Friday, June 27, 2008

News From RPI Chairman Stewart Iverson

Obama’s Gun Stance: Unconstitutional

Des Moines – Today’s Supreme Court decision overturning the Washington, DC gun ban sent shockwaves through the presidential race in Iowa.

Barack Obama’s extreme, and now, unconstitutional position on the Second Amendment highlights his unfitness to be Commander-in-Chief. In 1996, while campaigning for the Illinois Legislature Barack Obama responded to a questionnaire indicating he supported banning the sale, manufacturing and ownership of guns. He is also on the record as supporting the Washington, DC gun ban.

“Iowans take their Second Amendment rights very seriously. Obama’s extremely liberal position on guns is just another example of him being out of step with a vast majority of Iowans,” said Stewart Iverson, Chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa. “The more Iowans get to know Obama’s positions on issues like gun control, the fewer votes he will get in November.”

Read the entire article.

John McCain and Victory 2008 Open Urbandale Office

The McCain campaign has hired a great team for Iowa and is teaming up with the Republican Victory Campaign to achieve victory in 2008. McCain’s Iowa Chairman, Dave Roederer, announced the hire of Charlie Liebshutz as McCain’s Iowa campaign manager. Liebshutz will be teaming up with Victory Director Jim Anderson and field directors across the state to help build our Republican grassroots effort. The Urbandale Victory office is located at 2775 86th Street, Urbandale, IA 50322. Stay tuned to your email for volunteer opportunities in the coming days to help elect Republicans all across Iowa!

News From GOP House Leader Chris Rants

Gun Laws In Iowa

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Americans have a right to own guns for self-defense in their homes. This was a huge decision and a major victory to those who believe in protecting the 2nd Amendment and allowing the citizens of this country to keep and bear arms.

On a more local level, the issue of the right to conceal and carry, the castle doctrine (allowing people to protect their home) and others have been brought before the Iowa General Assembly numerous times.

Just this past year, Rep. Clel Baudler from Greenfield sponsored an amendment which would have required sheriffs to issue a concealed weapon permit to a qualified applicant. If a sheriff denied a weapon permit, they had to give the reason for denial in writing. It would have also made other changes to the concealed weapons law including an increase in training.

The Amendment, H-8674 to HF 2700, was ruled not germane and 46 House Democrats decided they did not want this issue to come up.

In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling, I think it’s important to reach out to these 46 Democrats and express disappointment for the way they handled the conceal and carry legislation.

The following are the members who voted against bringing this legislation forward.
Rep. Abdul-Samad
Rep. Bailey
Rep. Bukta
Rep. Cohoon
Rep. Davitt
Rep. Foege
Rep. Ford
Rep. Frevert
Rep. Gaskill
Rep. Heddens
Rep. Hunter
Rep. Huser
Rep. Jacoby
Rep. Jochum
Rep. Kelley
Rep. Kressig
Rep. Kuhn
Rep. Lensing
Rep. Lykam
Rep. Mascher
Rep. McCarthy
Rep. Mertz
Rep. Miller
Rep. Oldson
Rep. D Olson
Rep. R Olson
Rep. T Olson
Rep. Petersen
Rep. Quirk
Rep. Reasoner
Rep. Reichert
Rep. Schueller
Rep. Shomshor
Rep. Smith
Rep. T Taylor
Rep. D Taylor
Rep. Thomas
Rep. Wendt
Rep. Wenthe
Rep. Wessel-Kroeschell
Rep. Whitaker
Rep. Whitead
Rep. Winckler
Rep. Murphy

To contact these members, vist:

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Reed Wins Senate Race

With all but one precinct in the state reporting, it appears that Christopher Reed has won the GOP nomination to face off against Tom Harkin in November. The vote totals are as follows:

Christopher Reed 25,148
George Eichhorn 24,735
Steve Rathje 21,326

With the vote totals being so close, a recount is possible. At this point in time though, it appears that Christopher Reed has secured the party's nomination. Congratulations, Chris!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Lawmakers Should Heed Vaudt's Budget Warning

Below is a recent editorial published in the Des Moines Register:

Feeling uneasy about Iowa's budget? For good reason, based on state Auditor David Vaudt's recent report: Democratic lawmakers hid some spending and sidestepped state spending limitations by shifting $444 million in general-fund expenses to special accounts for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

That's a record, but the practice is nothing new. When Republicans led the Legislature, they did the same thing, and were criticized, too. (On the chart Vaudt presented, though, Republicans were doing this in at least some years when revenue growth was declining, not growing.)

Tapping special accounts typically occurs because lawmakers want to spend more than they can afford based on regular revenue streams.

