It's time for GOP politicians to stop ripping off Iowa taxpayers

Former State Senator Joe Bolkcom served on the Senate Ways and Means Committee for 24 years, including ten years as chair.

For the past eight years, Iowa taxpayers have been victims of a political scheme to collect our hard-earned taxes for services we never received.

Instead of investing our money in priorities to make Iowans stronger and more prosperous, Governor Kim Reynolds and our Republican-controlled legislature have hoarded our tax dollars into a colossal $5.5 billion surplus to redistribute to their favorite fat cat donors and special interest pals.

In a normal, functioning democracy, citizens expect their taxes will be spent to make their lives better. In Iowa, that should include adequately funding our local public schools; more inspectors to make sure our nursing homes are safe for seniors; better maintained state parks; more mental health, alcohol and drug treatment in all 99 counties; affordable colleges and universities; safer roads and prisons; improved maternal health; and serious efforts to clean up our polluted lakes and rivers.

Unfortunately, Republican politicians are starving those priorities. Instead, they are giving us worn out free market talking points and the redistribution of our precious tax dollars to Iowa’s richest people and corporations.

Not everybody’s a loser. While state financial support for public schools has lagged well below the cost of doing business for years, Republicans are funneling hundreds of millions of our tax dollars to pay for every kid that attends a private religious school. Iowa taxpayers are now bankrolling a $7,500 windfall per child to thousands of families that were already paying to educate their kids in their chosen private school. What a waste of our tax dollars!

The GOP’s continuing efforts to eliminate the state income tax—which supports more than half of all state services—is a dangerous fantasy. This mindless effort is another gut punch to rural communities that depend on urban and suburban income taxpayers to support their schools, community colleges and adequate reimbursements for hospitals, nurses, doctors, nursing home aides, pharmacists, and mental health care providers.

Iowans have not been overpaying their taxes. We have been getting ripped off and taken for chumps by a one party MAGA Republican scheme to redistribute $5.5 billion of our invaluable tax dollars to their hand-picked special interest cronies and causes.

Don’t be fooled. Just follow your money! It’s time for hard-working Iowans to rise up and elect a new crop of legislators who will focus on our priorities.

About the Author(s)

Joe Bolkcom

  • Joe is right.

    So why will Iowans continue to vote for Republicans?

  • Democrats

    have been making these same general points (all true for what that’s worth) for years (what’s the matter with kansas came out what 20 years ago?) and to no real effect in seeing-Red states.
    Time to try something else or just keep on with more of the same?

  • Bolkcom's Diagnosis

    Thanks for Joe Bolkcom for telling the story about taxpayer dollars. The comments deserve a response. I believe others need to echo and share this story for it to have staying power. Public officials should be using their megaphones. Citizens can use social media to amplify messages. There is a magic of the 5 to 7 rule in memory retention. Research (see “Think Like a Publisher”) says we need to see information between five to seven times for it to transition from short-term to long-term memory.

  • hi ralph this isn't an information problem

    but a matter of the terrible admixture of cognitive-biases and political machinations, Democrats need to do a better job of aligning national and state politics especially in the seeing-Red states where we need protections from above/outside as we don’t have the votes internally.
    Here is Naomi Oreskes laying out the general outline in one of the belly’s of the beast Stanford business school, starting with the debates around ending child labor (as we in Iowa are now reversing those protections)