Competing websites for House Democrats & Republicans

Last week, House Speaker Pat Murphy announced Democrats were going to launch a website to collect Iowans' ideas for cutting the state budget.  Murphy said it would be set up so ideas could be submitted anonymously, so state workers and others with contracts with the state could feel free to contribe their thoughts without fear of reprisal.  Democrats last Friday said the website would be operational "early next week."

Today — Monday — is "early next week" and Republicans in the House decided to jump online first.  Read their news release, issued at 8:04 a.m.:

House Republicans Launch Budget Savings Website

(DES MOINES)—Iowa House Republicans today announced the launch of a new feature on their website designed to get Iowans’ input for budget savings.  The page is located on and is part of the Republicans’ plan to bring more truth and transparency to Iowans.

“Republicans promised to dive into budgets to find waste and cost-saving measures,” said House Republican Leader Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha).  “With this addition to our website, we’re hoping Iowans will help us find ways to cut costs.  This feature will be a useful tool for us, and it also allows Iowans to interact more closely with their government.”

Last month, a group of Republicans filed the Iowa Taxpayer Transparency Act of 2009 which would develop a single, searchable website for Iowans to see how and where their taxpayer dollars were being spent.  Republicans have also previously asked the governor to freeze spending on pork projects and review unfilled full-time employee positions as a way to reduce spending and balance the state budget.

About two hours later, at 10;09 a.m., the following news release was issued by House Democrats:


Des Moines, Iowa – Iowa House Democrats today launched a new website to bring more transparency to the budget process and give the people of Iowa a direct voice in crafting a balanced, responsible state budget.  The website address is

“Iowans understand we are in tough economic times.  We want to hear what Iowans think about the state budget.  Our new website has detailed information about the state budget for Iowans to learn more and an opportunity to leave ideas or suggestions to help us find cost savings and make budget priorities this year,” said House Speaker Pat Murphy of Dubuque.

The Open Budget website has specific information for the seven appropriations areas that the Legislature uses to craft the state budget.  There is also a budget analysis from the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau on the Governor’s budget recommendations just released last week.

“We know that the state budget shortfall will require significant cutbacks and difficult choices, but we are committed to a fiscally responsible, balanced state budget that doesn’t forget the needs of hard working, middle class families,” concluded Murphy.

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About O.Kay Henderson

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