Vander Plaats: I’d Veto Democrats’ Class Warfare Plan to Raise Taxes “in a Heartbeat”

March 31, 2009

DES MOINES – Bob Vander Plaats, a Sioux City Republican who was his party’s lieutenant governor nominee in 2006, said he would veto Democratic plans to burden more than 450,000 Iowans with news taxes by stripping away their right and ability to deduct their federal taxes on state returns.

“Legislative Democrats budget and tax policies are out of control and they need a governor who will get them back in line. Chet Culver doesn’t stand up to them or stand up for average Iowans, but I will. As governor, I’d veto this bill in a heartbeat,” Vander Plaats said at a Statehouse news conference. “My question to Chet Culver is: Will he step up and veto this bill after promising not to raise taxes on hard-working Iowans?”

He continued, “Just last week, House Speaker Pat Murphy said by ending federal deductibility ’75 to 80 percent of all Iowans will see a tax cut.’ Those were his exact words. According to the Democrats’ own documents, 450,292 Iowans will be ‘losers’ under this plan compared to 667,314 that will supposedly see more money. Pat Murphy and his Democratic colleagues need a math lesson. More importantly, they need an economics lesson. Raising taxes on hundreds of thousands of Iowans is going to drive successful people and companies out of state or completely out of business.”

Vander Plaats, who formed a 2010 gubernatorial campaign committee in January, was flanked by his state chair, state Rep. Jodi Tymeson, state Sen. Randy Feenstra, Osceola business owner Tony Caligiuri and Des Moines contractor Harry Elder.

Tymeson, a five-term legislator from Winterset, said, “This plan to declare class warfare on successful Iowans is right in line with Barack Obama’s promise to punish producers by raising taxes on Americans who produce jobs. When you punish productivity and hinder wealth, the ripple effect is not tax relief for the middle class. Instead, it is lost employment and, ultimately, much higher taxes on those few who choose to remain in a state that is hostile towards productivity.”

Caligiuri, who is has owned and guided several Iowa businesses, scoffed at claims that eliminating federal deductibility will end confusion for out-of-state executives who are scared away by tax comparisons that suggest Iowa’s rates are uncompetitive.

“To suggest that a business executive can’t and doesn’t understand real tax rates shows either tremendous lack of knowledge about the private sector or a deliberate attempt to mislead the public,” Caligiuri said.

Vander Plaats said he’s convinced Democrats’ attempt to eliminate the deduction of federal taxes is only the first step of a deliberate strategy to raise individual tax rates in future years. “They’ll hit hundreds of thousands of Iowans with higher state taxes next year and then they’ll come back and do it again by raising tax rates in the future. This demonstrates the need to require a super majority of legislators or a vote of Iowans before tax rates are raised. That will be one of my priorities as governor,” he said.

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Vander Plaats Statement on Democrats’ Plan to Eliminate Federal Deductibility From State Tax Returns

March 26, 2009

SIOUX CITY – Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats issued the following statement today in response to legislative Democrats’ proposal to eliminate Iowans’ ability and right to deduct federal taxes from their state tax returns:

“The Democrats’ plan to get rid of federal deductibility has nothing to do with reform and everything to do with generating more revenue to fuel their overspending. They talk about it being ‘revenue neutral’ but the fact remains that Iowans aren’t going to be treated equally. Instead, the Democrats are intent on picking winners and losers – and, in the end, Iowa is going to be a loser because we’re going to see more and more successful individuals, businesses and industries leave our state.

“Their own description of their plan tells a familiar story. They talk about ‘redistributing’ wealth from the rich to the middle-income and low-income but what happens time and time again is that they set out to soak the rich and a lot of taxpayers who aren’t rich also get soaked, too. Their claim of a middle-class tax cut just over the horizon is one more political promise bound to be broken.

“This plan is nothing more than an attempt to grab more of Iowans’ money at the time they can least afford it. It’s wrong and we need a governor who will stand up against it to stop this madness.”

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Vander Plaats: Once Again, Governor’s Long-Term Debt for Short-Term Gain is a Bad Deal for Iowa

March 23, 2009

SIOUX CITY – Fresh on the heels of proposing to sell the state lottery for a fraction of its real value in order to solve the budget problem he created, Gov. Chet Culver’s borrow-now-and-pay-later economic stimulus plan will only create one-tenth of the jobs he claims.

“We need a governor who under-promises and over-delivers not the other way around,” said Bob Vander Plaats, who has formed a 2010 governor candidate committee. “Chet Culver’s consistent pattern of offering up short-term fixes that Iowans will have to pay for over a number of decades proves he’s all about getting re-elected. This episode once again goes to the core of Chet Culver’s problem: He has poor leadership instincts. In a competitive global marketplace, Iowa doesn’t have the luxury of Chet Culver’s politics as usual.”

