Well that didn’t take long. The BS has reared its ugly head… you know: the old “bait and switch”. Barely two days after winning his election our Governor Branstad has started pushing for an increase in the gas tax. Even though the majority of Iowans are against it. Even though gas prices have finally come down enough to give middle and lower income families a bit of a break in this still sputtering economy. Even though some have suggested that we look somewhere else in the budget for the money other than the taxpayers’ pockets. It makes me wonder if perhaps I should really be using those other two words that the BS acronym could represent.
Now before any of my fellow Republicans faint from shock that I dare call out the leader of my party, please remember that I have no illusions that under a Democrat Governor we would fare far worse. However, as one of the state GOP party leaders, my job is not just to get Republicans elected, but to also ensure that Republican principles are supported. Therefore, now that the election is over, the time of accountability for our candidates has come. Just because “our guys & gals” won, does not mean that they get a free pass to violate the very Republican principles on which they ran. Raising taxes without looking elsewhere to decrease spending is not only irresponsible, but an idea more in line with a Democrat party platform than a Republican one. Republicans did not win the day because the people wanted Democrat-lite. They won because the people wanted something completely different.
Iowans are tired of party politicians; we want statesmen. We want those that are willing to roll up their sleeves, come up with creative solutions to problems that don’t involve more personal income sacrifice, and work to bring liberty back to the electorate. We don’t want those who just put a Band-Aid on the status quo. It angers me that the current dip in gas prices is being used as an excuse to justify the timing of a gas tax increase, as if Iowans have nothing better on which to spend their money. We all know that while the lower gas prices are merely temporary, a gas tax increase will be permanent. Government does not have an infinite right to our money, and we would prefer that our elected officials work to bring about a more frugal government, lowering taxes for Iowans, rather than working on excuses to raise them.
I am disappointed that Governor Branstad pulled a “bait and switch”, waiting until after the election to start pushing for the gas tax increase, knowing full well that most are opposed to it. A far wiser solution would be to conduct a full audit of all state departments, and take recommendations from the public and state employees on where the budget could be trimmed in order to shift more funding to Iowa roads and bridges. Legislators in past sessions have come up with ways to do this without raising taxes (sadly these were killed in the Senate by Democrats). Just imagine how much more we could do if we had every Iowan, with experience in every industry, using their knowledge to recommend savings to our state instead of just elected officials and bureaucrats? We would tap into an incredible brain-trust that could not only make our government more efficient, but perhaps even less expensive to run. Iowans prioritize spending in our personal and business budgets every day, and it’s time that we expect our government to do the same. No party should be immune from the scrutiny of the electorate, especially the very one that claims to believe in honor, good stewardship, and constitutional principles.
And if you say that it cannot be done, that it is a pipe dream, that all politicians are the same, I call BS. They are only the same if we let them be. Branstad is violating Republican principles by supporting such foolishness as a gas tax increase; therefore, my fellow Republicans should be the first ones in line to stand up against it. The honoring of principles must always come before the honoring of men. Reversing this order has not only led to the disappointment of the electorate, but also to the tarnishing of the principles themselves. The people are looking for something greater and I believe that the potential to be a statesmen lies within every person we elected on Nov 4th. But until we stand up and stop giving into apathy whenever we get the old “bait and switch”, how will we ever know?
“A politician is a man who will double-cross that bridge when he comes to it.” ~ Oscar Levant (1906-1972), pianist, composer, author, comedian, and actor