A barb directed at Branstad

Republican gubernatorial candidate Christopher Rants issued this news release this morning.  For context, you may recall that former Governor Terry Branstad — the Republican mulling the idea of coming out of retirement to seek a fifth term as governor — raised the state sales tax twice during his 16 year tenure.  You may have seen this weekend’s Des Moines Register Iowa Poll which showed 48 percent of those surveyed thought it was a good idea for Branstad to run.  Chris Cilizza of The Washington Post has a paragraph of analysis in his Morning Fix.

Here’s the Rants “barb” directed primarily at Branstad.

Rants issues tax challenge to gubernatorial candidates

“As Iowa’s state budget situation continues to worsen, the public deserves to know how candidates for governor intend to put it right.  The last two times state government had a significant deficit, the sales tax was raised and the list of things subject to sales tax was expanded.  That is why I challenge my fellow candidates running for governor to pledge to veto any attempt to raise the sales tax, expand its base, or redirect the school infrastructure tax into the general fund,” said Rep. Chris Rants, candidate for Governor from Sioux City.

“We should not repeat the mistakes of the past, but live within our means.  I would hope my fellow Republicans, and Governor Culver would join me in taking this pledge, but I caution them not to do so lightly.  The magnitude of budget deficit is unprecedented.  It will not be easy to balance the budget, and Iowans should expect that there will be pain.  But I believe to close the budget gap with more tax revenue will only make our economic condition worse.”

Rants initially issued his challenge this weekend at the Poweshiek County GOP Town Hall Forum, however all candidates were not present.  He will again issue the challenge this evening in Mt. Pleasant, Tuesday in Pella, and Wednesday in Ames.

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About O.Kay Henderson

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