The Iowa Brigade

Iowans Dedicated to the Future


SIOUX CITY – Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats issued the following statement concerning former Gov. Terry Branstad’s likely entry into the 2010 primary field:

“I can’t imagine anyone who has followed this long process throughout the summer and now into the fall is surprised by Governor Branstad’s decision today to resign from Des Moines University to continue his move toward an official candidacy. While those who have encouraged Governor Branstad to run have been focused firmly on Iowa’s past, I look forward to continuing my conversation with Iowans about our future. Whether we go forward, as I propose, or somehow seek to return to a seemingly happier past, one thing is clear: Iowa cannot afford to remain stuck where it is right now under Chet Culver.

“I said during my official announcement that I’m in this race to be a transformational governor who limits the size of government, reforms our tax structure to make Iowa far more competitive, sets our education system on course to become the world’s leader, and demands excellence from every dollar we spend on public services.

“I entered the race so Iowans will have a governor who makes sure our state will be a bridge to anywhere and a place where the top companies in the world want to locate, grow and thrive.  I entered the race to create a vibrant economy that can only come as a result of having a governor who energetically defends our right-to-work laws and reforms a tax structure and regulatory system that has thwarted business growth for too long.

“I’m running for governor because we must balance the state budget without tax increases and set us back on firm financial footing.  I have the courage, determination and ability to get that job done because I’ve been a turnaround CEO with front-line experience in education and human services, which are the two largest areas of our state budget.  I’m running for governor to reduce the tax burden on Iowans instead of increasing it as we’ve seen happen for so many years as the Culver administration and its predecessors have steadily grown the size of government. I’m running for governor to oppose the relentless expansion of gambling across our state, which started in the 1980s and continues today.

“I’m running so Iowa will have a governor who stands up for true conservative principles. I’m running so Iowa will finally have a governor who supports a culture of life from conception to natural death, and so I can appoint a lieutenant governor who is as passionate about that foundation of society as I am.

“Today’s announcement by Gov. Branstad does nothing to change the reasons for my candidacy.  I look forward to an open and honest debate of the issues during what will certainly be a most interesting and lively primary campaign. So, let me be absolutely clear about this: My name will be on the June 8, 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary ballot no matter who is in the race.”

Filed under: 2010 Gubernatorial Candidates, Bob Vander Plaats, , , , ,


DES MOINES – The devastating impact of Gov. Chet Culver’s across-the-board budget cut on public safety puts law enforcement personnel at greater risk and proves “all spending cuts aren’t equal but his failed leadership is now undeniable,” Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats said today.

“The consequences on Chet Culver’ fiscal mismanagement have been building for months. He’s waited and waited and waited to take action while publicly saying he hoped things would get better. That procrastination and lack of leadership have made a bad situation worse. Hitting the Department of Public Safety with a massive budget cut likely to result in law enforcement personnel being laid off is about as bad is it can get,” Vander Plaats said.

Public Safety Commissioner Gene Meyer said Tuesday that one option for dealing with Culver’s mandated 10-percent cut is to lay off approximately 100 sworn officers and civilians and to require all employees to take 13 unpaid furlough days. Without the furloughs, Meyer said 169 officers and civilians would need to be laid off if furloughs aren’t possible.

“Whichever way the department is forced to deal with the situation, there’s no doubt that more trooper positions will be left open through retirements and other moves because Chet Culver didn’t set the right priorities. Our troopers are already stretched thin and are in life-threatening situations every day. There’s no other way to say it: Chet Culver’s budget mismanagement will endanger the lives of the very people we count on to protect us. It’s also bound to lengthen response times to accidents and other emergencies and that will endanger citizens’ lives, too.”

Vander Plaats has urged Culver since June to work with legislators to reduce the impact on essential services by cutting back on other state spending.

