The Iowa Brigade

Iowans Dedicated to the Future

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, , , , , , ,

Release: Film Office report shows Executive Branch failure

Film Office report shows complete failure by Executive Branch to perform its duty:

Governor Culver’s habitual lack of oversight costs taxpayers millions

Des Moines, IA – Republican Party of Iowa State Chairman Matt Strawn today commented on the contents of a preliminary review of the Iowa Film Office tax credit program that details significant lapses in the provision of Executive Branch oversight of this costly program. Strawn said, “This initial report clearly shows Governor Culver and his appointed administrators allowed this multi-million dollar program to operate with virtually no accountability or substantial oversight.

“Even the Iowa Attorney General is forced to conclude that the Culver Administration failed to implement this program properly. What we are left with is a trail of incomplete or inadequate expense records, sham pass through corporations, and unqualified out-of-state expenditures that will ultimately cost Iowa taxpayers millions,” said Strawn.

In a statement released earlier today, the Iowa Attorney General said, “The Attorney General’s Office has found the statute regarding tax credits was not implemented properly in at least several ways: investment tax credits were not calculated according to the statute; expenses were not adequately vetted and verified; projects were not justified in terms of their economic benefit to the State compared to their cost; and the definition of ‘investment’ sometimes was improperly applied.”

Strawn said, “Responsibility for implementing this program and ensuring its resources were used wisely and for the intended purposes rests with Governor Culver and his administration.

“The Iowa Film Office debacle is just one more example of the Governor’s habitual lack of administrative oversight and unwillingness to confront the problems facing this state. His actions in this matter came far too late and far too little to save the tens of millions of taxpayer dollars that may have already floated out of Iowa,” concluded Strawn.

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

Iowa Republicans announce state-based solutions for health care

Iowa Republicans announce state-based health care reforms

“Iowa Health Care Initiatives” focus on accessibility, affordability, and portability

Cedar Rapids, IA – Republican Party of Iowa State Chairman Matt Strawn today joined State Senator David Johnson, State Representative Linda Upmeyer, and Cedar Rapids health care professional Cynthia Roehr at Kirkwood Community College’s new Healthcare Simulation Center to announce a series of bold state-based health care initiatives.

“Market-based solutions with minimal state interference, not a sweeping federal takeover, are the key to making health insurance in Iowa more accessible, affordable, and portable,” said Strawn in announcing the Iowa GOP’s “Iowa Health Care Initiatives.”

The Health Care Initiatives are: 1) Accessibility: adopt the Patients Right to Know Act and provide low cost catastrophic health plans for those under age 30; 2) Affordability: pass medical malpractice and tort reform, expand health insurance tax deductibility to individuals and all small businesses, and provide prevention credits that reduce premium costs when successfully participating in wellness activities; and, 3) Portability: prohibit exclusions for pre-existing conditions when changing plans with the same insurance provider.

“Republicans have real plans to increase the accessibility of health insurance without a massive government takeover of the system. With more than half of all Iowa’s uninsured age 18-30 we can make a huge dent in this number by simply incenting insurance carriers to create a basic insurance product at a modest price point,” said Rep. Upmeyer, a health-care professional who also serves as second-ranking Republican in the Iowa House.

Senator Johnson said, “We can take bold steps to reduce health costs. We can free doctors from the need to practice defensive medicine. We can expand the tax deductibility of health insurance premiums. We can create a true financial incentive for individual Iowans and their employers to participate in wellness programs,” said Sen. Johnson, who serves as Assistant GOP Leader in the Iowa Senate.

Strawn concluded, “The Healthcare Simulation Center here at Kirkwood and the training they are doing here is a great example of what is right with our health care system. However, Iowa Republicans understand our system is far from perfect and we offer these initiatives in a good faith effort to fix that which is broken without breaking that which serves Iowans well.”

In the coming months the Republican Party of Iowa, in conjunction with Iowa House and Senate Republicans, will continue to travel the state and offer additional solution sets on such issues as education, family, energy, environment, and transparency and ethics.

Details on solutions here.

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

Republican Party of Iowa: Culver’s Lack of Leadership

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

Fact Chet: Governor Misleads Iowans – Again!

FACT CHET
Governor misleads Iowans about state spending—AGAIN!

Statement from Governor Culver

Discussing the state budget, Governor Culver said: “We’re actually spending less in 2010–two-and-a-half percent less than we did in 2008.”

Source: Des Moines Register, 9-17-09. Click here.

Fact Check

Governor Culver’s statement is deceptive and misleading. Due to the receipt and expenditure of one-time federal stimulus money to backfill shortfalls in general fund revenue, state spending in 2010 is actually higher than in 2008.

State general fund appropriations in 2008 (understanding there was no federal stimulus aid to the states in 2008) totaled $5.9 billion.

State general fund appropriations in 2010 (including the $530 million in general fund expenditures being funded by federal stimulus receipts) totaled $6.3 billion.

