The Issues

We should spend no more than projected revenue

In the 2011 legislative session we were finally able to pass a balanced budget in spite of a lot of stalling and opposition from the Democrats. It took until June 30, the last day of the last fiscal year to pass our final budget bill. We stood firm and insisted on a balanced budget and the Democrats who controled the Senate finally agreed to the spending cap that we had insisted on. It did not take quite as long in 2012 and 2013 but we still had to stand firm insisting on a budget that spends less than the revenue that the State receives.The Senate leaders finally agreed to that limit on spending. I will continue to work in the Senate to hold down spending. Unfortunately, we had a small deficit in fiscal 2015 and the state used some of the surplus from prior years to make up the difference. Increased Medicaid costs account for much of the shortfall. I fear we will have another deficit this fiscal year even after the Governor's veto of some of the one time spending. I voted against nearly all the budget bills for both fiscal 2015 and fiscal 2016 because of the likely deficits. 

Iowa needs a business climate that allows small business to prosper and provide jobs we desire
We must reduce spending and taxes to allow our families and small businesses to prosper.  The key to excellent schools, roads and bridges and other things we all desire is a growing economy.  Out of control spending and high taxes, along with heavy-handed regulations stifle growth and reduce tax revenues in the long run.  The key to keeping our young people in Iowa is economic opportunity, whether as entrepreneurs or employees. The Democrats continue to support increased spending. In fact if we had passed all the amendments the Democrats offered to out budget bills, we would have spent over $200 million more than we did in 2011, 2012 and 2013. We finally passed a bill giving commercial property tax relief in the 2013 session. Iowa's commercial property taxes are among the highest in the nation. The reductions in commercial property taxes are phased in and we the bill has provisions to compensate local governments to lower the cap on increasing valuations on agricultural and residential property.             
                                
Iowa children deserve a world-class education
We all want the best education possible for our children. Parents should have choices in education the same as in other areas. We need good salaries for our teachers, especially math and science teachers.  Good salaries alone will not guarantee the kind of results we all desire, however.  We must have accountability, rewarding teachers who do exceptional work and weeding out teachers who are below par. Support for classroom teachers, more parental involvement and better discipline are also needed. We passed an historic education reform bill in 2013.              
                          
These are exciting and challenging times for Iowa Agriculture
Agriculture is a huge industry here in Iowa.  American farmers provide the safest and cheapest food supply in the world. The increasing demand for ethanol and bio-diesel are creating additional demand for our corn and soybeans. The potential is there for increasing exports of both grains and meat products, particularly to Asian nations. We must continue to promote these products and keep working to lower barriers that limit the exports of our products. We should continue looking for opportunities to add value to our products before exporting them. Of course the recent declines in commodity prices is cause for concern.                     
 
Capital Punishment should be restored for child rapists who kill their victims                        
Current Iowa law provides for a life sentence for someone who rapes a child.  If the rapist murders his victim the penalty is still life in prison. This creates a situation where a rapist may think it is to his advantage to murder his victim so that he is less likely to be identified.  There is no increased penalty.  Where the perpetrator can be identified with certainty through DNA testing or fingerprints, he should be subject to the death penalty.    

We must preserve our second amendment rights
Liberals are always trying to restrict our second amendment rights. We must oppose those efforts.