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Enlarging the Conversation: Why Jonathan Narcisse Matters in the Iowa Gubernatorial Race
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Iowa Politics

2010-09-15 13:39:36

Jonathan NarcisseGiven the density of Jonathan Narcisse’s ideas and plans, he’s smart to dispense the easy-to-grasp metaphor or example.

“Imagine you have a kid who hasn’t cleaned his room for six months,” Narcisse said in a phone interview last week. “And you can try to go in and you can try to clean the room. Or you can get some heavy-duty garbage bags and just go through that room and basically throw everything away, except the bed, the dresser, and a couple other things.”

The 47-year-old Narcisse, a former member of the Des Moines school board, is running an independent candidacy for Iowa governor, appearing on the ballot under The Iowa Party banner. And he wants to approach Iowa state government with some heavy-duty garbage bags in hand. (Full disclosure: River Cities’ Reader Publisher Todd McGreevy is a co-chair of Iowans for a Fair Debate, which is pushing for Narcisse to be included in gubernatorial debates.)

Narcisse’s proposals are radical in the sense that they have no respect for the status quo. Narcisse thinks the two major-party candidates – Governor Chet Culver and former Governor Terry Branstad – are like parents who think a light cleaning is good enough. He disagrees: “We just literally wipe out the massive bureaucracy, because at the end of the day, we spend that money wiser.”

In total, Narcisse is proposing cutting state and local taxes by $1.5 billion to $2 billion a year, with the caveat that equivalent spending reductions must precede tax cuts. For perspective, the Iowa Revenue Estimating Conference in March put the state’s Fiscal Year 2011 general-fund receipts at $6.6 billion.

That type of bold plan has the potential to connect with voters who are dissatisfied with government and politicians.


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