Monday, April 28, 2008

Taxpayer Forum

The Jackson County Republicans hosted a Taxpayer Forum yesterday at the Ohnward Fine Arts Center in Maquoketa:

Speakers included State Auditor David Vaudt, U.S. Senate Candidates George Eichhorn, Steve Rathje and Christopher Reed, 1st District Congressional Candidate Dr. David Hartsuch, RPI Co-Chair Leon Mosley, Highway 30 Coalition Chair Edith Pfeffer and Jackson County Supervisor Candidate David Kendell.

All speakers were given time to speak on various tax-related topics. Following their speeches, a Q&A session was held. Guests of the event were given a chance to ask questions, to which any of the speakers were allowed to respond to. It was a very informative day and gave everyone in attendance a chance to meet and speak to a lot of the candidates that they will be voting for in the upcoming primary election on June 3rd and the general election on November 4th.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

1st District Convention Results

The 1st District GOP Convention was held on Saturday, April 19. At the Convention an election was held to elect State Central Committee members. John Ortega, Karl Gilbertson and John Hulsizer Sr. were elected. Also running for the State Central Committee were Gwen Eilers and Denise Kremer.

Below are the results of the elections held for State Convention Committees:

Permanent Organization:
Shana Kramer
Nicole Baker

Roshelle Akins
Michael Elliott

Ella Sievers
Liz Schofield

Jeremiah Johnson
Ron Gruenhagen
Pam Yenter
Jim Bushkamp

Friday, April 18, 2008

News From House Minority Leader Christopher Rants

The following is from a recent newsletter sent by Iowa House Minority Leader Christopher Rants:

The End of Session is near...

Tuesday the 22nd is the last “scheduled” day of session. 100 days since we gaveled in back in January. Although, no one really knows when the Legislature will adjourn. In part because, there’s so much left to do and so much left unknown.

There are still serious budget discussions left to go. Many budgets such as: infrastructure, economic development, health and human services—Republicans (or the general public) haven’t even seen a bill for. How much money are we going to spend in these areas? No one knows. Also still out there is the infamous standings bill, which deals with salaries, standing unlimited appropriations, and generally acts a catch-all bill. We’ve seen that Democrats typically put policy bills that couldn’t stand on their own in here to generate the votes for this massive expenditure. This is a bad way to pass laws, but unfortunately that’s what we believe will happen this year.

Rest assured, Republicans will read and study each of the bills once the Democrats release them to us. We will take our time, do our due diligence, and let the public know just how big our budget is going to be. From the figures that the Democrats ARE showing us, it looks like the state budget will be AT LEAST increased by $830 million over the last two years. They offset that with $930 million increase in NEW TAXES. And yet, there has been no tax relief passed, although plenty of opportunities have been offered by Republicans.

An update for you on the Chapter 20/Collective Bargaining bill—the governor was quoted in the Des Moines Register today saying he was still looking over the bill and that the substance of the bill was giving him concerns. Democrat leaders in the House and Senate have indicated that they will be spending all weekend coordinating with the governor’s office, working through their differences on budget bills AND the Chapter 20 bill. You’ve done an incredible job reaching out to the governor and telling him to veto this damaging piece of legislation. Don’t be afraid to keep contacting him. Your efforts are putting pressure on him to do the RIGHT thing and veto the bill, keep it up!
Phone: (515) 281-5211 and email

Thursday, April 17, 2008

News From RPI Chairman Stewart Iverson

Finally…a budget!

Well, it eventually had to happen – and it has. The Democrats have finally released their budget, with just a week left to go in the session.

The end result is a 15.6 percent increase over two years. As if that weren’t enough, they actually came in UNDER Gov. Culver’s budget recommendation, so no doubt as the negotiations continue, we will likely see that number rise as the Democrats try to wrap up the session.

Even at this number, it’s still $300 million MORE in spending than Gov. Vilsack and the House GOP approved in the entire eight years of his administration.

