Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Guest Column by Senate Republican Whip Steve Kettering (Lake View)

When your act is not quite ready for Broadway, you see how it plays in Peoria. This week the Governor took his Bonding Play to stages around the state.

The lights dim, the curtains part. The Governor rushes on stage. The set is the Capitol rotunda. The Governor is dressed in Sunday’s best. The temperature is warm. He is sweating as he excitedly runs across stage, his right hand held high above his head, a credit card in hand. “I’ve got a higher limit, we can spend more he says to those assembled. We don’t have to accept that Senate baby bond bill of only $175 million. It is not enough. We can do more. The state’s credit rating is triple A. We can borrow $750 million. It won’t affect our credit rating. Other states have borrowed far more. We can spend it now. Gaming taxes will pay for this for 20 years to come. You see how easy it is? It is the gamblers who will pay,” he says. The Governor’s stay on stage is brief. There is more shopping to do. The credit card has not been maxed out. The Governor’s exiting line: “Today is the time to spend.” With that he moves off stage.

The reviews were not pleasant. The critics not kind. The obvious – this bonding play is not destined for Broadway. It may be rescripted. Total scenes may be removed. Legislative democrats immediately rejected borrowing for transportation infrastructure, and rolled out their own $700 million borrowing plan. Iowans will see many versions of spending plans before adjournment. What is disappointingly missing is any attempt to prioritize spending within revenues received. It is apparent this administration is determined to live far beyond it’s means.

As I write this, the Senate is concluding debate on Senate File 389. This bill removes individual responsibility and replaces it with government run health care. The private insurance companies of this state will be required to subsidize a state bureaucratic corporation. It will require private citizens to disclose on income tax returns the status of their children’s health coverage. The bill mandates the Department of Revenue and Department of Human Services to create penalties for parents who do not sign their children up for government issued health insurance. This bill passed the Senate 30 – 18 with bipartisan opposition and will now go to the House.

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