Taylor Ready for Freshman Session

West Des Moines Republican brings experience in business, education to House

Rob Taylor will be thinking of his own experiences in small business as he tackles issues at the Statehouse this legislative session.

The West Des Moines Republican defeated Democrat Eric Brenneman to represent the newly-created House District 44, which includes portions of West Des Moines, Waukee and Clive.

“I thought we needed common-sense, down-to-earth, practical business people to step up and serve the public,” Taylor, 41, said of his reason for running.

As a part-time educator at Des Moines Area Community College and William Penn University, Taylor said some of his greatest contributions to the Legislature likely will come on the education front. He also works full time for BG Beller Distributing of Iowa, a petroleum company.

Taylor will serve as vice chairman of both the education appropriations subcommittee and the House environmental protection committee. He also has been appointed to the commerce, economic growth and human resources committees.

Taylor said he would like to see a focus on finding efficiencies within the state’s education budget instead of raising spending, though he acknowledged it may be an unpopular position with other lawmakers, teachers and school board members.

“There’s absolutely no excuse why we shouldn’t be in the top five states in the nation” when it comes to education, he said. “It’s about getting down to the nitty gritty of how we’re spending our money and where is the inefficiency.”

Taylor also is opposed to using one-time funding to finance educational programs and said he would like Regent institutions to look at more ways they could save money and ultimately lower tuition costs.

A debate is already under way over how to spend about $800 million in surplus revenue the state will have as a result of a strong economy and modest budgeting in recent years.

Lawmakers have expressed interest in investing the money in infrastructure, education and tax credits, or in returning it to Iowans in the form of tax cuts.

Taylor said he is cautious about using any of the money until there is more certainty in the federal financial situation.

“The reaction initially is to grab some of the money and use it,” he said. “My stance is, we need to be very conservative with the overage right now until we have more certainty as to what’s going to happen” with health care reform and federal taxation.

One thing he said is certain is the need for lawmakers to have a productive session. Taylor is optimistic having new representatives in the Iowa House can help make that happen.

“Inaction is not an option any longer,” he said. “We have a brand new legislature with a lot of freshmen. With fresh faces and varied experiences, it brings a certain amount of energy and youth to the Legislature that I think we need to be able to move forward.”

Published January 7, 2013 in the Des Moines Register

About Rob Taylor