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February 2009

Sen. McKinley: McKinley's memos

Paul_mckinley Earlier this week my colleagues in the Iowa House successfully defeated the prevailing wage price fixing legislation after nearly 70 hours of weekend voting shenanigans ensued and Iowans from every community in the state spoke out in strong opposition. This bill, like many other anti-job union boss bills, would cripple Iowa employers and soak property taxpayers with even higher taxes. Speaking to reporters and admitting this legislative defeat was a damaging blow to the union boss agenda, the Speaker of the House spoke of Governor Culver’s involvement in trying to push this bill saying, “He did give 100 percent on this one.”

While the governor was willing to give 100 percent to an effort backed by some of his biggest special interest campaign donors that would cripple Iowa’s employers and businesses, raise property taxes and harm Iowa jobs, I pledge to continue to give 100 percent toward the priorities that Iowans care about like spurring economic growth and job creation, protecting Iowa’s rural schools, keeping government limited and living within its means, making health care more affordable and defending the personal freedoms of Iowans so they can flourish and be prosperous in our communities. Iowans should know that during these challenging economic times, I will continue to be the voice of fiscal responsibility and good government and act with disciplined leadership and fiscal integrity.

While the House was able to defeat the price fixing prevailing wage legislation this week, the governor and his party members in the Legislature are still strongly supportive of it and may try again yet this session. The doctor shopping legislation is still alive in the Senate and could be debated at any time. This bill, if enacted, will deeply diminish the quality of health care for Iowa workers while drastically increasing workers compensation insurance premiums for employers and businesses. In all, this bill will mean fewer jobs for Iowans at a time when there are already approximately 80,000 Iowans out of work.

Governor Culver and his legislative counterparts could also push through their forced unionization bill which will allow union bosses to garnish the wages of Iowa workers in order to pay for lobbyists and further expand the union agenda. Iowa workers and families will not only lose freedom, they will lose hundreds of dollars that could otherwise go towards stimulating the economy through the buying of groceries, the fueling up of the family vehicle, the paying of heating bills or the purchasing of necessary medications. They are also intent on bringing forward a collective bargaining bill that will gut the authority of local governments like school boards, city councils and county boards of supervisors while at the same time adding millions of dollars of new property taxes onto already heavily burdened property owners.

The governor and his legislative counterparts in the House and Senate also made it crystal clear that they are very interested in eliminating federal deductibility which would essentially mean that Iowans will be taxed twice. As it stands now, Iowans are able to deduct their federal tax liability from their state tax liability in order to greatly reduce their overall state income tax burden. They want to eliminate this deduction so taxpayers have to pay more in state income taxes and therefore have more money to spend on growing government and paying for more pork projects. Estimates suggest it could cost taxpayers as much as $700 million dollars in additional taxes paid to state government. Eliminating this will put an even greater strain on lower-income and middle-income taxpayers and take money out of the pocketbooks Iowans who would otherwise use those hard earned dollars to stimulate their local economies through the purchase of daily necessities.

Since the state budget is already facing hundreds of millions in self inflicted budget deficits, eliminating federal deductibility and therefore raising taxes on Iowa families could be a way for the governor and his party legislative members to fill the gaping budgetary hole they’ve created after two years of ineffectual fiscal stewardship. However, Governor Culver, during his annual Condition of the State address, made it clear that he would not raise taxes to balance the state’s budget. If they were to follow through with his plan, Governor Culver would be breaking a vow he made to three million Iowans just weeks ago.

Beyond the upcoming budget battles, the possibility of a major tax increase as a result of the elimination of federal deductibility, and the looming anti-job union boss labor bills, there is also a proposal that has moved out of committee that would shrink Iowa’s role in future presidential elections to near irrelevancy. This proposal pushed by the majority party would mean that our state would no longer award our electoral votes solely based on who wins the popular vote in Iowa but instead on who wins the national popular vote. Under this proposal, a candidate could lose in Iowa but win the national popular vote and still get Iowa’s electoral votes. Iowa will be reduced to flyover country as candidates will instead campaign in more heavily populated metropolitan areas. As a result, our voters will be ignored and our issues will be swept aside.

Though times may be difficult now, I am confident and optimistic that Iowa can rebound better than ever because I know we have the best educated, hardest working and most dynamic workforce found anywhere. If we stick to the principles and traditions that has made this state a destination for millions to happily call home, I am convinced that our brightest days will be yet to come.

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

Paul McKinley

Iowa Senator


Rep. Paulsen: A plan to G.R.O.W. our economy

Paulsen This week, freshman members of the House Republican caucus rolled out a Republican plan to put Iowan’s back to work and improve the state’s economy. The G.R.O.W. (generating recovery and opportunity for working Iowans) plan uses a variety of methods such as tax credits, tax deductions and constitutional protections to lift Iowa’s slumping economy.

Last week we got a glimpse what ideas the Democrat-controlled Legislature has for the economy - higher taxes and more regulation. House Republicans believe this is absolutely the wrong direction, they do nothing to put Iowans back to work, and it was time to put ideas on the table which will free up the entrepreneurs and employers in this state to do what they do best – create jobs and grow our economy.

