Thursday, August 20, 2009

Iowa Republicans' Family Budget Initiatives

Des Moines, IA – Republican Party of Iowa State Chairman Matt Strawn today joined State Senator Steve Kettering (R- Lake View) and State Representative Scott Raecker (R- Urbandale) at the Iowa State Fair to announce the beginning of a four-month effort to outline a new program called “Iowa Republicans: Real Solutions for Iowa’s Families.”

“Iowans need leadership, and Republicans are stepping up to provide it,” said Strawn. “We are prepared to lead with innovative and bold solutions to the challenges facing Iowa’s families and small businesses. Today is the first step in sharing our agenda with Iowans.”

Strawn noted that the first series of Republican solutions, focused on Iowa’s budgetary problems, provides a stark contrast with a Democrat majority led by Governor Culver that has placed Iowa on the precipice of a one billion dollar budget shortfall.

“Today we are pleased to offer our Iowa Family Budget Initiatives, a set of three common sense solutions to restore the fiscal balance in state government and protect the pocketbooks of Iowa families who will undoubtedly shoulder the burden created by Governor Culver’s mismanagement of our state’s finances,” said Strawn.

The Iowa Family Budget Initiatives are: 1) Constitutional amendment to limit state spending to no more than 99% of state revenue—no more legislative loopholes to avoid responsible budgeting and overspending; 2) Require a 2/3 supermajority vote of the Legislature to approve new state borrowing—Iowans need greater protection against runaway state debt and bipartisan agreement should be required before the state saddles taxpayers with debts like the $1.7 billion Governor Culver gave us this year; and, 3) Sunset authorization of every state budget program to ensure no state program continues indefinitely without a specific review and reauthorization by the Governor and Legislature.

Representative Raecker said, “As Ranking member and former Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, I have seen firsthand the need for the restraints and protections contained in our Iowa Family Budget Initiatives. This is a common sense approach to budget reform and House Republicans stand in unison with the State Party in our support.”

Senator Kettering said, “Iowa Republicans are speaking with one voice and are committed to protecting the men, women, families, and small businesses that pay taxes to support the state’s vital programs. They have every right to expect their representatives in Des Moines to take extraordinary steps to ensure these dollars are used wisely and Senate Republicans will push hard to make the Iowa Family Budget Initiatives a reality.”

In the coming months the Republican Party of Iowa, in conjunction with Iowa House and Senate Republicans, will travel the state and offer additional policy solutions on such issues as education, family, energy, environment, healthcare, and governmental transparency.

# # #

Paid for by the Republican Party of Iowa and not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee.
621 E. 9th St., Des Moines, IA 50309

Iowa Republicans: Real Solutions for Iowa’s Families
Republicans take the lead on offering bold solutions to Iowa’s problems

Iowa Family Budget Initiatives

Iowa’s fiscal house is a mess and Governor Culver and his cohorts in the Democratically-controlled Iowa House and Senate have repeatedly ignored the problem and have, instead, pursued a path of spending and borrowing that are making the mess even worse.

Republicans have real solutions to help solve Iowa’s budget crisis and protect the very family budgets that will be at risk if bold action is not taken quickly. Here is what Republicans will do if Iowa voters give them the opportunity:

Constitutional Limit on State Spending
Iowa Republicans will propose and support an amendment to the Iowa Constitution to limit state spending to no more than 99% of state revenue. The current budget limitation law doesn’t work and, just last year, Democrats authorized nearly 70 loopholes in the current law to allow their outrageous spending increases.

Only an amendment to the Iowa Constitution is immune from legislative loopholes. Limiting spending to 99% of revenue ensures a balanced budget and the annual deposit of money into a rainy day fund. In the meantime, Iowa Republicans pledge to pass NO budgets that exceed the 99% limit.

Iowa families must live within their means--Iowa state government should be no different.

Supermajority Vote to Approve New State Debt
This year Governor Culver and majority Democrats in the Iowa House and Senate passed legislation that puts Iowa taxpayers on the hook for a $1.7 billion debt. The average Iowa family’s share of that debt is more than $2,000.

This debt was passed without a single Republican vote and was done despite statewide polling that showed 70% of Iowans opposed this debt scheme. Iowans need greater protection from runaway state debt and these decisions should require more than a simple majority vote—especially when the repayment of the debt may extend for more than two decades and impact taxpayers too young to vote or not even yet born.

Iowa Republicans propose requiring a 2/3 supermajority vote of both houses of the Legislature to authorize new state borrowing. Never again should one party have the sole authority to create these long-term debt burdens.

At the local level a 60% vote of the people is required to adopt new debt to ensure there is widespread community support for the projects to be funded. At the state level a 2/3 supermajority vote of the Legislature will help guarantee the same kind of broad support for similar state efforts.

Republicans support pay-as-you-go budgets as the best method for funding state programs. However, if borrowing is occasionally necessary to meet critical needs, Iowa Republicans want to ensure the support for that borrowing extends beyond the short term political objectives of any one party and meets the needs of a broad spectrum of Iowans. A 2/3 supermajority vote helps accomplish that goal.

Sunset Authorization of Every State Program
During these difficult economic times, every Iowa family has been forced to gather around their kitchen table and examine every aspect of their personal spending. They ask difficult questions and set new spending priorities to ensure their essential needs are met. Unfortunately, this same discussion rarely occurs within state government.

Iowa Republicans propose a systematic process wherein EVERY program funded by state government will be sunset (de-authorized) by a date certain unless the Governor and Legislature reauthorize that program. This will force a thorough top-to-bottom review of every existing program funded by state government to determine whether the program is effectively and efficiently meeting the needs for which it was created, or if the need even continues to exist.

Those programs that are no longer relevant or functioning at a high level will be eliminated, reorganized, or the resources diverted to other priorities--just the way Iowa families eliminate spending that no longer meets their personal needs.

Incremental budgeting practices have led to a bloated and expensive state government that is both unsustainable and a drain on Iowa taxpayers. Iowa Republicans will streamline state spending and state programs in a way that protects taxpayers from excessive state spending and ensures better delivery of state services to those in need.

Restoring the Balance: Republican Solutions to Real Life Problems is a joint project of the Republican Party of Iowa and the Republican Iowa House and Senate Caucuses. Through this project Iowa Republicans will promote a series of bold solutions to the problems facing our state in areas ranging from the budget to education, the environment and energy, family, health care and transparency.
Paid for by the Republican Party of Iowa. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. 621 E. 9th St., Des Moines, IA 50309 515.282.8105