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Republicans Warn Romney: Don’t Skip Iowa PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 03 June 2011 14:03

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney officially kicked off his 2012 campaign for president Thursday with a speech at a windy farm in New Hampshire, a day after a new poll showed that he is still the candidate to beat in Iowa.

But Iowa Republicans on Thursday cautioned Romney not to skip the first-in-the-nation caucus state.

“I think that this is a very wide-open race,” said state Representative Steven Lukan (R-New Vienna). “I think Iowa Republicans look at their candidates extremely hard. This is not a state where rock stars exist. Iowans want to see you in the pancake house, and they want to see you at the VFW steak fry. You have to engage them one-on-one. ... I think anybody that chooses to skip Iowa does so at their own peril.”

Iowa Politics Roundup: Governor Blames Senate Democrats for Budget Breakdown PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Wednesday, 01 June 2011 08:43

Governor Terry Branstad on Tuesday placed blame for a breakdown in Iowa Statehouse negotiations squarely on the shoulders of the 26-member Senate Democratic caucus, as state government officials began implementing a strategy for a possible shutdown.

“Progress was made until the Senate Democrats met last week and basically told Senator [Mike] Gronstal, ‘You don’t have the authority to negotiate,’” Branstad said. “I think he tried, in good faith, but his caucus basically said ‘no.’ So he came back and said the deal’s off.”

Branstad on Tuesday said that Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds will take his place in leading a trade mission to South Korea and China next week so he can continue negotiations on the state budget in Iowa. One month remains before the end of the fiscal year – June 30. Branstad said Republicans thought Senate Democrats were going to provide a counter-proposal on the budget late this past week, but that didn’t happen.

Legislative Standoff Turns into a Road Show PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 20 May 2011 08:31

The stalemate at the Iowa Statehouse took on a new tone Tuesday, as Senate Democrats began taking their show on the road with a statewide tour to get the public involved.

“It’s time for Iowans to get involved,” said state Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal (D-Council Bluffs). “We have people in this building that will not listen. The only way you’re going to break this impasse isn’t amongst the players up here. We’re in the 130th day, almost, of the session. It’s not going to be broken inside this building. It’s going to be broken by Iowans stepping up to the plate and calling the governor and telling him [that] zero [funding growth] for local schools is unacceptable.”

Governor Terry Branstad on Tuesday announced his own tour of the state. He and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds will next week hold a series of town-hall meetings in New Hampton, Cresco, Waukon, Elkader, Oelwein, and Independence.

Iowa Politics Roundup: Senate Democrats Approve Alternative Abortion Bill PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Wednesday, 18 May 2011 08:37

In a contentious debate that lasted less than two hours, all 26 Iowa Senate Democrats stuck together Monday in resisting numerous attempts by Republicans to force a vote on a late-term abortion ban and instead approved an alternative approach that opponents criticized as falling fall short.

On a party-line 26-23 vote, Iowa senators Monday evening approved Senate File 534, a bill aimed at keeping Nebraska Dr. LeRoy Carhart from opening a late-term-abortion clinic in Council Bluffs. The Iowa Senate then joined the House in adjourning for the week.

The bill would require a new abortion facility that performs abortions after 20 weeks to obtain a “certificate of need” and be near an Iowa hospital with the appropriate level of neonatal care to protect the life or health of the woman and fetus.

Iowa Politics Roundup: House Approves Nearly $1 Billion in Property-Tax Relief PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Thursday, 12 May 2011 09:51

The Iowa House on Tuesday night voted 58-40 along party lines for a sweeping property-tax-relief plan that could cost as much as $1 billion, despite repeated warnings from Democrats that the bill would give tax breaks to businesses while increasing taxes for Iowa homeowners and farmers.

“Do you really believe we should raise taxes on our parents, our children, our farmers in order to give a 40-percent tax cut to Wal-Mart?” asked state Representative Jerry Kearns, D-Keokuk, who also is a staff representative for the United Steelworkers Union. “I don’t believe so.”

Senate File 522, as approved by the House, includes a rollback on commercial and industrial property taxes from 100 percent to 60 percent of valuation over five years. To make up the lost revenue, the state eventually would provide $250 million a year to local governments. The bill limits residential and agricultural property-tax increases to 2 percent, rather than the current 4 percent. It also increases state aid to schools at a cost of up to $555 million by Fiscal Year 2019.

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