All Posts Tagged With: "Governor Terry Branstad"

Future of Commercial Tax Reform This Session Shaky

tax battleDespite both Parties rhetoric to the contrary, I am hearing the chances of any significant Commercial Tax Reform in Iowa is dwindling.

Though legislation has passed each chamber, the Conference Committee tasked with finding a compromise both sides are comfortable with will struggle mightily.  This is largely due to the fact that the structure for reforming the tax code that passed by each chamber are not compatible with each other.  While Senate Democrats are insisting on a tax credit formula which businesses apply for and are granted, the House Republicans and the Governor want changes to the percentage assessed values are taxed at as well as lower caps on local property taxes.

I highly doubt that either side will give much on their chosen structure …


2013 Legislative Session Delivering Little Hope for Conservatives So Far

Iowa HouseQuestion: What has happened so far at the Statehouse this session?

Answer: Mostly a whole lot of nothing.

With potentially as little as three weeks left before they gavel out this has been one of the most uneventful sessions since I began following them closely.  There could still be some fireworks in store as the larger ticket items get discussed, but as it stands now nearly everything Governor Branstad has signed into law has been with near unanimous consent from both Parties.  In fact, of the 36 bills he has signed so far most have been technical or clerical items passed with no dissent—and all but a couple have had no more than 3 no votes between the two chambers (notable exceptions being SF 184 …


Challenging Iowa’s Proposed Education Reforms: Part 1 of 3 (Increased Teacher Pay)

Later this session the Iowa Legislature will debate various measures, namely the Governor’s, designed to improve the performance of our state’s K-12 schools.  There are three main components to the Governor’s proposal and in a continuing series we will look at each separately.  Today we start with the most expensive—the $160 million for increasing the base teacher salary from $28,000 to $35,000 over the next three years.

First things first here, before they appropriate an additional dime of taxpayer money to this system it is both fair and prudent that at least three simple questions be asked and answered—Who are the great teachers in Iowa? Who are the average teachers? and Who are the bad teachers?

To clarify, by “who” I mean a literal list …


Grassley and Branstad Blowing Smoke on Wind Power

The tax credit for wind energy is back on the agenda, and Iowa’s own Chuck Grassley and Terry Branstad are taking leadership roles in fighting for the extension, going so far as to appear together at a press conference about it.

Wind energy is my favorite target at the moment, because it combines socialist economics, corruption, aesthetic vandalism, junk science, and cynical political machinations – all melting together into a hideous soup of wasted money and ruined skylines.

Tough Love

After the last election, targeting two of Iowa’s best known Republicans for criticism is perhaps a risky business, but for those who think I – with my dislike of leftists – shouldn’t be doing it, I offer the following historical analogy:

In the days of …


The State of Iowa Mourns the loss of Senator Pat Ward

Iowans all across the state were shocked and saddened this morning by the news that Senator Pat Ward had passed away after losing her battle with breast cancer.  She had served as a Republican in the Iowa Senate since 2004 and was an extremely respected woman and legislator.  The following are statements released by Governor Branstad, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, and Republican Party of Iowa Chairman A.J Spiker, and TCR Publisher Art Smith.

All of us at The Conservative Reader pass on our sincere condolences to the Ward family.  She will be missed.

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Governor Branstad

“I was with shock and sadness that learned of my friend Pat Ward’s passing. She had a wonderful career in public service, and was such a caring and passionate …


A Tradition Is Born: Senator Jack Whitver To Host Branstad and Latham At Ankeny BBQ

With the primary and caucus season officially over, the time for Iowa Republicans to come together has now arrived.  For Republicans in Ankeny and the surrounding areas, literally getting together will be on the menu Saturday May 26th at the Ankeny Band Shell in Wagner Park—along with some world-class barbeque.

The event is the first annual “Senator Whitver Memorial Day Weekend Picnic,” and it will feature some great guests.  Among those speaking will be Governor Terry Branstad, Congressman Tom Latham, and Secretary of State Matt Schultz.

For Senator Whitver the idea of having a picnic was the perfect way to bridge two good causes, “There is such a feeling of community in Ankeny and I wanted to start an event that can be an annual …


2012 Legislative Session Ends Minus Tax Deal: Analysis and Governor’s Statement

After failing to reach a compromise on tax reform for the second consecutive session, today the Iowa Legislature adjourned until next year.  In the end the Governor-backed House proposal on property tax reform failed to even see a vote in the Senate, as Senator Gronstal refused to bring it to the floor.

We will have analysis on this in the coming days, but my gut tells me that privately many Republicans, especially those in the 2010 crew, are more than willing to gamble on a majority in the Iowa Senate after November.  This is not to say that they did not want to put something on the books this session, but there are multiple reasons why this conclusion was advantageous.

First, considering the alternative, the …


Senator Joe Bolkcom’s Political Theater Reveals Utter Disregard For Iowa Taxpayers

Perhaps no issue better illustrates the philosophical divide between left-wing Democrats and right-wing Republicans than the Earned Income Tax Credit.  Here in Iowa a theatrical stunt a few weeks back by ultra-Liberal Iowa City Democrat Senator Joe Bolkcom put the issue front and center.  In the hopes of pressuring Governor Branstad to support a huge increase in the Iowa Earned Income Tax Credit, Pleasantville resident Julie Heck was brought in to symbolize the need for this action by taking part in a press conference before then testifying in front of the Ways and Means Committee.  Ms. Heck is a single mother of three who is currently receiving the Iowa Earned Income Tax credit, and on this day set about making the case that while she …


Has The Tea Party Wave In Iowa Crested?

The year was 2010.  In Iowa, like in the rest of the Country, a reaction to the obscene growth in size and spending at all levels of government boiled into a loud and visible public movement.  The internet was a buzz, local Tea Party chapters were springing up, and the Iowa Capitol was the site of several well attended rallies expressing the sentiment of less government and lower taxes.  Two years later, it is time to ask the question—what results have come of this?

The short answer at the state level here in Iowa is—not too much so far.

Most will argue that more patience is required—and they are right.  Many will cite a variety of reasons that explain the lack of great action—some valid …


The Tea Party Comes To Ankeny: An Interview With Stacey Rogers(Part 2 of 2)

This is second installment of a 2-part interview.  To read part one click here.

Health Insurance Exchange

The debate raging on a national level regarding Obama Care has produced 50 separate state level clashes on this unpopular legislation’s viability, practicality, and future. Currently 27 states are suing the Federal government on the grounds the law is unconstitutional, while last week a referendum in Ohio resulted in 66% of voters expressing their wishes to be excluded.

In Iowa the form this debate has taken largely centers on the state level requirement to set up a health insurance exchange to work in accordance with Obama Care. Democrats tried last session to construct this exchange but the measure failed and set the scene for an all-out slug …


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