Vander Plaats said Culver’s eagerness to borrow $750 million underscores the Democrat’s philosophy of expanding government spending as aggressively as possible.

“Governor Culver has already led a 17-percent increase in state spending over just two years. He’s added $900 million in new government spending and 2,600 full-time equivalent employees in that time,” the Sioux City Republican said. “Meanwhile, the state has lost 11,800 manufacturing jobs, 9,000 professional and business services jobs, 2,900 construction jobs, 900 leisure and hospitality jobs and 600 information jobs since January 2008. Under Chet Culver, fewer Iowans have jobs but all of us are going to be saddled with higher taxes.”

Culver has claimed his borrow-and-build plan would create or retain as many as 30,000 jobs. David Swenson, an Iowa State University economics professor, calculates the number will be approximately 4,050, according to The Des Moines Register. Though he indicated infrastructure improvements would create other economic benefits, a Heritage Foundation researcher Ron Utt backed Swenson’s calculations on jobs creation.

Vander Plaats noted that legislative Republicans are defending against Iowans from long-term borrowing and debt, but they can’t do it alone. “They need a governor – and Iowans need a governor – who will create a positive environment for economic growth by reshaping government and squeezing more value from the state budget rather than borrowing more and more money that is only going to stifle long-term productivity,” he said.

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Sage Advice: Newspapers Need to Think Harder About What Readers Want

March 20, 2009

There’s no denying it: The newspaper industry is facing tough times. An investment banker who helped put together the deal announced this week to sell the venerable San Diego Union-Tribune to a private equity group has some great advice for editors. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Jonathan Knee suggested that editors ought to “think harder about what their readers want, rather than what they want their readers to want.” To read the entire story,

Corbett Blasts “Culture of Delay” Surrounding Cedar Rapids Flood Response

March 19, 2009

Rick Smith of the Cedar Rapids Gazette has an outstanding report this morning about former Iowa House Speaker and current Cedar Rapids mayoral candidate Ron Corbett’s call for action to repair the city’s flood-ravaged City Hall. It begins, “Mayoral candidate Ron Corbett on Thursday morning stood outside the empty, flood-damaged Veterans Memorial Building/City Hall and called on city government to repair the building and return to it.” Smith is an exceptional writer and his blog is worth a bookmark. To read the full story,

Vander Plaats: Culver’s Pay-to-Sit Health Care Forum Leaves Iowans Holding the Bag

March 18, 2009

SIOUX CITY – Gov. Chet Culver’s plan to have Iowa businesses, unions or interest groups pay to participate in a health care forum underscores his administration’s mismanagement of the state budget, Bob Vander Plaats said this afternoon.

Culver’s office has dropped a plan to have health-care interest groups pay $5,000 each to sponsor a health-care reform meeting after The Des Moines Register raised questions about the practice. The forum, set for next Monday, is being co-hosted by the White House. A Culver spokesman said Wednesday afternoon that “the White House today informed us that sponsorships are not going to be allowed.”

“Public-private partnerships have their place but our state government wouldn’t need to be out there holding a tin cup and begging for money if Chet Culver and legislative Democrats hadn’t mismanaged the state budget to the tune of $900 million in additional spending in just the last two years,” said Vander Plaats, who has formed a 2010 gubernatorial campaign committee. “The fact of the matter is that Iowans have been left holding the bag for the tremendous amount of unnecessary government growth just these last two years under Chet Culver. Under his watch, state government has 2,600 new full-time equivalent employees in just two years.”

He added, “Chet Culver apparently thinks it’s OK to steal a page out of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s playbook. The idea that he’d tell groups that they’d be guaranteed a place at the health care forum if they ponied up $5,000 is as brazen of a pay-to-play mentality as you’ll ever find.”

Culver spokesman Phillip Roeder said the governor’s office solicited 17 organizations, businesses or unions for money to defray the $30,000 cost of the event.

“I’m all for public-private cooperation and, as governor, I’ll look for innovative approaches to benefit Iowa taxpayers. But this quid pro quo of cash for a voice in a serious public policy discussion is just over the top,” Vander Plaats said. “If Governor Culver and legislative Democrats hadn’t overspent this year’s budget by $775 million they just might have been able to come up with their half of the $30,000 this event will cost.”

A White House spokeswoman said the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will be splitting the cost of the event with the state.

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California or Delaware — President Obama Emulates the Wrong State

March 17, 2009

Today’s Wall Street Journal includes an excellent commentary by one of my favorite political leaders, former Delaware Gov. Pete du Pont, on America’s current fiscal policies. It’s a must read that begins: “What do Delaware and California have in common? Not much: One is very small, one very large, but more important they have over time followed very different economic policies that explain the direction of the Obama administration’s economic thinking.” To continue, click here.