Once again, there is so much bull in the news , it is tough to decide what to discuss. When in doubt, I look close to home. In the Iowa state legislature, I see two great examples of government at work. The great thing about this (for the sake of the column) is that one is good, one is bad. One is bully, one is bull.
With the beginning of the legislative year comes a plethora of bills. Some are introduced to satisfy a campaign promise, some are an attempt to make life better. Sometimes a bill is introduced just to get attention.
In the first few weeks of the 2005 session, two bills have caught my attention. The first bill is bull and an example of “what in the world are these folks wasting their time with that for?”. Spinning wheel covers. You know, the wheel covers that you can install that rotate as you drive and when you come to a stop they still rotate making your wheels look like they are still moving. Clever little gimmick. Personally, I think they look pretty good, especially on a low rider, equipped with fuzzy dice and the suspension system that makes the vehicle bounce up and down. Price tag $60 - $100. So, what’s the problem?
One legislator thinks that they should be outlawed. “They are distracting.” OK, so if it’s distracting, it should be illegal? Don’t start down the road. You would eliminate everything from music systems, cellular phone usage in the car and eating in the vehicle. Fines proposed for having these wheel covers are higher than the price of the covers themselves. For this bill, it’s bull.
Not all is lost when it comes to the legislature in Iowa. Another piece of legislation was one that would attempt to attract young professionals to the state and also stop the departure of the same. The bill proposes that all individuals under the age of 30 be exempt from paying state income tax. The thinking, of course is if “we attract them here for college, maybe they will stay with an incentive of no taxes”. Opponents to the bill argue that the state would lose millions in revenue by the elimination of income tax for these members of generation net. Actually, the revenue for the state would probably increase through other taxes collected off of this group of professionals. Money spent in Iowa collects sales tax and houses purchased collect property taxes. If you compute the money lost with the “brain drain” Iowa suffers by losing these bright young folks, I think you would find the state wouldn’t be losing money. Only time would tell, but it’s worth a try. Gee, maybe other states would follow suit or maybe Iowans could see an eventual elimination of the income tax. Nah, that is only wishful thinking.
With these two examples we see what the founding fathers expected of government. Sometimes government can be a positive. Sometimes, a negative. Some bully – some bull.
And as long as the latter is around, I’ll have something to address next week.