The loss of this one-time stimulus money is a major portion of the projected $900 million general fund budget hole Governor Culver and Democratic lawmakers have created in the upcoming budget year (FY11).

Source: Legislative Services Agency, 2009 Fiscal Report, July 2009, p. 17 (click here); Auditor of State, David Vaudt, August 2009, p. 20 (click here)

FACT CHET: a periodic fact check report published to bring clarity to the frequent misstatements, misunderstandings, and outright deceptions coming from Governor Culver and his office.

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

Release: Iowa GOP Announces Bold Public Education Reform Measures

Iowa GOP Announces Bold Public Education Reform Measures
“Iowa School House Initiatives” focus on accountability and standards

Des Moines, IA – Leading Iowa Republicans today announced a series of public education reform initiatives designed to inject greater accountability, standards and transparency into Iowa’s public education system.

Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn joined State Senator Kim Reynolds (R-Osceola) and State Representatives Mike May (R-Spirit Lake) and Jodi Tymeson (R-Winterset) to announce the Iowa School House Initiatives, the second issue series in its “Iowa Republicans: Real Solutions for Iowa’s Families” policy agenda.

“As a proud product of Iowa’s public schools, it is very troubling to watch our once great educational system slip into mediocrity,” said Strawn, noting that recent reports indicate that one in two Iowa high school graduates must take some form of remedial class work when they get to college.

“A quality education is the golden ticket of opportunity for any student in any classroom in this state and I am proud that Republicans are leading with common-sense solutions to benefit this state’s greatest resource – our children.

“Today we are pleased to offer our Iowa School House Initiatives, a set of three common sense solutions to set high academic standards, test students and teachers to ensure those standards are being met, and keep parents and taxpayers fully informed of our progress,” said Strawn.

The Iowa School House Initiatives are: 1) Set academic standards that align achievement with the demands of a global economy—top down “core curriculum” programs focus on inputs, whereas Iowa Republicans are interested in setting outcome standards and empowering local teachers, parents, and school boards with the flexibility to design the necessary programs; 2) Exit exams for graduating students and entrance exams for new teachers—high standards have no value without objective testing to ensure students have met the minimum qualifications and parents have a right to expect new teachers to be proficient in the subjects they teach; and 3) Parent and Taxpayer Right to Know Act—transparency and accountability are keys to successful reform and Republicans will provide parents and taxpayers with the tools to evaluate the performance of their school system.

Representative May said, “As a long-time public school teacher, I know first-hand that low expectations lead to substandard results while high expectations result in high achievement. Our students are capable of being the best in the world and we must establish standards that will prepare them to compete in the global economy.”

Senator Reynolds said, “With roughly 60% of our state budget dedicated to education spending, resources are not the issue. Instead, we must focus the expenditure of those resources on implementing high standards, testing our capacity to meet those standards, and providing parents and taxpayers with transparency and accountability tools. In this way we be will do more than simply talk about a world class education, we will be providing it.”

In the coming months the Republican Party of Iowa, in conjunction with Iowa House and Senate Republicans, will travel the state and offer additional solution sets on such issues as health care, family, energy and the environment, and transparency and ethics.

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

Strawn: Last Week to Help HD 90!

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

Iowa Republicans: Real Solutions for Iowa’s Families

Iowa Republicans: Real Solutions for Iowa’s Families

Republicans announce “Iowa Family Budget Initiatives”

Des Moines, IA – Republican Party of Iowa State Chairman Matt Strawn today joined State Senator Steve Kettering (R- Lake View) and State Representative Scott Raecker (R- Urbandale) at the Iowa State Fair to announce the beginning of a four-month effort to outline a new program called “Iowa Republicans: Real Solutions for Iowa’s Families.”

“Iowans need leadership, and Republicans are stepping up to provide it,” said Strawn. “We are prepared to lead with innovative and bold solutions to the challenges facing Iowa’s families and small businesses. Today is the first step in sharing our agenda with Iowans.”

Strawn noted that the first series of Republican solutions, focused on Iowa’s budgetary problems, provides a stark contrast with a Democrat majority led by Governor Culver that has placed Iowa on the precipice of a one billion dollar budget shortfall.

“Today we are pleased to offer our Iowa Family Budget Initiatives, a set of three common sense solutions to restore the fiscal balance in state government and protect the pocketbooks of Iowa families who will undoubtedly shoulder the burden created by Governor Culver’s mismanagement of our state’s finances,” said Strawn.

The Iowa Family Budget Initiatives are: 1) Constitutional amendment to limit state spending to no more than 99% of state revenue—no more legislative loopholes to avoid responsible budgeting and overspending; 2) Require a 2/3 supermajority vote of the Legislature to approve new state borrowing—Iowans need greater protection against runaway state debt and bipartisan agreement should be required before the state saddles taxpayers with debts like the $1.7 billion Governor Culver gave us this year; and, 3) Sunset authorization of every state budget program to ensure no state program continues indefinitely without a specific review and reauthorization by the Governor and Legislature.

