DES MOINES -- House Republican Leader Christopher Rants (R-Sioux City) delivered end of session remarks to the Iowa House of Representatives today. The following are his remarks, as prepared for delivery:
Mr. Speaker, ladies and gentlemen of the House…I direct my first comments to the pages – who unlike most, understand the direct correlation between Guitar Hero and John Galt. I hope that this year was a rewarding one. I’ve got to say that I think this is the best group of pages we’ve ever had.
Before I get along too far I want to say how proud I am of the Republicans in this chamber. To my assistant leaders, Kraig, Rod, Linda, Doug, & Jeff, thank you, and thank you Representative Raecker.
To my staff, Jeff, Josie, Allison, Lon, Brad, Mary, Ann, Lew, Kelly, Noreen and Jason, thank you for all you do.
And to all the members of our Republican Caucus, thank you. We stood at the wall ready to fight for what we believed. That willingness allowed us to save Iowa’s Right to Work Law. We did what we could to stop the tax increases, we tried to maintain the integrity of our spending limitation law and we worked in a bipartisan way, as long as we were included in the decision making, on health care reform this year.
Thank you. We fulfilled our responsibilities as representatives of our constituents.
Now, I’d like to take this chance to point out a few of the lessons I’ve learned sitting at this desk. Some of the lessons I admittedly did not want to learn, some of them may be of interest to no one but me, and some of them are about very serious things.
For example, I’ve learned quorum calls are like watching the Godfather trilogy…every time you think they are about to end, they just keep going. They never end and when they finally do and I’m not really sure what happened.
I’ve learned that the best way to ensure that your priorities become law is simply to make sure that they are the same priorities of Senator Gronstal. I joked last year that he’d become Speaker Leader Governor Gronstal. I don’t think it’s a joke anymore.
I learned that the best way to keep a secret in this building is to simply draft a plan that is a priority of organized labor. You can be assured that nobody gets to see it, read it or understand it before it hits the floor.
I was taught a lot of lessons over the years by a lot of people. People like Ron Corbett, Brent Siegrist and Chuck Gipp taught me how to be Majority Leader, and Dick Myers, Dave Schrader and Bob Arnold taught me how to be Minority Leader. One of those lessons was that regardless of how much you disagree with what the minority leader says in their remarks on the floor, as long as they are not being disrespectful, you always give them latitude. I can’t tell you how many times I listened to Dave Schrader and Dick Myers excoriate the Republican majority without being cut off or hit with a point of order. They were extended latitude. I learned that is not the case anymore. Democrats will not extend the same courtesy to Republicans that we extended to you.
You know, one of the things that has always frustrated me is the notion that all of us up here are the same. That Republicans and Democrats aren’t any different from each other. You hear it all the time from voters frustrated with their government – that it doesn’t matter who they talk to because they results are always the same.
I think the last two sessions have put that misguided notion to permanent rest. There are significant differences between the two parties.
In the last two years, Democrats in this chamber have raised taxes and increased state spending by nearly ONE BILLION dollars and still had to brake the expenditure limitation law to satisfy their absolutely unquenchable need for more government spending.
Even on the last day – surprise! Another $7 million dollar property tax increase that was never talked about.
All, all, in the face record revenues and with money literally pouring into the state treasury at a record level.
It’s like watching a scary movie where the teenager goes outside to investigate a strange noise. You know he’s going to do it, but when he’s does, you still can’t believe he actually went through with it. That’s what it was like watching the majority party blow through the expenditure limitation law.
Watching Iowa’s Agenda, I heard one Democrat say the following:
“We in the majority seek the assistance of the minority to help the majority party recognize when maybe there are things we’ve not seen and bring these issues forward, and hopefully we can influence enough people that our funding doesn’t get out of control.”
Well, Republicans have been holding up warning signs for the last two years – and you’ve run through them all. This time, the bridge really is out – we are facing $500 million in built-in expenditures with no new funding, all in a time of economic uncertainty.
I know how Democrats bristle at the charge of being elitists. Nobody likes to be put into that club. I know those of you in the majority party certainly don’t think you belong in that category.
Well, if that is truly the case, then explain the following:
You gave Microsoft a big tax break, but didn’t extend the same to smaller Iowa-based technology companies.
You’ve been openly hostile to Iowa’s homeschoolers, while literally dumping millions of new dollars into public schools.
You thought it was okay to mandate gym class, but it wasn’t okay to mandate the Pledge of Allegiance.
You tried to force Iowans to pay union dues, regardless if they belong to union or not.
You let big casinos drive through a loophole in the smoking ban, but you stuck it to small town restaurants and bars.
You found money for an antique organ, but you couldn’t find the money for the deaf and blind children.
You gave Principal a nice $750,000 gift for the riverwalk here in Des Moines, but you couldn’t find any money to help fix old buildings on main street.
You gave a big pay raise to the governor, but you raised taxes on hundreds of thousands of working class Iowans who just want to be left alone to live their lives and make their own way.
And you know, I think that is the enduring theme of this legislature. A legislature which has continually told Iowans that we’re going to do this for your own good – whether you like it or not, because government knows best.
This legislature has made a deliberate effort to limit liberties in the name of what some of you think is the public good. Now I’m about to do something that I didn’t think I’d ever do. I’m going to quote Hillary Clinton. I apologize to the Obama supporters but I found this quote from Senator Clinton and I think it perfectly describes the attitude of this General Assembly for the last two years.
In 2004 Senator Clinton said, “We’re going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.”
The pages who read Atlas Shrugged know what a looter sounds like when they’ve heard one. Well, that’s a looter, and this chamber is full of them.
Republicans came in here looking to find bi-partisan consensus on things like education standards for kids, making healthcare more portable, and finding relief for the property tax payer. We worked with you where you let us. When we disagreed with you, we did it out in the open. But when the going got tough, you dropped the bi-partisan compromise in favor of political expedience behind closed doors.
You raised taxes, increased government spending, limited the ability of people to make informed decisions about their own behavior. All, I assume, in the name of helping those who can’t help themselves. All in the name of the little guy, of the forgotten man.
Ladies and Gentleman, the forgotten man the last two sessions was the taxpayer.