“I’ve said it before: I don’t mean any disrespect to my 12-year-old son, but he could make an across-the-board cut. It doesn’t take a lot of thought to do one. Unfortunately, that’s all this governor seems capable of doing,” Vander Plaats said. “Iowa desperately needs a governor with the courage to address our problems head on. We need a governor who will work with legislators, state agencies and the public to rein in spending and focus our limited resources so we’re not putting lives in danger because our public safety budget gets the same treatment as every other project out there.”

Filed under: 2010 Gubernatorial Candidates, Bob Vander Plaats, , , , , ,

Grassley: Partisan Health Care Reform Bill is Deeply Flawed

Sen. Grassley delivered part of this statement, then submitted the rest into the committee record.

Markup of the America’s Healthy Future Act

Senate Finance Committee

Statement by Senator Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mr. Chairman, first of all, I want to commend you for bringing this markup to where it is today. It seems like a long time since we started on September 22nd. We’ve been able to air our differences and have the votes. I wish I felt better about the substance of the bill.

The chairman’s mark has undergone many changes during this process and they are not to the good. I’ll highlight a few of the changes I find most disturbing. As I highlight these issues, it will be clear that this bill is already sliding rapidly down the slippery slope to more and more government control of health care.

It has the biggest expansion of Medicaid since it was created in 1965.

It imposes an unprecedented federal mandate for coverage backed by the enforcement authority of the Internal Revenue Service.

It increases the size of the government by at least $1.8 trillion when fully implemented.

It gives the secretary of Health and Human Services the power to define benefits for every private plan in America and to redefine those benefits annually. That’s a lot of power over people’s lives.

It will cause health care premiums for millions to go up, not down.

It tightens further the new federal rating bands for insurance rates. That means that millions who are expecting lower costs as a result of health reform will end up paying more in the form of higher premiums. The new rating reforms alone will raise premiums by as much as 50 percent on millions.

It imposes new fees and taxes. These new fees and taxes will total about a half trillion dollars over the next few years. On the front end, these fees and taxes will cause premium increases as early as 2010 even before most of the reforms take effect.

Then after forcing health premiums to go up, this bill makes it mandatory to buy it.

On several occasions, Republicans tried to take the chairman’s mark in a different direction. We tried to ensure that the President’s pledge to not tax middle-income families, seniors, or veterans was carried out. We were rebuffed every step of the way.

And Republican efforts to provide consumers with a lower cost benefit option were consistently defeated – this means that despite the promises, a lot of people aren’t actually going to be able to “keep what they have.”

It imposes higher premiums for prescription drug coverage on seniors and the disabled.

And it creates a new Medicare commission with broad authority to make further cuts in Medicare and it makes that commission permanent.

In our group of six negotiations, I resisted making the commission permanent. And I certainly wasn’t going to agree to target prescription drug premiums.

But this bill now requires the Medicare commission to continue making cuts to Medicare forever. The damage this group of unelected people could do to Medicare is unknown.

What’s more alarming is that so many providers got exempted from the cuts this commission would make that it forces the cuts to fall directly on seniors and the disabled.

The Congressional Budget Office has confirmed that the commission structure requires it to focus its budget axe on the premiums seniors pay for Part D prescription drug coverage and for Medicare Advantage.

Sooner or later, it has to be acknowledged that, by making the commission permanent, those savings are coming from more and more cuts to Medicare.

Finally, I can’t help but note the incredible cynicism in an amendment that took benefits away from children. That amendment was offered and passed because the chairman’s mark had the audacity to let children get covered through private insurance.

In 41 states, children would have received access to the EPSDT benefit.

EPSDT benefits cover vitally needed services for children such as rehabilitation services, physical, occupational and speech therapy particularly for children with developmental disabilities.

But those benefits were deleted by Rockefeller Amendment C21. Now children in 41 states won’t have access to health care and they’ll be left in a grossly underfunded public program. And they lost these important benefits.

What this mark up has shown is that there is a clear and significant philosophical difference between the two sides.

Throughout the markup, we have focused on trying to reduce the overall cost of the bill. We were told ‘no’.

We focused on trying to reduce the pervasive role of government in the chairman’s mark. We were told ‘no’.

We tried to make it harder to for illegal immigrants to get benefits. We were told ‘no’.

