News Center

May 20th, 2011

Averting a Government Shutdown

By Paul McKinley

Since high school and college students are finishing up their semesters and taking finals, here is a good multiple choice question for all of Iowa to consider:

QUESTION: When you vote for your elected leaders, which of the following is not something you would expect:

A)  Legislators to begin orchestrating and talking about a government shutdown eight weeks before the possible budget deadline.

B)   Legislators to stage a press conference announcing a statewide campaign-style gimmick aimed at increasing government spending.

C)   Legislators to pass the fewest number of bills in a 22 year history at a time when many bi-partisan bills aimed at encouraging private sector job creation, cutting spending and reducing taxes are being tossed aside in the Iowa Senate.

D)  All of the above.

If you answered, “D) All of the above,” you would unfortunately be correct.

Regrettably, as this session concludes its 19th week with no end yet in sight, Iowans are becoming increasingly frustrated and cynical with government.

Senate Republicans know that Iowans expect all sides to sit around the table – as any family would – and hammer out compromises and agreements in a responsible and bi-partisan fashion.

However, instead of coming to the negotiation table in good faith, prominent Senate Democrats last week began openly talking about shutting down state government, even though the deadline is still weeks away.

Instead of orchestrating a government shutdown, we believe the better approach would be to come to the table with Governor Branstad, House Leaders and Senate Republicans to end this session with a responsible budget that adequately funds our priorities while reducing the overall cost of government.

Then, earlier this week, instead of coming to the table to work out a bi-partisan agreement, Senate Democrats held a press conference to announce a statewide campaign-style gimmick asking Iowans to call Governor Branstad.  They want Iowans to tell him to stop his “starvation cuts” to the state budget and our schools.

Unfortunately, these same Democrats continue to forget that our schools will actually receive more state dollars under Branstad’s proposal than they did when Governor Culver took his blunt across-the-board ax to the budget not long ago.

Additionally, The Des Moines Register this week published a story saying that this year’s Legislature has passed the fewest number of bills in the past 22 years.

While less legislation can sometimes be a good thing because that means there may be less growth in government, Senate Democrats have killed hundreds of bills that have either been authored by Senate Republicans, passed by the Iowa House or been asked for by Governor Branstad. These bills were aimed at cutting spending, reducing the tax burden and encouraging more private sector job creation, all areas that voters said needed to become the focus of government last November.

We know Iowans agree, now is not the time for gimmicky press conferences or ominous government shutdown threats.  Now is the time to get serious about working together to find bi-partisan solutions and common sense compromises.

If Senate Democrats make good on their threats to shut down government, that decision will have serious consequences for the timely funding for our schools and other government entities like our state troopers, prison guards, health and food inspectors and child protection services among many, many others.

A decision by the Senate Democrats to shut down Iowa’s government would send negative reverberations throughout every community, county and school in this state.

As Senate Republicans have consistently said for weeks, Iowans did not vote last November for partisan gimmicks – they instead voted to reduce the cost of government, get serious about creating an atmosphere for private sector job creation to flourish and give Iowans back more of their hard earned money.

In whatever weeks or months remain in this session, you can count on the Senate Republicans to continue to be focused on the issues Iowans are most concerned about.

That is, after all, what we were elected to do.

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The Iowa Republican

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