Weather Diminished Crowd At Eggs and Issues

Eggs and Issues - February 10, 2018.

Eggs and Issues – February 10, 2018.

Attendees Field Ample Questions For Legislators

Oskaloosa, Iowa – Winter weather blasted Mahaska County on Friday night, and the crowd gathered at Smokey Row for Eggs and Issues on Saturday was an indication that residents were busy digging out.

The small crowd didn’t diminish the flurry of questions for the legislators though, and topics ranged from taxes, secondary education funding, victims rights, department of human services funding, among others. The discussion of taxes took center stage.

Mary Rand from Oskaloosa addressed Rep. Guy Vander Linden, indicating her concern that “tax reform means tax cuts. Tax cuts that happened on the national level were very inequitable. Most went to the upper people, and the other part of that is we can’t even pay our bills here. We’ve had to be cutting, cutting, cutting programs. And so, why would we want to cut taxes when we can’t pay our bills?”

Vander Linden, Republican Rep. from Oskaloosa, responded by saying, “Mary, I disagree with you on most everything you said. I think the federal tax cut was a wonderful thing. I think we’re going to see the economy take off as a result of it. I disagree with Rep. Pelosi’s thousand dollar crumb assertion. A thousand dollars means a lot to people in the middle class, as I’m sure you will agree.”

“One of the misconceptions about the government, the state government, in particular, is that we are cutting, cutting, cutting. We haven’t cut anything whatsoever. We have slowed the rate for increase, but I can’t think of anyplace where we cut,” added Vander Linden. “We have more revenue now than the state has ever had, from taxes. The reason we have had to make genuine cuts to an appropriation after we’ve done it, is that we base our appropriations on an estimate.”

“The estimates have been wrong,” said Vander Linden.

Former Democratic state representative and Oskaloosa attorney Eric Palmer then addressed the legislators, saying he believes there was an approximate 30 million dollar ‘hole in the budget this year again, and we’re going to have to cut.”

Palmer said that cuts have been proposed for judiciary services, higher education. “Those are some of the proposed cuts. Why is that? When you are experiencing growth as a state, why do you have a budget deficit again? I would argue gentlemen that it’s tax credits and tax cuts.”

Palmer presented that tax cuts, such as “sales and use tax exemption on goods consumed in the manufacturing process… and so far has cost the budget 80 million plus.”

“We’ve got about a 40 million dollar deficit, that we’re going to have to cut things like courthouses, raise tuition etc. Half of your fix [sales tax exemption on goods consumed] would have solved that problem,” said Palmer.

Palmer also noted two different parents, at the previous Eggs and Issues, that spoke about issues in getting assistance for their children. “But Medicaid privatization, another cut, is taking away the help.”

Palmer said that when he was in the legislature, he helped provide funding resources to situations for those situations.

“Tax cuts. Tax credits. That’s the problem,” said Palmer. “When I was up there, we didn’t provide a measly 1% for education. We provided a minimum 2%, I believe, every year; if not more. Your tax credits and your tax cuts are the reason the budget’s in a mess. There’s no other excuse for that.”

Rep. Guy Vander said to Palmer that “it would take some time to go through all those misrepresentations.”

“There have been no cuts,” said Vander Linden. “In particular, the item you are talking about, the taking of inputs to industry, started out as a rule that did not comport (agree) with the law. The law was, we don’t take the inputs to industries’ manufacturing process. That was the law. Somehow or another, the bureaucracy came up with a rule that did not comport with that law, and we wanted to do away with the rule so that it would comport with the law. And we did that.”

Palmer started to rebut Vander Linden’s comments. “No, no. You’ve had your time, now it’s my time”, said Vander Linden.

“Secondly, we have not cut things. As I said before, we have more money now; Iowan’s are paying more taxes now than they ever have before. We haven’t cut yet. And yes, you are correct, I would like to make sure that the tax cut that the feds did, ends up in Iowan’s pockets, not in the state treasury,” said Vander Linden. “Absolutely. Absolutely.”

“The 1% increase in spending for schools is what we can afford, given how much income we have,” said Vander Linden. “Schools have gotten increases in every year except one that I have been in the legislature. No other branch of government has been able to do that. We have made sure that K-12 education is a priority.”

“Yeah, we can spend more and tax more, but we choose not to,” said Vander Linden.

“As to tax credits, in the first week of the session I asked my senior Democrat on my committee, Dave, which one should we cut?” Vander Linden said. “I’m still waiting for that list. He has not provided me with a single one. What has happened however, is I have three bills, from Democrats, that would establish new tax credits. So let’s be consistent on this.”

Sen. Ken Rozenboom, a state senator from Oskaloosa, told Palmer he’s like Guy, “We could talk the rest of the day on the misrepresentations you guys provided. I want to go back to one you did a few weeks ago when you talked about cutting the Ag and Natural Resources budget.”

“You guys, when you [Palmer] were in office, inflated that,” said Rozenboom. “You were the ones, under your leadership and Culver’s, which had to do the 10% across the board cut, and you were the ones that cut from 22 million to 13 million sir. That was done before Representative Vander Linden was there. That was done while you were there and Chet Culver was there. So we can talk all day long about mismanaging of funds.”

The next Eggs & Issues is scheduled to take place on Febraury 24th, beginning at 8:30 am inside Smokey Row Coffee in Oskaloosa, Iowa.

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