Briefly, the plan focuses on the following proposals: Constitutionally protect Iowa’s right-to-work law, Expand student loan interest deduction, Expand shovel-ready permits, Create a telecommuting tax credit, Implement a Social Security tax deduction,. Expand the Small business internship grant program, Increase the research activities credit, and Freeze property taxes

This legislation will spark Iowa’s economy and be a step in the right direction to put the 80,000+ Iowans who are unemployed back to work. Visit the House Republicans’ website (www.iowahouserepublicans.com) for more detailed information.

Deappropriating the Fleet

Also this week, the House took up House File 414 which is a “de-appropriations bill”. First of all, realize this bill actually spends more than it cuts. It also transfers one-time funding source dollars to cover on-going expenses. This is the same method of balancing the budget used the past two years and is the primary reason we are in this budget mess.

What I really want to mention regarding this bill is that, as you recall, House Republicans promised to bring more truth and transparency to the state budget process. Several weeks ago House Republicans added a feature to our website designed to get Iowans’ input for budget savings. Today we followed through to implement some of those ideas.

Over the span of a month, we have received more than 500 submissions from Iowans. As part of the Republican plan to cut wasteful spending, Republicans offered the following amendments on House File 414:

H-1093 by Reps. Raecker, Wagner and Helland increases the cut to state government by $8 million by reducing the office supply, service contracts and equipment purchases expenditure line items. It was a total shock to me that the state spends around $20 million a year on pens, pencils, paper clips and other office supplies. This averages out to be $820 per state employee. What it really looks like to me is a wasteful slush fund.

H-1085 by Reps. Watts, Raecker, Alons requires the Iowa Telecommunications and Technology Commission to develop a request for proposal to sell or lease the Iowa Communications Network during FY 2010.

H-1086 by Reps. Raecker, Alons, Watts prohibits the Department of Administrative Services from purchasing new vehicles for the state vehicle fleet for the remainder of FY 2009 and FY 2010. Iowa has 2,956 cars and trucks and on average, the state sells off and replaces about 600 of them every year. In his research, Rep. Raecker uncovered that we spend $18 million in annual maintenance and other expenses to operate the fleet, which is valued at $17.6 million. This is absolutely crazy. The state has some of the newest vehicles on the road. See http://www.iowahouserepublicans.com

We offered a few other amendments but these three were ideas that came from Iowans like you. We have spent the last 7 weeks diving into budgets and listening to the ideas of Iowans with the goal of weeding out waste and inefficiencies. This is the start – if you have additional ideas please submit them at http://www.iowahouserepublicans.com

Regrettably, the majority party decided not to accept a single one of these proposals. I do not understand why these were rejected. But we believe in time these efforts will bear fruit for a leaner more efficient and transparent state government and we are committed to staying at it.

Lastly, following up on the discussion surrounding the prevailing wage bill that has dominated the Legislature for the past couple weeks—the Majority Leader has put a motion to reconsider on the bill. This is a procedural motion that could permit him to reconsider the bill at a time of his choosing.

So while Iowans have been victorious for the moment, we must remain attentive. I am very confident that House Democrats will attempt to pass this legislation before we adjourn for the year. Please continue to stay engaged on this issue and let us know where you stand.

I know I do not get to respond to every email you reply with individually, but I do read them and make note of your concerns. Thanks for being interested in House Republicans and your state government.


Board/Commission/Committee Vacancies

IOWA CITY, IA. -- Board/Commission/Committee vacancies have been updated. All current vacancies are available at: http://www.iowa-city.org/icgov/apps/boards/vacancies.asp

Pig Editor's Note:  Have you noticed how local government behaves as if it's some kind of conglomerate, a corporate employer?  Even though these vacanices are voluntary, the planning, announcing, conducting, clean up of meetings, tours, phone calls, supplies and computer usage all costs taxpayer money.  Lots of it!  So is the city council looking at any of these areas for budget cuts during these lean economic times?  HECK NO!  They'll just raise taxes!


Embracing Tolerance and Diversity

Getting along with those of similar beliefs, values, and cultural backgrounds is easy. Getting along with those whose beliefs are different than ours can be another story. Should we try to embrace those differences or reject them because they might threaten those values we hold dear to our heart? Is anyone truly without prejudice? Is it our duty to convince others that our chosen path is the right path?
Join us as we explore several topics that tend to polarize our society. The three sessions are as follows:

Mar 26 - Religion, Anti-Semitism, and Palestine

April 2 - Ageism: What does it mean to grow old?

April 9 - Poverty and Economic Depression

Thursdays, March 26-April 9
7:00 - 8:30 PM
At the Iowa City Senior Center

Free & Open to the Public, registration is required. Register by calling 319-356-5220.

Editor's Note:  Another taxpayer funded event being promoted as "Free".  Is the city government trying to indoctrinate seniors?  Who is *teaching* this class?  The government is our nanny?

 


Public Policy Center hosts flood symposium March 10-12

The University of Iowa Public Policy Center is hosting a lecture and symposium Tuesday, March 10, through Thursday, March 12, offering opportunities to better understand the disastrous floods of summer 2008.

