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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

As Funnel Looms, Senate Republicans Continue Work to Create Jobs, Grow Iowa's Economy

Friday, March 20, 2009

Sen. Ron Wieck
This time of year is always exciting because high school teams from all over Iowa and college teams from all over the country are putting their seasons on the line with the understanding that they must win to keep playing or they lose and go home. Just like in basketball, it is also an interesting time in the Iowa Legislature as this week marks "funnel week". This means that legislation that was introduced for consideration during the previous two months of session either be voted out of its respective committee and keep moving through the legislative process or it will die and be removed from consideration for the rest of this year's session. "Funnel week" usually marks the beginning of the end of session as many bills are weeded out and serious work finally commences on next year's state budget.

Though some bills will live on after this week, many of those may not be the kind of legislation that will create jobs or be in the best interest of Iowa taxpayers. The governor and legislative Democrats continue to push their anti-jobs union agenda even as there are new reports coming daily of more layoffs, more business and plant closings, more worker furloughs and more cutbacks in hours. Just this week, a report from the Iowa Workforce Development reported that Iowa has lost 17,500 jobs in the last year and unemployment rose to its highest level in over 20 years. This is consistent with the story published only a few weeks ago by U.S. News and World Report showing that Iowa is second to last of all the states in the country when it comes to friendliness to businesses. Only West Virginia has an employment climate that makes Iowa's high taxes, onerous rules and regulations and preponderance to discuss union boss backed legislation that will stifle job creation and economic growth seem more appealing.

With just a few weeks to go in the session, the Governor and legislative Democrats have pledged that they will do all they can to push through four major special interest labor bills, even though they will result in higher taxes, far fewer jobs and reductions in quality of health care. This session, with the aggressive support of the governor, legislative Democrats moved a doctor shopping bill out of committee that will drastically reduce the quality of care for Iowa workers and radically increase workers' compensation insurance premiums for Iowa employers. Iowa employers, already stretched thin, could have to pay tens of thousands of dollars in extra insurance costs which could easily lead to more layoffs, furloughs, hour reductions and plant and business closings as a result of the added financial burdens. At a time when employers and employees need an easier economic path to travel, the governor and legislative Democrats only want to erect more barriers and blockades.