Republicans criticized President Obama for taking a “listening tour” through the Midwest, questioning the cost of the president’s new armored bus and how many taxdollars were spent on the trip. Iowa Democrats like state party chairwoman Sue Dvorsky are making a similar accusation against Republican Governor Terry Branstad who has just embarked on a 12-city tour of the state.
“As we’ve watched this governor’s tenure, he’s a big one for the tour or the day-and-a-half summit or the sort of continual campaign, without results,” Dvorsky says. “The fact of the matter is 8200 Iowans who were working when he took office aren’t working now.”
Branstad said Monday he wants to “find out what impediments are out there” by visiting with Iowa entrepreneurs and business owners.
“We want Iowa to buck the trend. We don’t want to participate in this recession,” Branstad said during his weekly news conference. “We want to grow the economy and bring the jobs and the economic opportunities to our state.”
Branstad went on a 43-city “Working Together for a Better Future” tour in June as a way of drumming up support for his proposals which had stalled in the legislature. A spokesman estimated the cost pf that tour at about $4500 as Branstad is driven in his state-financed vehicle and escorted by a state trooper. Iowa Democrats filed an open records request, asking for a specific tally of how much that June tour cost taxpayers. Dvorsky says it’s been 47 days since that request was made.
“They either don’t know or they’re hiding it,” Dvorsky says.
A spokesman for the governor says the records “are in various offices and departments” and it “takes time” to compile a “full, accurate response” to the request. Branstad communications director Tim Albrecth says the governor has offered “meaningful solutions for job creation in Iowa” while Democrats are guilty of “stonewalling” and making “unfortunate comments” like Dvorsky’s. Branstad himself accuses President Obama of creating many of the problems in Iowa’s economy.
“We’re going to continue to move forward and do all that we can,” Branstad told reporters Monday. “But I can tell you that some things that the federal government has failed to act upon has hurt our efforts on economic development.”
According to Branstad, an executive in Chicago recently told the governor he might relocate his company to Canada because that country’s corporate income tax rate has been cut significantly.
Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds held a “Jobs for Iowa” town hall meeting this morning in Harlan and over the noon hour in Denison. The pair has stops scheduled this afternoon in Odebolt, Ida Grove and Kingsley. Tomorrow afternoon the governor and lieutenant governor will hold “Jobs for Iowa” events in Rock Rapids, Sibley and Primghar. The tour concludes Thursday with stops in Cherokee, Storm Lake, Pocahontas and Rockwell City.