a severe spending problem and we cannot afford for it to continue on any longer.

There has also been a lot of news during the past few weeks about Iowans having to amend their tax returns because legislative Democrats opted not to couple Iowa’s tax code with the federal tax code. Since the codes have been coupled every year for the last few decades, many Iowans assumed that it would happen again this year. It did not. Thousands of Iowans, many of whom are from areas devastated by floods and natural disasters, now have to pay the state even more money.

Senate Republicans stood on the floor of the Senate on multiple occasions and demanded that the Democrats take action but they said “No”. We offered coupling amendments to other legislation and each and every one was defeated by the current majority party. Now, Iowans are facing a $54 million dollar tax increase this year and a $63 million dollar tax increase next year. Democrats wanted the extra money to grow government and grow their record setting budget and they said coupling the codes this year would be a budget buster. It turns out they were right - the Democrat tax increases are indeed now busting the budgets of a lot of hardworking Iowa families and small businesses.

I know that many Iowans are frustrated with the direction of the state and that is why we will continue to offer bold solutions that will grow our economy, help working families and small businesses, provide necessary tax relief and keep our state’s budget from spiraling further into debt. We need a government that operates with sound judgment ˆ not against the people with tax increases, enormous debt and unbalanced budgets. It’s time for an injection of common sense, reality and leadership that actually puts the people first. I will continue to work hard to make a difference for every Iowan and re-establish the notion that it is Iowans who run the government and not the other way around.

As always, I welcome hearing from you and can be reached by phone at 515-281-3560 or by e-mail at paul.mckinley@legis.state.ia.us