Increasing spending by this much in just two years will leave a serious strain on our budget, because this unfortunately is not just a one-time thing. This funding – nearly one billion dollars – will have to be paid in future years as well, before any additional increases in spending in the upcoming sessions.

The result, coming into next year’s session, will likely be more tax increases just to fund what they have already committed.

This summer and fall, please contribute time and resources to our legislative candidates. We must bring back the fiscal stability of a Republican-controlled state Legislature.

What do Republicans believe?

As many of you depart for district conventions on Saturday, it’s important to remember our core beliefs.

Honest, open and responsive government is limited in its scope, nature and power.

The “Right to Work” and Private Property Rights are essential to a free people.

Traditional marriage and the family unit must be protected, preserved and strengthened.

Iowa’s children must be given the opportunity to receive a quality education.

We the People, derive our lives, dignity and innate value from the Creator.

Economic growth is undeniably related to taxation, regulation and government spending.

Legal immigration to Iowa has had historically positive results.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Greatest Play In Baseball

This may not be a video that is necessarily political in nature, but I feel it is worth a few minutes of your time:

More Details About Upcoming Taxpayers Forum

Maquoketa—Iowa’s Auditor of State David Vaudt will be the main speaker at a Taxpayer Forum Sunday, April 27, at the Drew Gallery, Ohnward Fine Arts Center, 1215 E. Platt St., Maquoketa. He will give a presentation on the Iowa State Budget.

Vaudt, a Certified Public Accountant, is in his second term as Auditor of State. In 2004 he was named to Accounting Today’s “2004 List of 100 Most Influential People in Accounting.” His office serves as the “Taxpayers Watchdog.”

Vaudt is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Iowa Society of Certified Public Accountants, and the Des Moines Chapter Association of Government Accountants.

He serves as Board Member of the Iowa Homeless Youth Centers and member of the Des Moines Rotary. He also has served on various other community and civic boards, including the Better Business Bureau, the Des Moines Playhouse, the Morris Scholarship Fund, the Iowa Supreme Court Client Security and Attorney Disciplinary Commission, and the Walnut Creek Family YMCA.

The public event starts at 1 p.m. with a luncheon. From 2-3 p.m., speakers will talk on tax and economic issues of interest to taxpayers. At 3 p.m. there will be a question and answer period.

Additional speakers:

  • U.S. Senate candidate Steve Rathje of Cedar Rapids will speak on federal taxes. Rathje is one of three Republicans running for Senate in the June primary. A successful businessman, he has received the “National Leadership Award” and “Business Advisory Council 2003: Businessman of the Year” award.

  • State Senator and Congressional candidate David Hartsuch, M.D. (R-Bettendorf) will speak on Iowa Legislative actions affecting taxes. He is a licensed Emergency Room Physician, and is also a CPA with public auditing experience.

  • Republican State Central Committee Co-Chairman Leon Mosley will speak on taxpayer concerns he has heard while traveling the state. A former Black Hawk County Supervisor, he also has worked on many civic projects.

  • Highway 30 Coalition Chairperson Edith Pfeffer of Clinton will speak on funding Iowa road improvements. She has also been involved with the Time-21 Initiative.

  • County Supervisor candidate David Kendell will speak on local tax concerns. He is a Bellevue farmer and businessman, and was previously on the Jackson County Board of Supervisors for eight years.

The Taxpayer Forum is sponsored by the Jackson County Republican Central Committee. Call 563-872-3705 or e-mail us at for ticket reservations. Tickets for the event are also available at the door at $10 each.

How Would Barrack Obama Answer the 3 a.m. phone call?

News From Iowa House Minority Leader Christopher Rants

Chris Rants discusses this week what is going on behind closed doors at the Statehouse:

News From RPI Chairman Stewart Iverson

$32 million tax increase

Newspapers across the state blared the above headline Thursday morning, as taxes will again be raised in Iowa. That’s right – over $400 million in total tax increases, and counting, so far.