We tried to guarantee that federal funding for abortions wouldn’t be allowed under this bill. We were told ‘no’.

We tried to allow alternatives to the individual mandate and harsh penalties. We were told ‘no’.

We tried to reward states with extra Medicaid dollars if they passed medical malpractice reform. We were told not just ‘no’ but shockingly we were told Medicaid isn’t even in the committee’s jurisdiction.

We have watched while the other side has expanded public coverage.

We saw Democrat amendments move millions from private coverage into public coverage.

We saw Democrat amendments create new government programs that cover families making close to 90 thousand dollars.

And at the end of the day, after raising billions in new taxes, cutting hundreds of billions from Medicare, and imposing stiff new penalties for people who don’t buy insurance, and increasing costs for those that do … 25 million people will still not even have health insurance.

I don’t think this is what the American people had in mind when we promised to fix the health care system.

As I said when this process started, the chairman’s mark that was released 27 days ago was an incomplete, but comprehensive, good faith attempt to reach a bipartisan agreement.

But then the modification pulled that attempt at bipartisan compromise very far toward a partisan approach on several key issues.

With this markup nearing its conclusion we can now see clearly that the bill continues its march leftward.

The broad bipartisan character of the reform proposal has changed.

This partisan change is precisely what Republicans feared would occur at later stages in the legislative process.

Today we see that those fears were legitimate and justified.

Nevertheless, I still hold out hope that at some point the doorway to bipartisanship will be opened once again.

I hope that at some point the White House and leadership will want to correct the mistake they made by ending our collaborative bipartisan work.

I hope at some point they will want to let that bipartisan work begin again. And then, they need to back that effort and give it the time needed to get it right.

But it is clear that today is not the day when that is going to happen.

Filed under: Charles Grassley, US Senate, , , , , ,


DES MOINES – The Reverend Keith A. Ratliff Sr., pastor of the Maple Street Missionary Baptist Church and president of the Iowa/Nebraska Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, today announced his support for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats and will serve as one of the campaign’s co-chairs.

Speaking at a morning news conference at the Statehouse, Ratliff, who supported Democrat Gov. Chet Culver’s 2006 bid, noted that his support for Vander Plaats is “an individual decision based on Bob’s commitment to improving our educational system, economic opportunities for all Iowans and ensuring that our criminal justice system is equal to all.”

He added, “I know that Bob Vander Plaats is not afraid to stand up for what is right. That takes courage. He has what it takes to be a fiscally responsible governor who gets Iowa’s financial house back in order, but there is so much more work to be done,” Ratliff said. “I’ve heard Bob talk about economic empowerment for all Iowans. He’s talked about reviewing our criminal justice system. He’s talked about getting more results from government with less money. He’s talked about the importance of defending the institution of marriage. And, most importantly, he won’t just talk about those things he’ll do something about them. That takes backbone and determination. That’s what I want in my governor – and that’s why I’m standing here today to show my support for him.”

Ratliff, who has been in the ministry 31 years and pastored 29 years, is involved in numerous social and community causes. He is the state historian for the Iowa Missionary and Educational Baptist State Convention and Affiliated Churches. His church opened Joshua Christian Academy this fall to provide parents and students with the option of Christ-centered education in Des Moines’ inner city.

Ratliff also is a national board member with the NAACP, which is the nation’s oldest and most respected civil rights organization. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Simpson College in History/Education and earned his master’s degree from Drake University in religious leadership. He recently retired as a senior engineering analyst at John Deere Des Moines Works, where he has worked for 33 years.

Ratliff and wife Deborah have been married for 31 years and have five children. He has been the recipient of numerous honors for his community service, including the Des Moines Area Religious Council Interfaith Service Award, Fraternity Omega’s Citizen of the Year Award, Des Moines Human Rights Commission Award, Black Ministerial Alliance Community Service Award and induction into the Iowa African American Hall of Fame in December, 2003. The City of Des Moines proclaimed April 17, 1994 as “Rev. Keith A. Ratliff, Sr. Day” and he was awarded the Key to the City of Des Moines.

