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October 10th, 2010

Let’s Be Honest About Spending

By Jeremy Taylor, Republican candidate for House District 1.

Taylor recently responded to a Sioux City Journal article by former Democrat State Senator Steve Warnstadt in which Warnstadt claimed that “Candidates Should Back Up Bluster About Budget Cuts With Specifics.”

Taylor narrowly lost in 2008 to longtime incumbent Wes Whitead (D) by 6093 to 6055 in a district held by Democrats 12 of the last 16 years. Warnstadt claimed that candidates could cut social security or needed services but complained that candidates often spoke in generality implying cutting budgets is more difficult than making vague promises.  Four days later, Taylor, a high school English teacher and National Guardsman, responded with an article of his own in the Sioux City paper. The text of Taylor’s article follows:

I would like to applaud Steve Warnstadt for stating in a recent column that candidates should “back up bluster about budget cuts with specifics.” As a candidate for Iowa House District 1, let me do just that. Voters were presented with an either-or-fallacy of major cuts to needed services or acceptance of spiraling, out-of-control spending. In Warnstadt’s mind, state government is a responsible steward and the only cuts he could mention come in the most contentious of places: consolidations to rural school districts and the oft-cited specter of gutting social security. Scaring seniors over social security, a federal issue, is a tired straw man argument falsely used against those who want responsible stewards in state office.

Did you notice that nowhere to be found in the column was the $47 million the Power Fund gave to businesses to create jobs? The Legislative Services Agency reported those businesses created a mere 100 jobs ($470,000 / created job). Nowhere to be found was the I-JOBS bonding for $750 million which will cost nearly $1.7 billion after we spend money on interest over the next +20 years ($240,000 spent / created job). Note to politicians, lowering our third-highest-in-the-nation commercial property taxes may be a better avenue to creating jobs for Sioux City instead of seeing them leave to South Dakota.

Where was the fact that the state of Iowa has a fleet of 2,956 cars and trucks and on average sells off and replaces about 600 of them every year? Instead of having state bureaucrats use their own vehicles with mileage reimbursement, the state estimates that it spends $18 million in annual maintenance and other expenses to operate the fleet, which is valued at $17.6 million.

Oh, but remember. To talk about responsible spending means we only talk about the devastating impact on kids if we should cut spending. Well, our kids and seniors have been affected because of the wrong kinds of cuts.

Governor Culver indeed ordered a 10%-across-the-board cut. These cuts were indiscriminate (the nature of why they were wrong). Cuts came to education since local school districts had budgets already set, to DHS where kids need real help but now share a caseworker with hundreds of other troubled children, to the consistently underfunded Statewide Poison Control Center here in Sioux City, and to community colleges like Western Iowa Tech where people invest in their career dreams. School districts raised property taxes to make up for the state’s underfunding of the state-spending-per-pupil originally promised. I’ve talked to a lot of people at the doorstep. They are hurting, angry, or confused, especially those on fixed incomes like our less fortunate and our elderly.

Politicians should stop putting in front of voters the false alternative that we have to cut needed services or continue on a reckless spending path and suggest a third way—protect and prioritize needs while cutting excess.

Let’s trim in programs like interest on bonding schemes, giving businesses millions through the Power Fund, and maintaining expensive vehicle fleets. Let’s protect the K-12 budget, DHS, the Statewide Poison Control Center, Western Iowa Tech, and the property taxpayer from further fiscal mismanagement. If elected this November 2, that is exactly what I intend to do.

For more information on Taylor’s campaign, visit

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The Iowa Republican

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