Branstad  Leaves Reynolds Holding The Bag 

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The king is in China, but little will change

In what had to be one of the great escapes in recent political history in this state, Terry Branstad royally screwed things up and then left for the relative quiet of China. Branstad has made a very successful career of getting things messed up and then leaving it for someone else to get the blame.

True to form, Branstad left a state with major problems that he had a heavy hand in creating. Once more someone else must pick up the pieces and try to get Iowa running again.

If there is one thing Branstad did do, he sure cut taxes for the wealthy here in Iowa. As for doing anything for the vast majority of Iowans, well that was mostly a kick in our collective asses.

Of course Reynolds doesn’t get any sympathy. She was part and parcel of Branstad’s pathetic administration. Nary did we hear a word of anything but praise for Branstad during her time as Lt. Governor. 

So she inherited a busted budget from Branstad that was so bad she has had to dip into Iowa’s emergency or “rainy day” fund right off the bat. The rainy day fund is supposed to be for real emergencies like the Republican caused major Recession of 2008-2009 and not for to pay for major tax cuts for the wealthy. But that is what has happened.

An article back in April on iowastartingline.com took a close look at the budget and noted not just the mismanagement, but the lost opportunities that Iowa could not use because of the budget debacle.

Further cuts will hurt Iowa’s most vulnerable citizens: seniors, the disabled and children.  Iowa is simply not making the basic investments needed to keep our state growing and vibrant.

I believe Iowa would not be facing these challenges if the party in control had spent more effort managing the state budget, instead of looking out for their corporate donors and outside special interests.

They have abandoned their own fiscal principles at the expense of hard working Iowans.

Iowa students and working families are now being forced to pay for tax giveaways and fiscal mismanagement.

Along those same lines is the Medicaid giveaway to corporate management companies (MCOs) that Terry Branstad did unilaterally. We also need to give blame to the Republicans in the legislature as they stood by and did nothing even though it quickly became glaringly apparent that Branstad’s deal really hurt those using the Medicaid system. 

Reynolds defended the system and now she inherits a system where the MCOs want an even bigger chunk of the Medicaid dollar which means less services for the end user. Not only have patients been hurt, but providers are being put in very tenuous positions as the MCOs continue to be extremely late making payments. A story out of Dubuque notes that one provider is cutting off relations with one MCO.  Until this mess is solved – and remember it was working fairly smoothly before Branstad mucked it up – expect more providers to drop out.

Branstad and the legislature demoralized Iowa’s state workers with their heavy handed approach to collective bargaining last spring. Expect state workers to get another kick in the pants from the Republicans as they rush headlong into “reforming” IPERS which was once a model retirement system.

When visitors from elsewhere travel to and through Iowa they can’t help but wonder why we can fix our roads. The administration tells us they are getting better, but the evidence is hard to find.

Our environment continues to be a very sore subject. Chemical runoff from Iowa and other midwest farms was recently cited as the major contributor to the expanding dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. We know the problem, it is way past time for some political will to find a solution and enforce it.

Along those same lines, Iowa’s state park system is abysmal and getting little relief. Parks are very necessary for quality of life. We really give them short shrift. In a recent editorial in the Cedar Rapids Gazette Mark S. Edwards makes the point that:

Today, Iowa competes for the very bottom in state parks and public lands. We are known as the most biologically altered state in North America. Roughly 98 percent of Iowa has been altered for agricultural use, cities and roads. All our state parks and forests have been logged and heavily grazed. We still fail to realize that these areas are healing landscapes.

We have no old-growth forests left. We have less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the prairies which covered our state and produced our rich soils. Only 10 percent of Iowa’s remaining prairies and forests lie within the public domain and its limited protection. This makes these parks very, very special not only for people, but for the dwindling plants, animals and wildlife.

On an entirely different note, for some reason Gov. Reynolds thinks that the Iowa taxpayers should pay the court award against the Republican Senate Caucus. As you may remember the Republican senate caucus was found at fault in a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by their former communications director.

The senators who were at fault should be paying. It should not come from Iowa taxpayers. Isn’t it the Republican party that is constantly preaching owning up to what you do? Now is the time to show us what you mean. Governor Reynolds, you will not help them to learn by not having them accept their punishment?

Way, way past time for a change back to some adults running the government in Iowa. The Democrats have an excellent lineup of candidates. Get out and support your favorite so we can bring responsible government back to Iowa.  

About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
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