Pella Chronicle

Opinion

August 13, 2009

McKinley’s Memos

For lots of Iowans, August is an important month. Often, it is the month were many families and students are beginning to get ready for the start of classes and extra-curricular activities at our schools, colleges or universities. This is also the month where families may get away, perhaps somewhere closer to home in Iowa this year, for a quick vacation. It’s a time when hundreds of thousands of Iowans descend on Des Moines for a unique tradition unlike any other: the Iowa State Fair.

Yet, this year it is important because of the major policy discussions happening all over our country. Unlike some years, much of the August political attention this year is focused on the debate unfolding in Congress about the future of health care in America. Many Iowans are concerned about the risky and expensive health care experiment being pushed in Washington that would hand as much as one sixth of the country’s economy over to the government and they are worried about plans under consideration for a national energy tax.

However, there is important news about Iowa’s state government and budget too. After a 21 percent increase in spending the first two years of his term, Governor Culver and legislative Democrats this year continued on their spending spree which ended with a $6.3 billion dollar budget ˆ the largest in state history. Furthermore, they forced through a very unpopular temporary government make-work program paid for by putting over $1 billion dollars on the state’s credit card. The plan does not create any sustainable permanent jobs but babies born this year will be nearly 30 years old before this debt is paid off.

For the last three years, Iowa has not experienced a significant revenue problem - but we have witnessed a severe spending problem. While revenues to the state are coming in at levels slightly less than last year, they remain close to all-time record levels. Had the governor and legislative Democrats kept spending under control, Iowa would not be faced with unsustainable and unbalanced budgets and soaring deficits that could top a billion dollars.

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