Republicans in the Iowa Senate suggest taxpayers should stop footing the bill for state workers who carry cell phones and blackberries.
Senator Kim Reynolds, a Republican from Osceola, says there should be a ban on state spending on cell phones and P.D.A.’s.
"At a time when we see businesses reducing base salaries of employees and management across-the-board anywhere from two to 10 percent, small businesses laying off and closing down, and Iowans making decisions every day between necessity and doing without to make ends meet, this is good policy," Reynolds says. "This is a small thing we can do to save taxpayer dollars."
Reynolds tried to get the Iowa Senate to ban cell phones for Iowa Department of Economic Development officials, but Democrats in the senate rejected her plan during debate of a bill that outlines state spending for the agency.
Senator Bill Dotzler, a Democrat from Waterloo, says the department’s managers need flexibility to give some employees cell phones or blackberries to respond when business executives call outside regular business hours to talk about state grant applications.
"This is some good advice to them to take a look at that, but I believe it’s micromanaging our government and I think it’s actually going to add costs in the long run in people’s time in trying to go through this process to get approval," Dotzler said.
Senator Steve Kettering, a Republican from Lake View, argued ousting the president of General Motors, like President Obama did, was "micromanaging," and it doesn’t compare to cutting out cell phone contracts in state government. "This is an efficiency move and, I think, well within our purview to do," Kettering said. "Let’s get real."
Democrats outnumber Republicans in the senate and they rejected the cut-out-the-cell-phone idea.