By Craig Robinson
I was shocked to read the Des Moines Register’s headline, “Register Exclusive: Iowa’s debt hits a record $14.4 billion” on Saturday. In addition to being shocked, I was also a bit confused. The one thing that Governor Terry Branstad has done exceptionally well since returning to office is getting Iowa’s fiscal house in order.
While accurate, the article is a bit misleading. Yes, if you add up all the debt from the state’s cities, counties, school districts, and state agencies, it totals $14.4 billion. However, those who may try to blame Branstad for this debt need to do their research, or maybe just read the entire article.
As was reported in the article, 56 percent of the state’s $14.4 billion is attributable to cities and school districts. Citizens should be concerned about the debt that these entities have racked up, but they should also remember that former Governor Chet Culver’s haphazard across-the-board cuts in his last two years in office likely contributed to increased debt levels of local governments. Culver and Iowa Democrats are also responsible for $800 million of the state’s debt thanks to Culver’s I-Jobs program.
The Des Moines Register did report that the Branstad administration has actually seen the debt level for state agencies fall by $73 million in the last fiscal year. The problem with the Register’s headline is that it seems to indict Branstad, when local governments are the ones who need to feel the heat.
One also has to wonder why the Des Moines Register cares about debt now, but didn’t seem to care during the I-Jobs debate. Something doesn’t add up if you ask me.
A Couple of Other Interesting Reads from the Thanksgiving Holiday
Niall Stanage from The Hill asked me for comment for this article last week. My advice to the GOP was to avoid making any snap decisions, especially when it comes to the Republican Party’s stance on illegal immigration. I was pleased to see that I wasn’t the only one preaching patience.
Byron York from the Washington Examiner penned an excellent article that should help Republicans realize that gaining the support of Hispanic voters isn’t necessarily going to be as easy as some think, and it didn’t cost Romney the election.
Des Moines Register columnist Kathie Obradovich said that Governor Branstad missed the mark when he said that President Obama won through organization, not issues. I understand that point she is trying to make, but the GOP ticket failed to even communicate a message to its own base let alone other segments to the electorate. Republicans have a lot of work to do, and by that I mean work, not pandering for votes.
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