Friday, March 28, 2008

Iowa GOP Senate Leader Ron Wieck discusses second funnel deadline

Update From Chris Rants on Collective Bargaining Legislation

Jackson County Republicans March Meeting

The Jackson County Republican Central Committee met last night at Geno's Pizza, braving the unseasonably cold weather conditions.

The meeting started with a few words from George Eichhorn, who will be running for the Republican nomination to run against Tom Harkin. I spoke with Mr. Eichhorn for 5-10 minutes before the meeting, and he did a good job articulating his position on certain issues.

Also in attendance were representatives speaking on behalf of Sen. John McCain, and State Central Committee member John Ortega who gave us an update on what is happening at the state level.

-Adam Reuter

Reaction to Collective Bargaining Legislation

From RPI:
Your efforts are working...

A special thanks to all of you who called your elected representatives last week regarding the collective bargaining bill, House File 2645, which would strip the bargaining power of local school boards and local elected officials, and place it squarely into the hands of local negotiators.

Despite our best efforts, the bill still passed. However, because of your action, the public has heard about this bill and it currently awaits a signature from the governor before it can become law.

According to Gov. Culver's office, more than 1,000 calls have been made, telling him to veto this bill!

Please continue your calls to (515) 281-5211 and let the governor know that you support the veto of this bill.
Iowa's newspapers agree...
"...The heart of this bill began in bad faith. Democrats appear to have muscled it through simply because they could, driving a deeper wedge not only among partisans in the statehouse, but labor and management in the schoolhouse and city hall..." - The Quad City Times editorial, March 26, 2008
"...More time is needed to better understand and debate this potentially significant measure. Perhaps that's where the debate should begin. It appears, however, Senate Democrats have no interest in openly debating this bill. Rather, they want to rush it through right after the Easter holiday..." - The Sioux City Journal editorial, March 26, 2008
"...Gov. Chet Culver should veto this one. The bill's potentially huge impact on taxpayers and the lack of sufficient public debate are ample reasons for the governor to buck fellow Democratic leaders..." - Cedar Rapids Gazette editorial, March 26, 2008
"A power grab. An end run. Those are some of the ways to describe the attempt by Democrats at the Statehouse to expand union clout by fast-tracking legislation this week with little time for public comment. Changes in the labor-crafted legislation are not modest...What's going on up at the Statehouse is about the Democrats being in charge of both chambers and having the votes to move forward legislation they have long sought. That's their right. The discussion leading up to the vote, however, has been too hurried for most Iowans to have an impact, which is also their right." - The Des Moines Register editorial, March 22, 2008

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Comments From Christopher Rants

Iowa House Minority Leader Christopher Rants weighs on a recent attempt by Democrats to ram thru controversial legislation that would give public employee labor unions a great deal of power and strip away many decisions currently made my local governments:

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Iowa Under Siege

Iowa State Senator (and 1st Congressional District GOP Candidate) David Hartsuch discusses recent attempts by Senate Democrats to greatly increase the power of public employee unions:

Saturday, March 15, 2008

News From RPI Chairman Stewart Iverson

Filing Deadline is Today

Literally hundreds of Republicans have filed for U.S. Senate and House, and Iowa Senate and House. Our Republican leadership has recruited tremendous candidates for these positions. In all, we have 24 candidates for the Iowa Senate and more than 80 running for the Iowa House.

These candidates will need your help in order to be successful this fall. Please take the time to contact them and offer your assistance. A full roster can be found here:

If you would like to run for a county office, it’s not too late. The deadline for filing is March 26. Please contact your county auditor for more information!

Senate Republicans’ Stimulus Proposal

Senate Republicans this week enacted a key provision of their economic stimulus plan by passing legislation that allows federal rebate checks to be accepted tax-free. Senate Republicans are currently working on other portions of their stimulus package as well.

One component of their plan is a proposal that extends Iowa’s tax-free weekend through Sunday, and lifts the restriction of only clothes being tax free during these days. For example, a family of four will receive a stimulus check of $1,800 from the federal government. Allowing this money to be spent tax-free adds 6 percent, or an extra $108, to spend on clothes, school supplies or a new computer.

Additionally, over the next five years Iowa is expected to see a skilled workforce training deficit of 150,000 workers. In their plan, Senate Republicans call for a job training program that will address the projected shortage.

Finally, Senate Republicans want Iowans to improve the value of their homes by exempting any improvements made to an Iowan’s home for the next five years from taxation.

Unfortunately, Senate Democrats continue to stand in the way on these last three provisions.

Have a great weekend -

Hartsuch Set To Challenge Braley

State Senator David Hartsuch has made it official - he will be on the primary ballot on June 3rd for the Republican nomination to run against Democrat incumbent Bruce Braley.