Representative Raecker said, “As Ranking member and former Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, I have seen firsthand the need for the restraints and protections contained in our Iowa Family Budget Initiatives. This is a common sense approach to budget reform and House Republicans stand in unison with the State Party in our support.”

Senator Kettering said, “Iowa Republicans are speaking with one voice and are committed to protecting the men, women, families, and small businesses that pay taxes to support the state’s vital programs. They have every right to expect their representatives in Des Moines to take extraordinary steps to ensure these dollars are used wisely and Senate Republicans will push hard to make the Iowa Family Budget Initiatives a reality.”

In the coming months the Republican Party of Iowa, in conjunction with Iowa House and Senate Republicans, will travel the state and offer additional policy solutions on such issues as education, family, energy, environment, healthcare, and governmental transparency.

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

Governor Culver spins deception with new revenue numbers

Net receipts show $23 million decline from July 2008 and continued
trouble for the state budget

Des Moines, IA – Governor Chet Culver today touted state revenue numbers for July 2009 as “early signs of improvement in the economy.” His comments came on the heels of a new report on state revenue that shows gross receipts to state government in July 2009 grew by $4.7 million over the previous year. What the Governor failed to mention, however, was that net receipts to state government actually fell by $23 million for the same period.

Matt Strawn, Chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, said, “Anyone who has spent two minutes in the private sector knows that gross revenues only tell half the story of a business’s financial health. The state budget is no different. To suggest otherwise is not playing it straight with Iowa taxpayers.

“Either the Governor doesn’t understand his own budget or is deliberately misleading Iowans. Quite frankly, either is a problem,” said Strawn.

The report released by the Legislative Services Agency showed personal income tax collections are down 6.1% over last July and corporate income tax revenues dropped by a whopping 42.1%. The report also shows a $40 million increase in sales tax collections to the state, but this is simply the result of the final implementation of the state takeover of the penny sales tax for school infrastructure. That is wholly pass-through revenue and nearly every dollar is immediately refunded to the school infrastructure account and NOT net new dollars to the state government or available for state expenditures.

Strawn concluded, “In just the first month of the new fiscal year the state budget is already way out of balance. The Governor’s unwillingness to come clean with Iowa taxpayers about the true fiscal health of our state is yet more evidence that a change is needed at Terrace Hill.”

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

Stephen Burgmeier Receives Republican Nomination in House District 90

Stephen Burgmeier receives Republican nomination in Special Election

Iowa GOP’s Strawn: “We are in it to win it”

Des Moines, IA – Republican Party of Iowa State Chairman Matt Strawn tonight welcomed Stephen Burgmeier as the Republican candidate in the Special Election to fill the vacancy in Iowa House District 90. Strawn said, “Stephen Burgmeier is an outstanding candidate and my pledge as State Party Chairman to him is that we are in it to win it.

“This is clearly a lean Democrat district and presents a big challenge for Iowa Republicans. President Obama carried it by nearly 1,400 votes and Democrats hold an advantage in voter registration. However, we are going to carry the fight and the Republican message to all corners of Iowa and a victory here begins the process of bringing fiscal sanity back to our state, giving Iowans the opportunity to vote on marriage, and recognizing that private individuals, not more debt spending by the state, creates jobs in Iowa,” said Strawn.

The Special Election in Iowa House District 90 will be held on September 1, 2009 and was made necessary by the resignation of John Whitaker (D-Hillsboro) to accept a position with the federal government. The District contains all of Van Buren County and significant portions of both Jefferson and Wapello Counties.

“Anyone who knows Stephen Burgmeier understands how hard he works for the people of Jefferson County. I know he will continue that commitment as the state representative for the people of Wapello, Jefferson and Van Buren Counties,” said House Republican Leader Kraig Paulsen. “The House Republican caucus looks forward to a successful election and welcoming him to our ranks in September.”

Burgmeier received the Republican nomination for this seat at a Special Nominating Convention held tonight in Fairfield and will begin his campaign immediately.

He and his wife, Betty, reside in Lockridge and are partners in the Hooter Lane Farms sow farm, and farm over 300 acres of land. Burgmeier is a three time elected Jefferson County Supervisor, currently serving as chairman, a past district director of the Iowa Pork Producers, an appointed delegate of the Pork Act boards, and a Jefferson County Farm Bureau board member.

Strawn concluded, “Stephen Burgmeier and his campaign will have the full and active support of the Republican Party of Iowa and I expect Republicans from all across the state will travel to this pivotal district and provide statewide support for this important election. Republicans are ready to work and ready to win.”

Stephen Burgmeier’s website

Filed under: 2010 State Candidates, Matt Strawn, Republican Party of Iowa, , , , , ,

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