“In 2009, Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds promised to create 200,000 jobs in five years,” said Senate Democratic Leader Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids. “After more than 6 years, Iowa has gained less than 126,000 jobs, slower than the rate of job growth in the country as a whole. Instead of working on legislation to create jobs, Republicans are pursuing a partisan agenda that ignores the best interests of hard-working Iowans.”
An overwhelming majority of Iowans who packed the Capitol, attended rallies and overflowing local meetings, and filled legislative voicemail and email inboxes were in opposition to Senate File 213/House File 291. “Their message was clear: This bill hurts working Iowans and their families,” he said.
Iowa’s collective bargaining law has worked to foster good worker-management relations across Iowa for the past 40 years. This bill will disrupt that balance and undermine the morale and productivity of every public employee in the state.
Many Iowans are familiar with Newton’s transformation from a company town dominated by Maytag to the diverse economy it is today. The people of Newton bounced back because they sat across the table from their neighbor, and they all had the chance to say: “How can we be worthier together, to make our community great again?”
Since this bill was introduced, I have received and answered hundreds of emails from my constituents; talked with hundreds of constituents on the street and on the phone; even met last week with a group of six school superintendents. I have also read the bill and talked with my Senate colleagues about the details of the legislation. The bottom line is this: I can’t find a single reason why this bill would be good for the people of Iowa.
This bill has nothing to do with making working conditions better for public employees; nothing to do with preserving the quality of services we enjoy; nothing to do with preserving a pathway to the middle class for others.
This amendment is our last chance to stop this freight train that is barreling towards our public workers. We’ve finally arrived at the point of no return on this. We have reached a point of potentially blowing up the system of reason and compromise that has served our state well for decades.
“We will fight this attempt to take way health care security of hundreds of thousands of Iowa workers,” said State Senator Nate Boulton of Des Moines, lead Democrats on the Senate Labor Committee. “One of the most dangerous provisions of this anti-worker legislation would wipe out hundreds of health insurance plans for Iowa, teachers, correctional officers, EMTs, snow plow drivers, nurses and others who answer the call to serve our communities. That’s wrong.”
State Senator Nate Boulton will join Iowans gathering in support of workers’ rights for a rally and news conference before the House public hearing on HF291 today. Public employees who will speak to the Iowa House will address the media beforehand. They’ll voice their frustration about the Republican-led attack on workers’ rights that has been fast-tracked through the Legislature.
Senate Democrats have introduced legislation to help Iowa taxpayers by “coupling” Iowa’s tax code with recent federal changes for 2016, the taxes Iowans must pay this April. Thousands of Iowans want to use these provisions, which have been available to them in previous years, to lower their state taxes.