Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Liberty Agenda: Putting People First

Iowa Republicans are united in support of returning to the notion that it is Iowans that run government not the other way around. Since 2006, the final year in which Republicans controlled at least one chamber of the legislature, Iowa’s government has become bloated and unresponsive. The focus has become on what is best for the bureaucracy and maintaining the status quo, rather than what is best for Iowa’s families.

As Iowans have seen numerous times over the past several years, government is erecting barricades in front of them instead removing roadblocks to their success. Government has become too large too fast and it is time to make sure government is accountable to Iowa’s families.

Here is what Republicans will do if Iowa voters give us the opportunity:

Allow Iowans the Right to Vote on Marriage

While Iowans differ on the ruling handed down by the Supreme Court all Iowans can agree that the people’s voice has been silenced. There is currently a disagreement between the branches of government. A vote of the people will solve this disagreement. This single act by an individual has been held as the final arbiter in this state and this country for over two centuries. Yet this fundamental democratic act is being thwarted by Democrats who control the Legislature.

Republicans propose that the citizens of Iowa be allowed the opportunity to determine the definition of marriage in Iowa. This is a judgment that should be left in the hands of the citizens, not unelected judges or an unresponsive legislature. Iowans deserve a voice.

A Return to the Fundamentals of Government

As Iowa’s government has expanded, the role of government has changed drastically from one that focuses limited resources on priorities to one that intrudes into trivial matters at the expense of safety.

Since 1998, the final year in which Republicans were in control of state government, the bureaucracy paid for by the taxpayer has increased by over 4,149 employees. This increase has failed to provide additional investments into the men and women that protect us as we travel across this state. In fact since 1998 Iowa has gone from 355 state troopers to only 288 troopers protecting Iowans. This reduction of 67 troopers occurred while the rest of the bureaucracy grew and state spending ballooned to the highest point ever recorded.

Iowa’s government has become unbalanced and out of touch with what Iowa families need and how they want their tax dollars to be spent. Over the past three years alone the bureaucracy has grown to include:
  • 7 new employees in the Governor’s office
  • 2 new gardeners for the Governor’s mansion
  • 20 new employees to collect more taxes
  • 4 new employees to create a data warehouse that is not used
  • Nearly 1,000 vacant but funded positions
Republicans propose to return to the 1998 level of troopers within the next 5 years. While it took a decade for this reduction to occur, Republicans will be aggressive in identifying areas of savings that could be utilized to increase the number of troopers protecting Iowans.

The Iowa Good Neighbor Act

Synonymous with being an Iowan, is being a good neighbor. A neighbor offering to watch your child when the school bus comes in the morning or a grandparent spending time with their grandchildren are examples. These are gestures that can make a huge difference to a family looking to balance the demands of work and parenting. Republicans believe that government cannot be allowed to get in the way of Iowans who rely on family and neighbors.

This fall in Michigan a mother was singled out and nearly fined by Michigan’s version of the Department of Human Services for simply allowing the children waiting in her driveway for the school bus to instead wait inside her house if it was raining or cold. The state decided she was a daycare and attempted to fine her for being unregistered.

This brought to mind Iowa Democrat’s attempts in 2007 to force grandparents to register as daycare providers if they were watching their own grandchildren on a regular basis. Iowans, whether they are neighbors or grandparents, should not be targeted by the Department of Human Services for simply offering a helping hand. This is why Republicans will offer the Iowa Good Neighbor Act to protect Iowans from the intrusive hand of big government. If Iowans want to lend a helping hand by watching a child, they should not be subjected to nanny-state meddling from government.

The Iowa Good Neighbor Act will put into Code specific protections for family members and neighbors who are simply being good Iowans. They will not be defined as a daycare or a daycare provider unless they are specifically offering that service.

The law will put strength behind families and neighbors, not behind the intrusiveness of government inspections. Paternalistic, nanny-state policies are on the rise at the national level and Republicans want to make sure they don’t spread to Iowa.