The Des Moines Register’s editorial this morning provided a concise (for Democrats) explanation about why Iowans should not get their $800 million over-payment returned to them. It’s to be expected that now that there is extra revenue coming in, we see the Left drooling over the opportunity to spend our money.
It’s a wonder we managed to survive the past few years with so little money to spend.
But seriously, we did just fine. And that should be the point now. We’ve managed to do a great job of assessing where the government is spending money it doesn’t need to be spending, and cut some of it back (there’s more to cut, but we’ll leave that for another time). But even though we have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country and a surplus in the Treasury, doesn’t mean it’s okay for the state government to keep the extra money from Iowans from last year.
We don’t operate our state from savings, we operate it from revenue. Well, except for when we borrow, but let’s not quibble over that today.
The Register puts a number of items up for spending that are long-term expenses… they aren’t a leaky roof, as they try to relate it, but they are the lawn, the car upkeep, the utility bills. They may even be things we should do and pay for, but if we are going to expand our expenses (which should be questioned regardless), the money for those things should come from current revenue, not savings. Otherwise, we are making the same mistake we’ve made time and again in the past by paying for ongoing expenses with one-time resources. It’s a foolish mistake. It’s like taking your year-end bonus and paying the light bill and getting an oil change. If your budget doesn’t allow you to pay for those things from your existing income, you are not in good financial shape to begin with.
If the I-JOBS program of Culver’s last 2 years in office had waited until this money was available, I could accept the idea of spending it on that kind of a project. But alas, we were far too impatient and had to instead saddle our next generation with keeping the gambling enterprises alive in order to pay for this program.
And the Register can’t help but show how they have bought into the ridiculous notion that government jobs bring value. The only kind of jobs that bring value to the economy are those that contribute to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)… that is, jobs that actually generate income by creating products or services that people want to buy. Government jobs don’t do that, and instead are a drain on GDP.
We don’t really have a pressing one-time financial need in Iowa, aside perhaps for some infrastructure such as bridges and roads, that the state government needs to attend to, although I’m sure some think otherwise. There may be plenty of recurring expense needs that need attention (either to add or drop), but using this surplus to cover the lack of revenue for these items is foolish.
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I take a bit of exception to the idea that HF1 provide the people’s money back to them as a tax credit for 2013 taxes. I realize that the printing and mailing of checks is an expense, but the money needs to get to Iowans now, not a year from now. We’ve done it before, we can do it again. Mail out the checks.
Obviously, lawmakers want to keep the interest on that money, eh?
About the Authors
Mr. Smith is the Publisher of The Conservative Reader, and is a co-founder of Valley Evangelical Free Church in West Des Moines, Iowa. He is Owner of Ambrosia Web Technology and is a Technology Relationship Manager and VP for Wells Fargo. Art holds a degree in Computer Science from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Art's views are purely his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wells Fargo.
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