A top Republican legislative leader says if voters give Republicans a majority of seats in the Iowa House, the G.O.P. agenda will focus on paring down the state budget and reducing property taxes.
House Republican Leader Christopher Rants of Sioux City embraces the idea that 2008 is a "change" election. "If Iowans put Republicans in charge of the House of Representatives on this agenda, they’re sending a clear message," Rants says. "They’re sending a clear message and giving Republicans a mandate that the agenda that the Democrats have been enacting for the past couple of years didn’t sit well and we need to reverse course and we need a change in Des Moines."
Rather than rely so heavily on property taxes to finance K-through-12 schools, Rants says Republicans instead want to spend more state income and sales tax revenue on school operations. "We are at a crisis point in property taxes in this state. You hear from commercial owners all the time. People who are getting their property taxes this month, looking at the skyrocketing increase that they’re having to pay and all the Democrats did for the last two years was add to the burden," Rants says.
Rants also promises Republicans will curtail "pork barrel spending" and "aggressively" sift through the current year’s state budget and reclaim state money for projects like a rec center in Des Moines and a pipe organ in Clermont and direct that money, instead, to flood relief. "Somebody has to draw the line in the sand and say, ‘No more,’ and that’s what we’ll do in the first month of the session if the voters put us in charge," Rants says.
Rants also promises Republicans will push to enact an amendment to make Iowa’s Right-to-Work law part of the state constitution.
Rants suggests the state has reached a "tipping point" on a variety of issues, and while Iowa voters may elect to choose a Democrat for the White House, they may choose Republicans for the statehouse. "Iowans are notorious ticket-splitters. I’m all about change this election cycle," Rants says. "The fact is the state of Iowa is headed the wrong direction and I think Iowans recognize that."
Democrats have held a majority of seats in the Iowa House for the past two years. Republicans held majority control of the Iowa House from January, 1993 to January, 2007.