Democrats in the Iowa House have rejected 14 budget-cutting ideas from a Republican candidate for governor who is a House member. According to Representative Chris Rants of Sioux City, his proposals would have cut $290 million in state spending.
“You know, I realize that some of these ideas may be a little controversial,” Rants said. “Some of these ideas, I believe, would result in substantial savings.”
The gubernatorial candidate proposed a ban on providing any state assistance or services to illegal immigrants. Rants also proposed that the state sell or lease the Iowa Communications Network, the state-owned fiber optics system.
Selling state-owned vehicles and leasing instead was another Rants idea for cost-cutting. Representative Bruce Hunter, a Democrat from Des Moines, ridiculed that one, saying it would cost more money to lease the vehicles.
“If we don’t want to go back to the era of the Flintstones where we’re just pedaling down the street with our feet, it’s going to cost us anywhere from $5- to $10 million to privatize the fleet,” Hunter said. Hunter was especially harsh in his assessment of how such a move would impact the Iowa State Highway Patrol.
“Now we might be able to pitch in and get ’em some flashers or something that they can hold up on their hands while they’re running down the road, chasing after cars,” Hunter said.
Rants expected Democrats would reject his ideas, but made a final pitch for his 14-point plan anyway.
“I’m not the one who created your budget problem,” Rants said. “In fact, I think I’ve stood with a warning sign for three years, saying this day of reckoning is coming.”
Forty-one Republicans joined Rants in voting for his proposals, but they were outnumbered by the 54 Democrats who voted no.