Fulfilling Budget Commitments

This week the full House made progress on the Fiscal Year 2013 budget by passing four budget bills off the House floor. As I have previously stated, as House Republicans pass our budget, we will keep job creators in mind. Our conservative approach will create stability and certainty for all Iowans.

Our Budget Is Guided By Commonsense Budgeting Principles
We align ongoing spending with ongoing revenue. Iowans cannot afford a government that spends more money than it takes in. Anything less jeopardizes Iowa’s long-term economic health.

The practice of using one-time money for ongoing expenses is over. This is not how Iowans balance their own checkbooks at home and it’s not how House Republicans will balance the government checkbook.

We do not intentionally underfund entitlement programs. Promises made are promises kept and House Republicans can best protect education and Medicaid by getting the budget under control.

As economic uncertainty continues throughout the country, it is imperative that we take a conservative approach to the budget to give stability for Iowa’s job creators. Controlling government spending by spending less than the government takes in demonstrates a commitment to commonsense budgeting and economic health that employers deserve. One of the best ways to help Iowa’s employers is to keep control of government spending.

These are the first steps to fulfilling all of our budget promises to Iowans:
House Joint Resolution 2006 –This constitutionally protects the expenditure limitation and the Taxpayers Trust Fund to prevent budget gimmicks. It also requires a two-thirds majority vote by the General Assembly for any new bond issues or new tax increases. This bill is out of committee.

House File 2338 – Judicial Branch budget bill – Appropriates a total of $156.4 million from the General Fund to the Judicial Branch for Fiscal Year 2013. This is no change compared to last year. This bill is now in the Senate.

House File 2335 – Justice System budget bill – Appropriates a total of $504.5 million from the General Fund for Fiscal Year 2013 to the Departments of Justice, Corrections, Inspections and Appeals, Public Defense, and Public Safety, the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy, Board of Parole, and Civil Rights Commission. This is a decrease of $1.6 million compared to estimated FY 2012 (spending reductions were in the Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, Victims Assistance Grants and Legal Aid). This bill is now in the Senate.

House File 2336 – Agriculture and Natural Resources budget bill – Appropriates a total of $35.7 million from the General Fund for Fiscal Year 2013. We increased this budget by $3.4 million compared to last year. This bill was sent to the Senate.

House File 2337 – Economic Development budget bill – Appropriates a total of $29.1 million from the General Fund to the Department of Cultural Affairs, the Iowa Economic Development Authority, certain Board of Regents economic development programs, the Iowa Department of Workforce Development, Iowa Finance Authority, and the Public Employment Relations Board for Fiscal Year 2013. This is a decrease of $7.1 million compared to last year. This bill is in the Senate.

Also this week the House debated two bills which I am sure you have heard a lot about in the media. Both of these bills affirm Iowans’ right to bear arms. House Joint Resolution 2009 adds 2nd amendment rights to Iowa’s constitution. Iowa is one of six states across the country that does not have a right to bear arms provision in our constitution. This is a very straightforward measure that allows the people of Iowa the chance to vote on amending our constitution.

As with all constitutional proposals, Iowans get the final decision on whether to add this to our constitution.

Secondly, we passed House File 2115, also referred to as the “Castle Doctrine”, or “Stand Your Ground” legislation. Despite some of the myths spread by opponents of this bill, H2115 will not create more violence. Instead, it allows for Iowans to protect their home. Additionally, it removes the ‘duty to retreat’ that Iowans have now and allows Iowans who are under attack to protect themselves. Here is a real life situation which would have been prevented under this law.

Next week we will continue our work from this week on the budget to craft a conservative budget that meets the needs of Iowans without spending more than we take in.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me at kraig.paulsen@legis.state.ia.us or (515) 281-3521.