Readers Respond

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Forgetful Republicans

From BOB DVORSKY / Iowa Senate

Elephants may never forget, but Republicans can't seem to remember.

In a recent letter to the editor, former legislator Bill Dix demonstrated a bit of amnesia when he attacked Democrats and patted himself on the back while discussing the state's fiscal condition.

As former chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Mr. Dix would obviously prefer to forget the rampant fiscal irresponsibility that Republicans demonstrated when they controlled the Iowa Legislature.

Republicans balanced their budget by cutting revenue to local governments by $60 million. The result was to increase property taxes, cut local services and balance the state budget on the backs of local property taxpayers.

And has Mr. Dix forgotten the state's failure to adequately support education on his watch? Doubtless he would like to forget the double-digit tuition increases at our community colleges and state universities when Republicans controlled the Legislature, Surely, Mr. Dix doesn't like to remember that on his watch student achievement slipped and that Iowa teachers were paid salaries that were the 43rd worst in the nation?

Even the Iowa State Auditor, a Republican, routinely criticized budgets proposed by House and Senate Republicans when they controlled the Legislature. He even declared that one of the Republican budgets was "contrary to sound fiscal policy." The State Auditor also stated that the Republicans repeatedly robbed the state's "rainy day" funds to balance the state budget and robbed other funds "with little clarity or long-range planning."

Since regaining control of the Legislature last year, Democrats have repaid hundreds millions of dollars that Republicans borrowed from the state's rainy day funds and the Senior Living Trust fund.

Most important, Democrats are balancing the state budget responsibly while keeping our commitments to Iowans, including improving student achievement and teacher quality, creating more good-paying jobs, and ensuring access to affordable health care for every Iowan.

*Senator Bob Dvorsky chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee