Letter to the Editor

Closing in on budget details

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

As we close in on the end of our legislative year, we have a few vital tasks to finish up. The largest one left undone is to formulate a budget that is both wise and prudent. In the last, week tremendous progress has been made in getting budgets out of committee and ready for floor debate in both the House and the Senate. At the close of business Thursday, April 13, all budgets are predicted to be out of committee and ready for floor debate. With that progress, the end is in sight and truly will be upon us soon.

“This budget plan makes additional investments in key priorities like K-12 education and provides resources for essential functions of government,” Rep. Pat Grassley (R-New Hartford) and Sen. Charles Schneider (R-West Des Moines) announced in a joint statement. “House and Senate Republicans continue to believe that the state budget should be managed just like families and businesses manage their own. This budget takes a responsible and cautious approach to spending in recognition that revenue may continue to come in less than anticipated."

The budget plan includes fully funding the additional $40 million passed earlier this session for K-12 schools. This budget plan also includes an initial payment to repay the Cash Reserve Account in FY 18 and additional payments will be made in FY 19. House Republicans will release a plan to fully repay the Cash Reserve shortly.

Since 2011, Iowa House Democrats have proposed over $3.35 billion in General Fund spending over what was approved. Iowans would be facing a multi-billion dollar shortfall if House Democrats had been allowed to destroy Iowa’s finances.

From 2007-2010 Iowa Democrats, in control of the governor’s office, state senate and state house used $1.5 billion in federal bailout cash, then borrowed $810 million more which costs Iowans nearly $1.7 billion in payments through the year 2030.

The ending balance, which Democrats claim was mishandled, was used this way:

• Over $300 million was returned to taxpayers through tax reductions. 

• $114 million was used to pay off state debt. 

• Almost $160 million flowed into the state’s Cash Reserve Fund. 

• About $86 million was used for disaster relief. 

• Nearly $80 million was for infrastructure investments. 

• And roughly $280 million was used to cover lower than expected state revenues.

I strive to represent you, the constituents, of House District 1 in the best way that I can and I work very hard to do what you feel is right. I am honored to represent you and promise to bring our northwest Iowa values to the concrete of Des Moines. This budget, described above, is a promise to that and I take that to heart. We will operate our state budget much like you and your family operates yours. We will not spend more than we take in and we will spend money in a wise and proper manner.