Last Thursday freshman Iowa House Republicans announced their G.R.O.W. plan to “put Iowan’s back to work and improve the state’s economy.” After the G.R.O.W. plan didn’t get critiqued by the media and blogs like I thought it would, I figured now would be a good time for me to take a look at it. But before I start, I’d like to preface my comments about the plan with some words for the freshmen Republican members who introduced it.
These Representatives are sure to be key individuals in shaping Republican policy in Iowa for decades to come. They are excellent people who have great conservative philosophy running through their veins. With their involvement in our government, Iowa can only get better.
Now on to the G.R.O.W. plan. There are eight proposals outlined in their press release and email I received from House Republican Leader Kraig Paulsen. After reading through it, I can’t help to be feeling I want more. Not just in number but also in substance. Although I agree with all proposals in the plan there is nothing groundbreaking.
We are currently in the minority at all levels of state government and this is the best we can come up with to help Iowa turn toward prosperity? And on the political level, this is our best opposition to Democrats? I know we don’t want to do anything too radical or extreme but there is literally nothing in this plan that will help us win back the majority. Nothing new, nothing big, nothing worth reporting on, and absolutely nothing even close to fundamental reform.
Where are the big ideas? Where is the massive tax cut on current and future businesses in Iowa? Where are the regulations we are opposing to help businesses thrive rather than choking them out? Where are the proposals that speak to Iowa college graduates – offering incentives to stay here and build their wealth and families?
It may be different if we weren’t at such dire straits both economically and politically but I am extremely disappointed with this plan – especially knowing who conceived and introduced it. The freshmen members are energetic, conservative, and just plain excellent Representatives. Did they moderate and restrain their proposals as to not overstep their leaders or was it just a group mentality that squelched the chance at true reform?
We’ve had enough years where Republicans were afraid to offer anything earth shattering, where did that get us?
Oh and while writing this article, I received the Iowa Senate version, “Grow Iowa not Government.” I really didn’t think things could get worse but – wow! The first of three proposals is to provide a temporary tax credit for “every new job created at the level of 50 percent of the annual salary.” Finally a somewhat bold proposal but it’s only a temporary fix. This does nothing to help the long-term business climate in Iowa which is second to last in the nation.
Unfortunately, this is the best part of the plan. The next two actually grow government – which I found infuriatingly ironic sense the title of the plan is “Grow Iowa not Government”. They want to create a position of small business ombudsman that would then create a nine person volunteer commission to “improve our communities, put more Iowans to work, and provide suggestions that will be to the betterment of Iowa’s future.” And finally they also want to create an 11 member task force to “head out into our communities to cultivate ideas and look for entrepreneurial Iowans.” Once again, looking to government to intervene rather than pushing government out of the way.
I suspect I may be a little too hard on these plans but I was truly expecting something that would invigorate the base and grab the attention of the suffering mass of independents. I’ve actually been waiting for this for years – and neither plan is the place to look for it. This also tells me many Republicans still don’t get it. Conservatism is a really simple concept, get government out of the way so we can grow our businesses and families.
After reading this post I realize it sounds like I’m coming down pretty hard on our Republicans in the House and Senate and I don’t mean to sound so degrading. It’s just very frustrating to me to have such great potential on our side but so few who are willing to stick their necks out and offer real solutions. If we continue down this road, we can expect to be in the minority for a long time.
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