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Senate liberals bidding for their Leader Mike Gronstal

Capitol Comments
by Senator Kent Sorenson
District 37

Representing Madison, Warren and Southern Dallas County
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Business as Usual....

Only days into the legislative session, the Iowa House of Representatives passed HF 45, also known as the Taxpayers First Act.

The Taxpayers First Act would provide savings of over $500 million to the state over three fiscal years and would:

•        Create a new Tax Relief Fund (TRF) to capture the general fund surplus. It directed the Ways and Means Committees of the Legislature to establish the tax relief policy.

•        Require the Executive, Judicial and Legislative branches to establish an employee premium for health insurance coverage, sets the premium at a minimum of $100 per month. It asks the State employee organizations to renegotiate current bargained contracts to achieve cost savings for health insurance coverage. (Estimated maximum savings - $66.4 million!)

•        Reduce expenditures for office supplies, outside services, equipment purchases, information technology, printing and binding and marketing by 50 percent of the unencumbered appropriation. (Estimated savings - $30.4 million!)

•        Deny any state benefits to illegal aliens unless already covered by federal law. (Estimated savings – unknown!)

•        Prohibit State agencies from employing taxpayer-funded lobbyist. (Estimated savings - $2.4 million!)

•        Prohibit the State from purchasing new general use vehicles through the end of FY 2011.

•        Require the Iowa Telecommunications and Technology Commission to develop a Request for Proposal to sell or lease the Iowa Communications Network. (Fiscal impact – unknown)

•        Reduce funding for information technology purchases by 50 percent and requires the executive branch to combine information technology systems. (Estimated savings - $1 million)

•        Prohibit the Department of Natural Resources from purchasing more land. Does allow land to be donated to the DNR. (Estimated savings - $3.1 million)

A lot of these were good ole’ common sense measures.

And considering that the people of Iowa spoke pretty clearly back in November about what they wanted their new legislature to do, I thought that the powers that be in the Iowa Senate would at least give the appearance of listening to the people they serve!

How wrong I was.

Thursday afternoon saw us finally debating a bill (Taxpayers First Act) that would’ve done exactly what’s needed, which is putting money back into the pockets of small business owners, back into the coffers of taxpayers and getting Iowa back onto the road of recovery.

But it was just business as usual.

Senate liberals, at the bidding of their liberal Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, proceeded to gut the bill of many of the substantive measures intended to turn our state around, wielding their powerful majority around like a club to beat down Iowa taxpayers.

And, because they saw fit to change the rules right out of the gate when the session first started, I was powerless to do anything about it but vote against every single one of their amendments.

But that doesn’t mean that they’re held unaccountable.

Because we made sure that every single vote, for every single amendment which they attacked the taxpayer, was a record roll call vote.

That means that they weren’t allowed just to voice their vote in hopes of denying down the road during the election season, rather, they had to put down essentially in writing, for all the world to see, that they didn’t care what the voter wanted, that they think they know better than Iowans who actually RUN businesses and who actually WORK to pay their taxes, and that they think they know better.

What a travesty in justice.

Gronstal is still stalling.

Stay tuned for further updates, and again, it’s an honor to be your Senator. 


Kent Sorenson

Senator Kent Sorenson
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