Greetings from the Statehouse as another week goes by!
Minutes ago I returned from the House of Representatives where Governor Branstad presented the keynote on his budget proposal. Getting our budget under control and making Iowa more responsible will go a long way towards new business growth. That is why we are excited to lead when it comes to private sector job creation.
What we are proposing is a recommitment to the principles that have built this state and nation into the envy of the entire 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. Iowa 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.
We 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 who is as good as its people.
A bigger, more powerful government is not the answer that has been the status quo. We cannot afford to continue down this road.
We are excited to work with Governor Branstad and our colleagues in the House of Representatives to empower all Iowans to build better lives for their families and those in their communities.
In 1998, the legislature passed and Governor Branstad signed Iowa's Defense of Marriage Act. On April 3, 2009, the third branch of government, the judicial branch, weighed in on the issue. Their ruling to allow marriage to be something other than that of just between one man and one woman - greatly diverged from the wishes of the other two branches of government directly elected by the citizens.
With a clear difference existing between our three branches of government, Senate Republicans believe the only way to solve this issue is to give the voters of Iowa a chance to be the final arbiters.
While the Iowa House of Representatives is likely to pass their marriage amendment with bi-partisan support next week, Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal continues to obstruct every attempt we have made to allow Iowans a chance to vote on a Constitutional amendment that defines marriage as only between one man and one woman.
Iowans spoke out rather loudly last November as three of the Supreme Court Justices were voted out of office. It is clear that one man Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal should not stand in the way of hundreds of thousands of Iowans getting their say at the ballot box.
For the last two years, we have been fighting to give the citizens a chance to have a vote on this important issue. We have made it clear that we will respect the decision of the people but the people's wishes must be made known through a vote.
We owe it to every hardworking Iowa taxpayer to ensure that every dollar is spent wisely and efficiently.
That is why we believe that we must open the doors, windows and curtains of government. We should make it abundantly clear that more sunshine, transparency and accountability is needed not less.
If we can give our citizens new and inexpensive tools to readily scrutinize the way their tax dollars are spent, we can begin to restore the public's trust in their government again.
A bill is moving through the House of Representatives that would begin to accomplish our goal of providing more direct public oversight of our tax dollars.
House File 6 calls for the creation of a searchable budget and tax rate database that will compile information so Iowans will be able to readily and easily access where their tax dollars are being spent and for what purpose.
The information in the database will include those records from all state departments and all three branches of government.
*Name and location of the entity or recipient of state funds
*Amount of state funds expended
*Budget program or activity
*State audits or reporting related to the expenditure
We know we must be responsible stewards of tax dollars and reject the reckless budgeting tactics that have jeopardized the economic health of the state. We believe that it is not acceptable to continue spending hundreds of millions of new dollars at a time when Iowa families have to prioritize their budgets and make tough decisions about where to cut back.
As our founding fathers understood, it is the government closest to the people that governs best.
Now is time to make our state's finances available on any computer screen anywhere in the world. Let us open the doors, curtains and windows of our government and let the sunshine come pouring in.
Last week, Governor Branstad, on behalf of the taxpayers of Iowa, signed on to Florida's federal health care lawsuit. Our state is now joining 27 other states in this effort, including Virginia, which filed their own lawsuit.
The lawsuit challenges the individual mandate that is a large portion of Obamacare. This portion would force Iowans to buy the federal government's mandated health insurance, as well as the Medicaid expansion that is costly to states, with its "one-size-fits-all" Medicaid approach that forces states to cut other critical programs.
In signing on to the lawsuit, Governor Branstad said, "As the governor on behalf of the people of Iowa, because I believe Iowa taxpayers deserve to be heard on this critical matter. As we begin constructing our five year budget, there is no doubt that the current federal health care law will shackle Iowa taxpayers for billions in unfunded mandates."
We wholeheartedly applaud the stance Governor Branstad has taken against this fiscally irresponsible and increasingly unpopular legislation.