Editor's Note:  The U of I is kidding us right?  Like nobody around here knows how disastrous the flooding of 2008 was?  Puuuuulllllleeeeeeaaaaassssseeeeee!  Your tax dollars at waste....

This story sponsored by:

Taxpayer waste management 

Think Green: Think about the green leaving your pocket! 


Colorectal Cancer: What You Need to Know About Screening Options

Colorectal Cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Colorectal cancer can be prevented by removing polyps detected during early screening. Join the Holden Cancer Center's Cancer Information Service staff to learn the latest about colorectal cancer screening.

Wednesday, Mar 11, 1:30 - 3 PM at the Senior Center
This program is free and open to the general public.

Editor's Note:  Another taxpayer funded event being promoted as "Free".  Aren't there enough colorectal advertisments and programs on radio, TV, magazines, and the Internet?  Why is the city using taxpayer dollars for this kind of stuff?  Iowa City government is your nanny?


Charitable Giving

Your family, friends, and favorite organizations hold a special place in your heart. That's why you've helped them in the past and probably want to continue doing so for years to come. During the Charitable Giving seminar you will learn:
What assets you can gift and when;
How to maximize the benefits of your gift for both yourself and the recipient; and
How to incorporate charitable giving into your estate plan.
Share your dreams and build your legacy the way your want.
Wed. March 11, 6:30-7:30 PM at the Senior Center
Presented by Jeff Rudolph
This presentation is free and open to the public-register by calling 356-5220.

Editor's Note:  Another taxpayer funded event that is being promoted as "Free."  And why do we need the government putting on a seminar about charitable giving?  Iowa City residents are subsidizing the Senior Center to the tune of about $850,000 annually (that's YOUR money being spent)....  To conduct seminars and senior singles dinners.....  During these lean economic times, is this a wise use of taxpayer money?


Managing Challenging Behaviors: How to Improve Care for Persons Living with Dementia

This presentation will provide a brief overview of Alzheimer 's disease, the challenges and outcomes associated with care giving, and outline a conceptual modelcalled the Progressively Lowered Stress Threshold (PLST). PLST was developed to help caregivers better manage behaviors associated with dementia. Key elements of the PLST intervention and its application will be emphasized.
Friday, March 13, 1 PM at the Senior Center
Presented by Dr. Kathleen C. Buckwalter
Free and open to the general public

Editor's Note:  This is being promoted as "Free".  It's anything but.  Taxpayer dollars are used for the labor of city employees.  This is how some government loving loon justifies a job.  Tax dollars are used for the research, planning, coordination, marketing, production, and cleanup of the event.  Utilities, facilities.....  It's all on your dime, its not "Free".  And why is the city doing health seminars?  You want information on Alzheimer's?  There are all kinds of sources out there, the city putting on a seminar is completely unnecessary.


U.S. Rep. King: Pro-amnesty group receives $950,000 in omnibus

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressman Steve King today made the following comments about a $950,000 earmark for the National Council of La Raza, a pro-amnesty organization, in the omnibus spending bill that passed the House Wednesday and is currently under consideration in the Senate.

Steve king “Hard-working Americans ought to be outraged that the latest liberal spending spree includes a giveaway to a pro-amnesty group,” King said. “American taxpayers do not support La Raza’s agenda or its position in support of amnesty for illegal aliens. At a time of great economic unrest, the last thing Congress should be doing is handing out cash to apologists for immigration law breakers.”

The $950,000 earmark for La Raza is in the Transportation/HUD portion of the omnibus bill. The funds are designated for “capitalization of a revolving loan fund to be used for nationwide community development activities.”


House Republicans Put Iowans’ Suggestions in Motion

DES MOINES, IA. -- In order to bring more truth and transparency to the state budget process, House Republicans added a feature on their website designed to get Iowans’ input for budget savings. Today House Republicans followed through to implement some of those ideas.

Over the span of a month, House Republicans have received more than 500 submissions from Iowans. As part of the Republican plan to cut wasteful spending, Republicans are offering the following amendments on House File 414:

H-1093 by Reps. Raecker, Wagner and Helland increases the cut to the Executive branch by $8 million by reducing the office supply, service contracts and equipment purchases expenditure line items by $8 million.

H-1085 by Reps. Watts, Raecker, Alons requires the Iowa Telecommunications and Technology Commission to develop a request for proposal to sell or lease the Iowa Communications Network during FY 2010.

H-1086 by Reps. Raecker, Alons, Watts prohibits the Department of Administrative Services from purchasing new vehicles for the state vehicle fleet for the remainder of FY 2009 and FY 2010.

Paulsen “Republicans have been diving into budgets, weeding out waste and inefficiencies,” said House Republican Leader Kraig Paulsen. “We’ve also been listening to the ideas of Iowans. We appreciate all the ideas that we have been given and are happy to start incorporating them into real legislation.”

House File 414 is the deappropriations bill which reduces Fiscal Year 2009 general fund appropriations by $30.3 million, transfers $48 million into the general fund and makes $17.3 million of supplemental appropriations.