House Republicans Offer $200 Million in Savings, Call for More Transparency in Budgeting

From this week’s House Republican Newsletter:

Through Tuesday, April 14, House Republicans had offered over $200 million in general fund savings as a result of a line-by-line review of the budget. Virtually all of these amendments were rejected by majority Democrats. Had Democrats accepted a little more than one-half of the savings, their proposed budget would be in balance instead of being at least $105 million over the expenditure limitation.

Here is the breakdown of the amendments offered and the savings created, per budget subcommittee:

  • Administration and Regulation — $100.1 million
  • Economic Development — $14.7 million
  • Agriculture and Natural Resources — $17.5 million
  • Health and Human Services — $20.3 million
  • Education (Department of & Higher Ed) – $52.9 million
  • Justice System (Corrections and DPS) — $27.1 million

Total General Fund Savings through April 14 – $232.6 million

With the Standings and Justice System budget bills yet to be debated, the amendments will exceed $300 million in savings by the time session adjourns.

In addition, Minority Leader Paulsen and Representative Raecker this week criticized the Democrats for playing lip service on the issue of budget transparency.

On Thursday, April 9, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees approved four one-paragraph shell bills: Standings, Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund, Federal Stimulus and Bonding. These four bills stand to spend over $4.2 billion in taxpayer money. By skipping the budget subcommittee process as well as the full Appropriations Committee process, the Democrats have locked Iowans out of the debate on these very important budget issues.

The Democrats predictably claimed that Republicans did this when we were in control. This is simply not true. House Republicans never approved a one paragraph bill out of the Appropriations Committee.

By refusing to show Iowans how they are going to spend $4.2 billion, or how they are going to fund the budget bills that have already been approved, they are purposely and systematically keeping Iowans from knowing the true picture.

In 1802, Thomas Jefferson said “We might hope to see the finances of the Union as clear and intelligible as a merchant’s books, so that every member of Congress and every man of any kind, and any mind in the Union should be able to comprehend them, to investigate abuses and to consequently control them.”

Apparently, the House Democrats don’t agree with the founding father whom they see as the patriarch of their party. Instead of making things more transparent, they are withholding information that would make the budget transparent to all Iowans. Like the past two sessions, Iowans won’t know how or if the budget will be balanced until after session concludes.

As the budget process moves forward, House Republicans will continue to go through the budget on a line-by-line basis to find ways to make state government leaner and more efficient. House Republicans will also continue the fight for truth and transparency in the budget process.