State Republicans unveil 10-city tour or what's hampering job creation
DES MOINES – Legislative Republicans unveiled a new effort Monday aimed at eliminating overly burdensome and unnecessary government rules or overzealous state enforcement activities that are impeding job-creation efforts or causing business prospects to look elsewhere to locate in states where the regulatory climate is less onerous.
Senate and House Republicans – at times accompanied by Gov. Terry Branstad and/or Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds – said they will conduct a month-long, 10-city tour to collect specific testimony from Iowans about onerous rules and a regulatory climate they believe is hurting job creation and keeping employers from locating or expanding in Iowa.
“It’s not as sexy a topic as some issues, but I think it’s one of the most significant initiatives that have been taken in several years to really begin to get at what the crux of the problem is for job creation in Iowa,” said Senate GOP Leader Paul McKinley of Chariton. He noted about 70 percent of the jobs created in Iowa involving existing businesses.
The tour is slated from Feb. 12 through March 12 and includes stops in Ames, Newton, Oskaloosa, Sioux City, Council Bluffs, Cresco, Cedar Falls, Dubuque, Cedar Rapids and Burlington. Organizers say there will be two meetings in each of Iowa’s five congressional districts.
Sen. Merlin Bartz, R-Grafton, a member of the House-Senate Administrative Rules Review Committee, said small and large employers, entrepreneurs, farmers, city administrators and others have increasingly complained in recent years of being the targets of overly burdensome rules and regulations that have been promulgated by government agencies.
“Government should not be punishing the very people we need to grow this state and create jobs,” Bartz told a Statehouse news conference. “We need to have reasonable and responsible levels of rules and regulations that protect the public interest without placing an undue burden on our job creators, cities and taxpayers.”
The way some state bureaucrats have been interpreting both federal and state law has created an unfair regulatory climate which is inconsistent with interpretations of federal law in other states, McKinley noted. Many of the rules and regulations have significantly raised costs, he said, and the situation has caused employers are leaving Iowa or choosing to expand elsewhere as a result of the undue regulatory costs and burdens imposed by the government.
Rep. Dawn Pettengill, R-Mount Auburn, a House GOP majority member of the Legislature’s rules oversight panel, said the effort to improve Iowa’s regulatory climate is something that won’t cost a lot of money in a tight budget year but could pay dividends in aiding job-creation efforts.
“House Republicans have been working to get government out of the way so employers can start expanding and hiring again,” she said.
“Government should not be punishing the very people that we need to have to be creating jobs in this state. We need to have reasonable and responsible levels of rules and regulations to protect the public interest without placing an undo burden on our job creators and on our cities, local governments and taxpayers,” she added.Pettengill said the goal of the public meetings would be to get specific data that are more than just anecdotal examples, create a catalog the different rules that are impediments to job creation, and bring them before the rules committee or the full Legislature to be revamped or nullified.