Staff Columnist

Dance through the night at Iowa's legislative prom

The State Capitol Building in Des Moines on Wednesday, January 15, 2014. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette-KCRG TV9)
The State Capitol Building in Des Moines on Wednesday, January 15, 2014. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette-KCRG TV9)

In a way, it makes perfect sense our Legislature’s 2018 overtime session has run smack into prom season.

In both cases, dressed up people gather in fancy settings. There’s dancing, to music and around facts. One makes memories. The other makes laws. Neither fulfills our high hopes. Both cost more than we can afford.

And maybe a prom night is just what our lawmakers need to take their weary minds off Iowa’s many problems, including a few they did not cause. But when you’re so busy not adjourning, who has time to plan an elaborate fete?

Well, I have some spare time. So I came up with a few possible legislative prom themes. It’s really the least I can do. After reading them, you’ll know that’s so true.

Enchantment, and Nitrates, Under the Sea — No chance legislative prom will be a “dead zone” during this totally voluntary night of quality water fun. Don’t run off, the party is just getting started. Enjoy the small and very expensive gulf shrimp.

Stairway to Human Resources — Dance the night away, but only after a mandatory two-hour sexual harassment training program. Be sure to behave, or the next thing you’ll be grabbing is a box to hold the contents of your desk. Well, except for you Sen. Anonymous.

A Medicaid Night’s Dream — You’ll be transported to a magical land where patients actually get the treatment they need, providers actually get paid and promised cost savings actually materialize. Savor the moment, because soon it’s back to reality, where, admittedly, mistakes have been made.

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Deregulating into the Night — When the interests are truly special, why stop when the clock strikes midnight? Cut a regulatory rug through the wee hours to the unmistakable drumbeat of the Big Business Big Band. They’re sure to play the old classic, “Where do I Send the Check?”

A Sparkling Sanctuary — You’ll be definitely be dazzled, and then detained indefinitely until we can determine your immigration status.

A Night at the Waveland — An evening of forbidden romance, caught on video.

Out of this World, and State — You’ll be transported to the low-tax paradise of Kansas, the no-tax oasis of South Dakota and the Kochian kingdom of Wisconsin. Veer right all night, or until the revenue runs dry.

Minimum Wage Mardi Gras — All the fun you can afford at $7.25 per-hour. In lieu of a pay raise, please enjoy these plastic beads. Not enough? Let them eat king cake.

Pre-emption in Paradise — You’ll lose all (local) control as you visit a far-off land of low wages, big hogs and plastic shopping bags. This party’s a hit, from the top down.

Medical Marijuana Masquerade — Is it a facade? An illusion? A cruel hoax? No. it’s a good first step.

Tax Credits Are Forever — Exempt yourself from the taxing burdens of life and business. Lounge in a lagoon of loopholes. Relax, knowing it’s all refundable. No sunsets. No worries. It’s all breaks and no brakes.

A Fiscal Fairy Tale — Once upon a time we had to worry about the consequences of increasing spending, maxing the credit card and slashing taxes, all at the same time. But not here. Not now. Tonight there will be no boundaries, and, best of all, no math.

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Tax Talks at the Casino — Nobody will know what goes on behind closed doors at your own private casino. Roll the dice. Place your budgetary bets. Reward your friends. Throw around the really big bucks. Billions, baby. After all, you’re playing with house money. Live it up.

Estimation Island Vacation — You’ll be “Jamaican” your best guess when you line up for a rousing round of Revenue Forecasting Limbo. As the bar keeps dropping, you’ll wonder “How low can they go?” Very low, mon. Very low.

Sleepless Summer Nights — What could be more festive than eight straight hours of fireworks? How about eight more hours tomorrow night? Oh yeah.

Puttin’ On the Voters — Let go of reality in an alternate universe where the biggest legislative issues are heated sidewalks, pricey planters and a zoo in Des Moines. Up is down. Black is white. “Gotcha” is substance. Education is Republicans’ top priority. This session is a success. Too fantastic to believe. Or is it?

l Comments: (319) 398-8262; todd.dorman@thegazette.com

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We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

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