The latest measure would eliminate the local option sales tax for schools, and replace it with a statewide penny sales tax that, for now, is devoted to schools.

Two aspects of this bill are troubling. As we have seen time and time and time again, all too often when the governor and Legislature get their hands on funding, it gets “scooped” for other pet projects, especially in times of economic slowdown.

Second, this tax increase now raises the state’s use tax as well. The use tax is applied when businesses purchase goods from out of the state to use here in Iowa. Businesses often do not pay the sales tax in that state, and instead pay the Iowa use tax, which was exempt from local option sales taxes.

That is, until this bill went on its way.

Republicans offered two amendments that would have protected your tax dollars.

The first amendment would have provided constitutional protection to prevent the sales tax revenue from being scooped, or shifted, for other uses. It also provided that this bill would only take effect upon the ratification of an amendment to the Iowa Constitution to protect all revenues received from the state sales and use tax.

The second amendment would have helped to offset any future property tax increases by stating that if the state’s estimate of general fund revenues exceeds original estimates, the excess revenue would go to the Property Tax Equity and Relief Fund.

Remember – the sole intent of the original local option sales tax was for local residents to approve it themselves, and to only last 10 years.

Now, however, this is a permanent tax on the people of Iowa and a $32 million tax increase on Iowa businesses.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Jackson County Republicans To Host Tax Forum

The Jackson County Republicans have announced that they will be hosting a Taxpayer Forum at the Ohnward Fine Arts Center in Maquoketa on Sunday, April 27. There will be a social hour starting at 1:00pm, with the forum starting at 2:00. Following the forum, there will be a Q&A session starting at 3:00.

Scheduled speakers include: State Auditor David Vaudt, U.S. Senate Candidate Steve Rathje, Iowa Senator and 1st Congressional District Candidate Dr. David Hartsuch, State Central Committee Co-Chairman Leon Mosley, Edith Pfeffer, and County Supervisor candidate David Kendell.

The cost of admission to the event is $10. Tickets can be purchased at the door, or in advance by e-mail at .

News From Christopher Rants

The following is the latest news from the Iowa House from the House Minority Leader, Christopher Rants:

Give it back...
This week House Republicans challenged majority Democrats to give back any additional revenue the state collects at a key state budget meeting scheduled for Friday.

We all know the Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) is going to increase the estimate due to revenue running at over 10 percent year-to-date. Several Democrats have hinted that they are waiting for the increase to add spending to their already excessive budget. We think a better way to use this revenue is to reverse their tax increases and give it back to the people who gave it to the state in the first place - the taxpayers.

The Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) is a three person committee of experts who estimate state tax revenues. The Legislature is bound by law to use the REC’s December estimate of state revenue to build the state budget. The REC is set to meet Friday, and most expect the group to increase the revenue estimate. However state law also prevents the Legislature from spending any additional money from the April meeting.

If the Democrats are going to break the law, they may as well give the money back to the taxpayers. We’ve already seen the Democrats raise taxes at least twice this session. Once on business owners, and once on property owners.
Business owners were socked with an unexpected tax increase due to the federal stimulus package. The change is called “bonus depreciation” and when Iowa failed to mirror the federal changes, Iowa business owners saw a $55 million tax cut disappear.

Republicans attempted to protect property taxpayers from automatic property tax increases due to the growth in local school spending. The House GOP plan had the state pay the property tax increase instead of local property taxpayers. By defeating the Republican plan, Democrats nailed property taxpayers with a $95 million property tax increase over the next two fiscal years.

The REC is scheduled to meet at 10 on Friday to revise the estimates for FY 08 and FY 09.

Keep it up
Don't forget to keep contacting the governor, asking him to veto House File 2645 the bill that tilt's the collective bargaining filed in favor of the unions. Hopefully you've had the opportunity to talk to your city council members, school boards, and county supervisors and they've expressed to you just how bad this legislation is for Iowa and how it strips them of their power.

We must keep the pressure on the governor and keep the attention on this bill so it does not slip through.

Phone: (515) 281-5211