“I’ve been honored to know Reverend Ratliff and impressed by his years of dedication to serving others. He’s a rock who is the foundation upon which so many others have built a solid future,” Vander Plaats said. “He makes a difference in people’s lives every day. He makes his city and our state a better place each and every day. I’m truly humbled by his support and his confidence in me.”

Filed under: 2010 Gubernatorial Candidates, Bob Vander Plaats, , , , , ,


DES MOINES – Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats issued the following statement in response to Gov. Chet Culver’s 10-percent, across-the-board budget cut announced this afternoon:

“When I was growing up in Sheldon, my Dad always used to say to me, ‘Don’t start something you can’t finish.’ He said that because he knew it was especially important that you don’t let people down when you make a promise to them. Chet Culver started a lot of things with the state budget he signed that he just can’t finish. It’s not the result of the national economy; it’s the result of his failure to contain spending even as he was being warned the recession was going to hit Iowa hard. As a result, a lot of people are going to be hurt. State employees are going to pay a high price for his fiscal irresponsibility. Iowans who were counting on state services because of the promises inherent in the budget he signed into law are going to feel a lot of unnecessary pain and suffering. And, property tax payers are going to feel the impact of this action, too.

“Chet Culver once again has proven that his procrastinating when it comes to taking on problems has only made them worse and worse. The idea that the Department of Corrections, for instance, must make a $40-million reduction three months into the fiscal year really means the cuts are deeper than 10 percent.

“If I had been governor I would never have approved the exorbitant spending increases over the past few years that got us into this trouble. I would’ve exercised foresight and caution rather than increasing the state budget roughly 18 percent in the past few budget cycles at the same time Iowa families and businesses were being forced to cut their own budgets.

“Finally, it doesn’t require a lot of leadership to make an across-the-board cut. It’s an easy way out. It says outdated and ineffective programs are just as important as public safety, human services and education. Going forward, Governor Culver should be working closely with legislators from both sides of the aisle to prioritize spending and budget cuts. The time of a crisis is where effective leadership matters most. Unfortunately, Chet Culver has already failed the test.”

Filed under: 2010 Gubernatorial Candidates, Bob Vander Plaats, , , , , ,

McKinley Statement on Governor Culver’s Budget Reaction

Governor’s actions leave Iowans headed for massive property tax increase

DES MOINES, IA – Senate Republican Leader Paul McKinley (R-Chariton) issued the following statement today regarding Governor Culver’s 10 percent across the board reduction:

“Iowans know that you simply cannot irresponsibly spend more money than you take in and yet Governor Culver and legislative Democrats continually plugged their ears to the Republican warnings about passing unsustainable budgets.

Governor Culver and legislative Democrats chose to deny the existence of their self-created deficits and then vote against common sense Republican amendments aimed at cutting hundreds of millions in waste and now the taxpayers of this state are suffering the consequences of Democrat fiscal mismanagement. Democrats had an opportunity to make responsible reductions earlier and now this action taken by Governor Culver will lead to significantly higher property taxes at a time when Iowans can least afford it.

Senate Republicans recently proposed a constitutional limit on state spending, a 2/3 supermajority vote of both houses of the Legislature to authorize new state borrowing, and a sunset on every state funded program so a thorough review of those programs can be conducted. Iowa does not have a revenue problem – we have a spending problem and Senate Republicans stand ready to again offer solutions to solving the worsening budgetary crisis if Governor Culver and Democrats are finally willing to listen to the taxpayers of Iowa.”

Filed under: Iowa State Senate, Paul McKinley, , , , , ,

Republican Leader Comments on Governor Culver’s Property Tax Increase

(DES MOINES)-House Republican Leader Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha) commented on the across the board cuts and resulting tax increases which Gov. Culver made today. 

“Today the governor raised property taxes,” said Paulsen. “The result of this across the board cut is higher property taxes for Iowans. A tax increase thatcould have been avoided by better management of the state budget. The governor is pushing his out-of-control spending problem on to the backs of Iowans.”

