2015 Budget: Sticking to Princples


This week was a very successful week.  Not only did we once again pass multiple bills in a bipartisan manner, the House Republicans and Senate Democrats joined together to release a joint budget target number.

In Iowa, we still put people before politics. We still come together and get our work done. We still hold ourselves accountable. When we say that we are going to let Iowa taxpayers keep more of their money, we do it. When we commit to common sense budget principles, we follow them. We work hard to deliver on our promises.

Legislators and the governor have continued to provide the example of leadership that Iowans expect and that Washington, D.C. so desperately needs.

The agreement reached this week with the Senate is on the overall spending number.  The budget proposal is $6.9718billion in overall spending which is 99 percent of ongoing revenue.  The law allows the Legislature to spend $7.6492 and we are only spending 91 percent of that amount.  We are balancing ongoing expenses with ongoing revenue.

This budget maintains the commitments already made to Iowans and continues the fiscal responsibility in state government.

The budget fully-funds both the property tax credits (including the homestead, elderly and disabled, military and agland tax credits) and the commercial property tax credit which was passed last year as part of the largest tax cut in Iowa history.  It makes significant commitments to education including giving the regents the money they need to freeze tuition and increasing money to the community colleges.  It fully-funds the 4 percent increase to K-12 schools as well as the education reform program passed by the legislature last year.

It also sticks to responsible budgeting principles including: spending less than the state takes in, not spending one-time money on ongoing expenses; it maintains our commitment to not underfund entitlement programs, and returns unused tax dollars to Iowa taxpayers.

Now the budget subcommittees in each area begin laying out the specific line item commitments the legislature will make.

Below is a historical look at where the state has been when it comes to past budgets and how that compares to the budget proposed this week.

As we continue to work through the budget process, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.  You can contact me at my office at (515) 281-3521 or by email atkraig.paulsen@leigs.iowa.gov