GOP voters choose wisely
The Hawkeye State faces a budget crisis brought about in large measure by the failure of Gov. Chet Culver and the Democrats who control the Legislature to keep government spending in line with predictable state revenues. Consequently, it was vital that the Republican Party select a candidate for governor with the vision, commitment and experience necessary to rectify this situation and prevent its recurrence. In nominating former Gov. Terry Branstad, GOP primary voters have chosen a champion well-suited to that mission.
Branstad has developed an impressive plan for reducing the cost of government and reallocating resources. He is determined to bring about state budgets that adequately fund necessary programs while being realistic about what Iowa taxpayers can reasonably bear.
“It is time to stop playing shell games with taxpayer dollars, stop erratic budget fixes and start talking honestly about the state’s finances,” Branstad said in announcing his game plan. “This proposal will end bad budget practices and again bring fiscal responsibility to the state.”
That message is precisely on target.
Iowans know that Branstad can deliver on a promise to restore common sense to state government. He did it once before.
Branstad’s time as governor was an era when difficult problems were addressed with unusual competence. No-nonsense common sense was the order of the day. Perhaps that’s why – according to data released by Branstad – when he was governor, state spending averaged $1,700 per person while under Culver that has jumped nearly 18 percent in constant dollars to $2,000 per person. It may also explain why in 1999 Branstad ended his remarkable four terms as governor with a $900 million state surplus. That’s in sharp contrast to the nearly $1 billion shortfall Culver visited upon this state.
In seeking a return to the state’s top office, Branstad is not relying on nostalgia for an earlier era. He is thinking clearly about the future, not romanticizing the past. If, however, when Iowans go to the polls in November they are influenced in part by accurate memories of the professionalism that characterized Branstad’s time as governor that would be a good thing.
Republican voters have chosen well in making Branstad their standard-bearer. No one is better-qualified to lead Iowa back to prosperity. The GOP now stands an excellent chance of sending Iowa’s current governor into a well-deserved early retirement.
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