It’s not uncommon for there to be a sizable disconnect between regular citizens and their elected officials. Starting last fall and continuing this spring, the American people have been more vocal than ever in letting their elected representatives know that they don’t support their tax dollars being used to bailout banks, auto dealers, and people who got in over their heads on a mortgage.
While the focus of their outrage has been mostly on the national level, state politics are not immune from the same critique. Republicans have spent most of the current legislative session standing up to Democrat proposals and saying no. In response, Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal yells and screams at Republicans for being obstructionists. In fact, Senator Gronstal was so upset with Senate Republicans for not voting for the first portion of a $750 million bonding proposal, he said that Republicans were against creating jobs.
Gronstal’s claim that Senate Republicans are obstructionist is almost laughable. Gronstal and the Democrats control 32 of the 50 votes in the State Senate, meaning, besides appointments by Governor Culver which require a 2/3 votes for confirmation, Gronstal should be able to do anything he wants. So why would Senator Gronstal throw such a tantrum? Well, according to a Des Moines Register poll, the people of Iowa overwhelmingly reject the Democrats legislative agenda, meaning the Republicans have been wise to be the loyal opposition.
The following is the legislative agenda that Democrats have tried to advance this session:
Increase income taxes by $600 million.
Increase the gas tax by eight cents a gallon.
Borrow $750 million for infrastructure projects.
Require a prevailing wage for state-sponsored projects.
Interfere with workers compensation insurance contracts between employers and medical professionals.
Allow labor unions to collect dues from non-union members.
Scrap awarding Iowa’s electoral votes going to the winner on election night, and instead, award them to whoever wins the national popular vote.
Refuse to let marriage amendments be debated and voted on in the House and Senate.
While the Des Moines Register didn’t ask a question in their poll regarding each of their issues, it’s safe to say that a majority of Iowans disagree with the Democrats’ legislative agenda. According to the Register, 71% of those polled oppose Governor Culver’s bonding proposal. 50% of Iowans oppose prevailing wage legislation, and only 13% of Iowans supported the Democrats’ plan to increase gas taxes.
When asked about the Register’s poll, Bob Haus, a long-time Republican political operative said, “I think the poll shows that the legislative leadership and the Governor are completely and utterly out of step with the opinions of Iowans.” Haus believes that if Iowa Democrats forge ahead with their fringe agenda, they will pay dearly at the ballot box.
Haus added, “Leadership means doing what your constituents want, not forcing some radical ‘pay off your friends’ agenda on the voters. Iowans want government to spend less, borrow less, protect jobs and businesses, and they want lower taxes, not the higher taxes the Democrats are proposing.”
It is safe to say that there has probably never been such a visible disconnect between the Democrat leaders in the House and Senate and everyday Iowans. While Governor Culver hasn’t signed off on all of the proposals being advanced in the legislature, he has weighed in support of various union bills, and his signature piece of legislation, the $750 million bonding proposal, is opposed by over 70% of the people.
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