Iowans for Tax Relief lauds Obama today

Iowans for Tax Relief and a handful of Republican legislators today held a news conference to call for posting the state budget on-line, in a searchable database, so the public can review the records, see where/how their tax dollars are being spent and perhaps make suggestions for savings.  Click on this link to the Radio Iowa story and you can access the 12-minute-long mp3 of the news conference.

One wag (it wasn't ME) who read the Iowans for Tax Relief news release used the "text phrase" LOL to describe their reaction to how many times Barack Obama is mentioned. (LOL means Laughing Out Loud.)  If you read yesterday's blog post, you know that today's news conference in Des Moines happened while former state Senator Mary Lundby's funeral was being held in Cedar Rapids .  Todd Dorman, a columnist and blogger for The Cedar Rapids Gazette, headlined his post "Iowans for Questionable Timing."

Here is the ITR news release, with Obama's name highlighted so you can count the number of times his name is mentioned:

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Iowans for Tax Relief supports President Barack Obama's mission for a transparent government.

MUSCATINE, IA— Iowans for Tax Relief supports President Barack Obama's push for a transparent government, with legislation to implement a website providing transparency of taxing and spending by Iowa government.

In keeping with the spirit of a fully transparent government, members of the Iowa House and Senate introduced legislation today requiring the implementation of a website to provide true transparency of taxing and spending in Iowa government.

When in the United States Senate in 2006, then Senator Obama, sponsored legislation and successfully implemented a website providing Americans with a fee-free searchable database to see how our federal tax dollars are spent.

"I am very pleased President Obama is keeping his pledge to promote greater transparency in government. He sponsored legislation as a senator which increased transparency, and yesterday in his inaugural speech, President Obama made clear, accountability and transparency in government are part of his agenda for change," said Ed Failor, Jr., President of Iowans for Tax Relief.

Each year Iowans pay more than $4,700 per person in state and local taxes. The implementation of an Iowa Transparency website would likely have a limited price tag under $40,000. Software is available at no cost from the federal government and some states have partnered with private businesses to develop state websites.

Failor continued, "Iowans for Tax Relief agrees with President Obama and we endorse his call for change. The people are the consumer of government, and all Iowans should be able to find out exactly how their tax dollars are being spent. I want to thank the bill sponsors who are here today and ask all other Legislators to honor the agenda of our new President and support swift passage of this bill."
Currently there are nine states with government spending transparency websites, including our border state of Missouri (

The bill would require the Iowa Department of Management (the state budgeting office) to develop and operate a single searchable web site, by January 1, 2011, for Iowa taxpayers to see how and where their tax dollars are being spent. The legislation also requires the Iowa Department of Management along with the Department of Revenue to develop and operate a searchable database and clickable map of all the tax rates in the state for each taxing jurisdiction. The database shall also include a tax rate calculator for taxpayers to calculate their taxes or potential taxes.

"We all deserve to determine for ourselves if government is efficient and effective with our tax dollars. Taxpaying Iowans who pay the bills of government should be able to review how their hard earned tax dollars are spent. With true transparency every day Iowans, not just legislators and the budget managers, can find new ways to provide savings. We believe Iowans deserve to see how their tax dollars are spent and we are honored to be part of advancing President Obama's agenda for greater transparency in government," continued Ed Failor, Jr., President of Iowans for Tax Relief.

Iowans for Tax Relief is excited to support the goal of President Obama for a truly transparent government. We thank bill sponsors; Rep. Linda Upmeyer (R-Garner), Rep. Doug Struyk (R-Council Bluffs), Rep. Erik Helland (R-Grimes), Senator Kim Reynolds (R-Osceola) and Senator Shawn Hamerlinck (R-Davenport). We hope for swift passage of this bill through the Iowa Legislature and urge Governor Culver to sign the Iowa Transparency Act into law.

We ask all Iowa taxpayers to contact their state legislators by phone or email as soon as possible.
Iowa House Switchboard (515) 281-3221; Iowa Senate Switchboard (515) 281-3371; and visit our website if you need email addresses or you are unsure of your state legislators at
You can search federal government spending at 24-hours a day and 7-days a week.

(Editor's note:  by my count, that's eight direct Obama mentions, one indirect "our new president" mention…Of further note, Failor was among the consultants on John McCain's payroll until July, 2007.)

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.