Golding says don't fear the gridlock

Todd Dorman
Published: October 23 2011 | 4:05 am - Updated: 3 April 2014 | 2:24 am in
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So I casually asked Cindy Golding about her plan to shut down our state government.

OK, seriously. You’re a swell candidate, and all, but wouldn’t sending you to the state Senate mean that Iowa’s now merely dysfunctional legislative branch would become completely non-functional?

All molecular legislative motion ceases. Political absolute zero.

A Golding victory turns a 26-24 Democratic Senate into a 25-25 tie. At this daggers-drawn point in our politics, I’d be surprised if they could forge agreement on lunch. I half expect dueling morning prayers. Gridlock, meet Master Lock.

“We already have a government that is not working,” said Golding, a Republican from rural Cedar Rapids. “And with 25-25 split, the two parties have to work together.”

Would you ever break ranks with Republicans and vote with the other side? “It depends on the issue. I am not a party line person. Which is why I wasn’t Gov. Branstad’s original pick (for this seat),” Golding said.

True, she wasn’t Terry’s choice. Odd, considering that she seems to be a perfect GOP candidate for this moment. She and her husband own four businesses — two real estate outfits, a corporate consulting firm and a maple syrup farm. Golding is all business at a time when politics is pretty much all business.

And she’s critical of the “help” she’s getting from the Republican Party of Iowa. Golding said she convinced the party to pull a TV ad comparing her Democratic opponent, Liz Mathis, to our “celebrity” president. She cringed when I mentioned it. Still, I noted this convincing came after the ad had run for quite a while.

“If it were me, we wouldn’t even be doing television. This is a local campaign,” Golding said.

And locally, there is bipartisanship. For instance, Golding says Mathis is running on “Republican issues,” like job creation. I was unaware the GOP had patented that phrase, but if so, good thinking. Golding in particular panned Mathis’ plan to give a $2,000 credit to businesses that hire unemployed Iowans.

“The reality of what it takes to make the decision to hire an employee is lost on people who have never hired an employee,” Golding said. “If it’s the wrong person, or if I do not have the business to sustain that person’s salary, it will cost me a heck of a lot more than $2,000 if I have to lay off that person.”

She spent much of our interview condemning regulations she says are costly, even "silly," from health insurance mandates to unemployment taxes to the specific calendar dates the state uses to restrict applying manure to frozen ground.

Golding supports tax cuts, but hasn’t settled on which ones should be cut. She'd like to see property tax restructuring that both reduces business taxes and changes what those local taxes fund. The state, for example, could reduce local taxes by taking on a greater share of school funding.

She doesn’t like a gas tax increase, arguing that the state should focus on the most needed repairs, not “wish list” items. One wish that’s not a need, she said, is the I-380 interchange at Tower Terrace Road. That may not sit well with local leaders who see the project as critical for growth.

“It would be great for our area," Golding said. “But is it the right thing for the state when our roads budget is so tight?”

Speaking of sitting, a locked up legislature probably won’t pass much of this stuff anyway. “Sometimes, no legislation is better than bad legislation,” Golding said. Heck, in that case, a tied Senate should be very successful.

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