Among other things, an across the board cut reduces the state funding for the K-12 foundation formula. This is the amount the state provides school districts on a per pupil basis. If the state does not provide its statutory share, school districts have three options: cut spending, use reserves or raise property taxes. As a result of his actions, hard-working Iowans could see their property taxes increase as much as $245 million.

During the 2009 legislative session, House Republicans offered over $330 million in cost-saving measures. Nearly all were rejected by legislative Democrats. Also rejected by Democrats was a searchable budget database accessible to Iowans that allows them see how the state is spending taxpayer dollars. Paulsen points to Republican’s targeted and meaningful budget efficiencies as more responsible than resorting to haphazard across the board cuts.

“The governor should instead look at cost-saving measures to eliminate unnecessary and wasteful government spending,” said Paulsen. “House Republicans will continue to offer sensible solutions and reduce spending rather than asking the taxpayers to pick up the tab.”

Filed under: Iowa House of Representatives, Kraig Paulsen, , , , , ,

Release: Governor raises property taxes by $284 million

Governor breaks his ‘no tax increase’ pledge as his order will increase property taxes by $284 million

Strawn: Culver’s budget ax an indictment of his failed leadership

Des Moines, IA – Republican Party of Iowa State Chairman Matt Strawn today commented on Governor Culver’s order to a 10% across-the-board cut in state spending in response to a projected $400 million revenue shortfall for the current budget year. Strawn said, “Governor Culver has completely failed the citizens of Iowa. This devastating across-the-board cut could and should have been avoided and his decision today only postpones the truly difficult work that must be done to fundamentally change the way our state government does business.

“The Governor acts as if these horrific revenue numbers are a surprise. Yet, who didn’t know this state was facing a serious recession last March and April when Culver and majority Democrats in the Legislature ignored our repeated warnings and passed the largest spending budget in Iowa’s history. This budget crisis is no surprise to anyone who was paying attention and the Governor’s use of his budget ax is an indictment of his failed leadership,” said Strawn.

In ordering his across-the-board spending cut, Culver decided against calling the Legislature back for a Special Session to attempt to balance the budget through more thoughtful, targeted budget reductions.

In addition, due to the way various property tax credits are funded and the method in which the state’s school finance formula works, an across-the-board spending reduction of this size will actually trigger a potential property tax increase of $284 million.

Strawn said, “Governor Culver has repeatedly said he would not raise taxes to balance the state’s budget. Apparently he doesn’t understand how our state budget functions. When you issue an across-the-board cut it reduces property tax credits and the state’s share of K-12 education funding and, thus, local property taxes will rise to fill the gap. This broken pledge is just one more example of Culver’s repeated failure to be honest with Iowans about the problems we face.

“The Governor has spent the last four months assuring Iowans all was right with the budget and, due to his I-JOBS program, recovery was underway. Unfortunately, this is not the case and Culver has no one to blame but his own unwillingness to face reality, accept responsibility, and take the bold action that was necessary to prevent today’s terrible news,” concluded Strawn.

Filed under: Matt Strawn, Republican Party of Iowa, , , , , , ,

Paulsen Comments on Revenue Estimating Conference

(DES MOINES)—House Republican Leader Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha) released the following statement regarding the Revenue Estimating Conference newest report on Iowa’s revenue.

“The news from the Revenue Estimating Conference, while troubling, is not surprising. Gov. Culver signed the largest budget in the history of Iowa and his $1.7 billion borrowing plan has not worked. The out-of-control spending and lack of fiscal discipline expressed by legislative Democrats has caused the economic mess Iowa is currently in.

“Even though we face economic turmoil, House Republicans remain ready to offer cost-saving measures, oppose tax increases, and increase transparency in state government budgeting.”

Filed under: Iowa House of Representatives, Kraig Paulsen, , , , , ,

Vander Plaats Iowa Christian Alliance Video

Filed under: 2010 Gubernatorial Candidates, Bob Vander Plaats, , , ,


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.