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Iowa Politics Roundup: Social Issues Quickly Divide Democrats, Republicans at the Capitol PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 21 January 2011 14:45

The emergence of a number of socially divisive issues has quickly set up a battle between Democrats and Republicans, and between the Iowa House and Senate, just two weeks into the 2011 legislative session.

“Our fear is … we’re going to be moving from one socially divisive issue to another,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (D-Des Moines) said Thursday.

Fresh off the debate to end a state-funded preschool program created by Democrats, House Republicans this week either introduced or began moving forward on legislation that would ban late-term abortions; call for constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships; and define a right to life from the beginning of biological development.

McCarthy said Democrats have been told to prepare for committee work next week and House floor debate the following week on some of these issues. He said a return to the ban on stem-cell research will also be revisited.

“I understand that the new majority needs to do some things for their base, but the concern globally is if we spend the next several weeks, we are ... already 10 percent done with the session,” McCarthy said. “We’ll have spent the bulk of the session doing socially divisive issues that just tear our society apart, and I think away from what most voters want us to focus on, and that’s basic bread-and-butter issues: education and health care and environmental issues.”

Iowa Politics Roundup: Branstad Sworn in as Governor, Calls for Less Government and Taxes PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 14 January 2011 15:52

Republican Terry Branstad was sworn into office as Iowa’s 41st governor Friday and used his inaugural address to issue calls for service, less government, more integrity and transparency, a reduced and simplified tax system, and a renewed commitment to education.

“It is time for a new covenant between Iowans and their government,” Branstad said. “It is a covenant that is founded upon principles of limited government, service above self, transparency and integrity, world-class schools, and celebrating the success of Iowans. These are the principles that will guide my days as your governor.”

Iowa Politics Roundup: Branstad Estimates 2012 State Deficit Over $600 Million PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 07 January 2011 14:09

Governor-elect Terry Branstad and incoming Department of Management Director Dave Roederer said Thursday that state expenditures are expected to exceed revenues by $605 million in Fiscal Year 2012 – more than twice as large as the gap projected by the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency.

“We’ve got a big challenge,” Branstad said. “A lot of one-time money has been used for ongoing expenses. We want to stop what we consider to be bad budgeting practices and really get us back into an affordable, sustainable way to deliver the best quality services in the most efficient and economical way that we can.”

In a budget presentation Thursday at the Capitol to reporters and editors, Roederer said the projected budget “deficit” would be $1 billion for Fiscal Year 2013, nearly $1.2 billion for Fiscal Year 2014, and $1.3 billion for Fiscal Year 2015.

Iowa Politics Roundup: Census Numbers Confirm That Iowa Will Lose Congressional Seat PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 24 December 2010 05:21

It’s confirmed: New U.S. Census Bureau numbers show that Iowa will go from having five congressional seats to four.

Iowa is one of 10 states that will see a loss of congressional seats. Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania will also lose one seat apiece. Two states – New York and Ohio – will each lose two seats.

The big winner was Texas, which will gain four seats. Florida will gain two seats, while Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Utah, Washington, and South Carolina will all gain one.

Iowa Politics Roundup: Iowa Straw Poll Gets a Boost with Fox News Debate PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 17 December 2010 11:01

Iowa Republicans hope that a nationally broadcast GOP presidential debate they’ve scheduled for August 11, 2011, in Ames will up the stakes for the Iowa Straw Poll two days later.

“We wanted to make sure it’s bigger and better and more prominent than it’s ever been before,” Republican Party of Iowa chair Matt Strawn said Thursday in a conference call with reporters, less than an hour after announcing the two events.

The Iowa Straw Poll has historically been considered the critical first test of grassroots support for Republican presidential candidates in the first-in-the-nation caucus state.

However, the future of the Ames Republican straw poll was cast into doubt in June 2007 after former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Arizona Senator John McCain decided to skip the key event leading up to the caucus.

That’s something the Iowa GOP hopes to avoid this time around.

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