Many in our county have gotten a chance to meet Sen. Hartsuch over the past year as he has attended Central Committee meetings and fundraisers here in Jackson County. I think all would agree that although we would hate to lose him in the State Senate, that he would be a great replacement for Braley in the U.S. Congress.

-Adam Reuter

Today Marks the 35th Anniversary of McCain's release from "Hanoi Hilton"

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Iowa House Minority Leader Rants Reviews 2008 Session

Iowa House Minority Leader Christopher Rants Discusses the "Good, Bad and the Ugly" of the 2008 House Session:

Update from RPI Chairman Stewart Iverson

Dear Friends,
I wanted to update you on some of the key issues in the state:

Marriage Debate
This week, House Republicans called up a vote on the marriage amendment. The bipartisan amendment was drafted due to an August 31, 2007 ruling by Polk County Judge Robert Hanson, which threw out Iowa’s Defense of Marriage Act and thereby made Iowa the only state in the nation to allow same-sex marriage.
The measure was defeated, 50 to 46. All Republicans voted to bring up the bill, and it was all Democrats voting against it. Unfortunately, because the Democrats will not bring up the amendment for a vote, the issue of marriage has been ripped from the hands of Iowans, and instead placed in the hands of the courts.
Be sure to contact your GOP House members and let them know you appreciate their support of this measure.

Culver Slipping in Latest Poll
Apparently, Iowans are none too keen on Culver’s performance. The latest SurveyUSA poll shows him with an approval rating below 50 percent. See for yourself by clicking here.

Gambling with our Veterans’ Trust
House Democrats this week voted down an amendment that would have taken $5 million out of Iowa’s general fund – which exceeds $6 billion – for the Veterans Trust Fund. The measure failed on a 51 to 45 vote.
Democrats instead favored the creation of a new lottery game to fund the program.
The bill, House File 2359, establishes a new series of lottery games to fund the Veterans Trust Fund – which assists low-income Iowa veterans, spouses and their dependents with travel for wounded veterans, job training or college tuition assistance, and certain health care services.
With this bill, the Iowa Lottery would offer one $1 scratch game and one $2 dollar scratch game, as well as one 25-cent and one 50-cent pull-tab game, with post-overhead and marketing expenses going to the Veterans Trust Fund.
The amendment, H-8045, would have allocated $5 million of the state’s $6 billion budget for the Veterans Trust Fund.
Our veterans deserve a sound, reliable funding stream rather than pull-tabs.

Watch Chairman Iverson on “The Insiders”
Those of you in the WHO-TV Channel 13 viewing area will have the opportunity to watch Chairman Iverson take on the Iowa Democratic Party Chair this Sunday, March 9, at 9:30 a.m. Be sure to tune in!

Keep Your Party Strong
Our efforts are in full gear at the Republican Party of Iowa. But we need your help. Please make sure we can fully fund our efforts in November by donating here.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

News From RPI Chairman Stewart Iverson

The following was sent in an e-mail recently by Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Stewart Iverson:

Getting Down to Business
Floor debate in the Iowa House had an interesting turn this week, when House Democrats admitted that without a tax increase on Iowa businesses, they will be unable to balance the state budget this session.
Prompting the comment was an amendment put forth by House Republicans that would have mirrored the federal economic stimulus package by allowing an accelerated write-off for businesses for certain assets they own, called bonus depreciation.
The Democrats defeated this amendment on a partisan vote, 53 to 47, with every single Democrat casting a vote against the bill.
This was a great opportunity to stand up for hometown Iowa businesses, who will be hit with a tax increase of up to $30 million. The reason the Democrats gave for voting down the amendment, as stated above, is that the additional revenue generated through the tax increase was needed to help them balance their budget.
This is a sad statement – when state revenues are coming in at record levels – that Democrats need to raise taxes just to balance the budget.
Recently, the Legislature gave Microsoft a big tax break to land a server farm in central Iowa. Tax incentives are an effective way to lure new businesses to the state. Shouldn’t our hard-working, existing businesses in Iowa be offered some tax relief as well?
The Democrats, with their runaway spending, don’t think so.
The Heritage Foundation had this to say about bonus depreciation:
“The best part of the agreement is tax cuts for businesses. "Bonus depreciation," which allows companies to rapidly deduct qualified investment from their tax liability, makes new investment opportunities more profitable and attractive. This provision would increase business investment, which would create jobs and strengthen the economy.”
Republicans will continue to offer real tax relief to stimulate the economy and help Iowa’s businesses.
Stewart Iverson
Chairman, The Republican Party of Iowa