But special accounts are supposed to be used for special purposes, and not to routinely cover shortfalls. One example: The Senior Living Trust Fund, created in 2000, was intended to help older Iowans live in their own homes as long as possible.

Over the years, almost $600 million has been diverted from that fund to cover general-fund costs, Vaudt said. While lawmakers are repaying some of that money, they keep borrowing it. That apparently will leave just $37 million in the trust fund in a year.

It's like a family drawing down their children's college-savings accounts to pay regular household expenses.

Mike Gronstal, Senate majority leader, said he is not comfortable with dipping into special funds, and wants to move away from doing that. But it has to be done in the context of establishing policies that better protect middle-class Iowans, said the Council Bluffs Democrat.

"We fully agree this budget is not perfect, and it was not easy to dig ourselves out of all the bad budget practices the Republicans engaged in, but in every respect this budget improves on the previous Republican budgets," he said. Gronstal also said he believes Democrats have put more money into special accounts than Republicans did.

Still, it looks like the gap between spending and revenue may grow because of multiyear commitments and promised tax credits. Add a possible recession, and the emergency funds socked away won't go far.

If that comes to pass, and Iowa's special accounts are exhausted, it will mean cutting the state budget or raising taxes.

Instead, elected officials of both parties should shake their bad habit. Move quickly to phase out relying on those special accounts to cover regular general-fund expenses. That will better position Iowa for the hard times that always come around sooner or later.

News From Iowa House GOP Leader Chris Rants

A Sad Day

You may have read the bad news today that Winnebago will be closing their doors in Charles City. Winnebago is one of Charles City’s three largest employers and beginning Aug. 1, nearly 270 Iowans will be out of a job.

Of course many will say there are numerous reasons for the closure of this plant—higher gas prices are leading to less demand for the RV’s, a slumping national economy is hurting businesses throughout the country, etc. However, I believe there are some measures that could have been taken this past year to prevent this tragedy from happening.

You might remember me talking and writing about bonus deprecation. This year Congress passed legislation that provided tax breaks for businesses who purchase new equipment. In order to insure that EVERY Iowa business who purchased this type of equipment could receive the tax break, Iowa needed to couple with the federal tax changes.

I proposed amendment H-8039 to Senate File 2123 which would have done just that. This amendment was also the perfect opportunity to stand up for little guy. Hometown Iowa businesses were going to be hit with an income tax increase of up to $30 million if the Legislature did not “couple” or mirror the federal tax changes in regards to bonus depreciation. Specifically, in this instance, Winnebago would have been able to purchase new equipment and lower their tax bill had this amendment passed.

The CEO of Winnebago wrote to me, explaining how important this measure was for Winnebago and their business. I stood on the House floor and read his correspondence to be sure that every Representative was fully aware of the situation. Knowing it would hurt Winnebago and other businesses across the state and completely disregarding the pleas from the Winnebago CEO himself, Democrats voted down the amendment on a party-line vote (47-53, HJ Page 440).

This is just another example of what the Democrats did to run over the little guy the past two years in the Legislature. When powerful lobbyists came calling, Democrats had no problem passing big tax breaks for Microsoft. But when a CEO of an Iowa company, that provides jobs for thousands of Iowans in our communities across the state pleads for Democrats to do the right thing, they turn around and put them out of business. The closing of this plant is truly unfortunate. But not nearly as unfortunate as having the ability to stop it from happening, but turning your back instead.

It may be too late for Winnebago, but if Iowans put Republicans in control of the House, they will be the last business to get stamped out.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

News From State House GOP Leader Chris Rants

Vaudt Confirms - Taxpayers Were Duped

On Wednesday, state auditor David Vaudt held a meeting with the press to discuss his findings in the state budget. After careful review and breakdown of the Democrats' budget, Vaudt pointed out the following:

--The past two legislative sessions have increased state spending by $849 million, while revenue only grew by $559 million
--Democrats claimed to have repaid the Senior Living Trust but Vaudt found the hidden shifts which show the trust fund balance will be less than $38 million by the end of June 2009.
--Democrats shifted $444 million of expenses to special accounts to get around the state’s spending limitation law, hiding record spending from Iowa taxpayers.

The auditor's criticisms of the Democrats’ budget echoes what House Republicans have been saying since early in 2007. Democrats who campaigned as conservative, pro-business candidates came to Des Moines and became big-spending liberals. The auditors' criticism is further proof that while the Democrats claim to have approved a fiscally sound budget, the truth is that they went on a spending spree and tried to hide it from the taxpayers. I commend Auditor Vaudt for being diligent in revealing the truth behinds the Democrats’ irresponsible and bloated budget.

To view the entire review of the auditor's findings visit my website (