This week, the House approved House File 45, the Taxpayers First Act, as amended by the Senate. HF 45 is the first bill of the 84th General Assembly to be sent to the Governor for his signature. The original version of the bill, drafted by House Republicans, saved taxpayers over $500 million in the current and next two fiscal years.
Regrettably the Senate significantly scaled back the number of government efficiency proposals and spending reductions in our bill. After the Senate amendment, the bill saved only $10 million – a fraction of what House Republicans proposed. Regardless, we agree with the provisions they decided to conform with and we will continue our fight on behalf of the taxpayer to reduce the size and scope of state government.
Here is a list of items included in the final version:
- Prohibits legislators and legislative employees from having a better health care plan than plans bargained for by executive branch employees
- Eliminates funding for the lobbyist shuttle from the parking ramp to the Capitol
- Requires the Transportation, Infrastructure and Capitals budget subcommittee to review all sustainable communities projects (this is the House language on heated sidewalks)
- Limits sabbaticals to not more than 3% of faculty through the end of FY 2012 (this is a small reduction to the overall number of sabbaticals for FY 2012)
- Cuts acquisitions by the state library by 50% through the end of FY 2011
- Denies any state benefits to adult illegal aliens
- Prohibits taxpayers-funded lobbyists
- Cuts expenditures for office supplies, equipment purchases, printing and binding and marketing by 50 percent of the unencumbered appropriation
- Prohibits out-of-state travel by state employees unless they get a waiver from Executive Council
- Requires the sale or lease of the Iowa Communications Network
- Requires Department on Aging to develop a plan to reduce number of Area Agencies on Aging
- Prohibits the purchase of any new state vehicles, requires Admin and Reg budget sub to look into privatization of the state vehicle fleet
- Eliminates the Generation Iowa Commission
- Prohibits Iowa from renewing its membership in the North America Super Corridor Coalition
- Reduces Department of Education by $59,000 due to not having a director until January 2011
- Reduces funding for the legislative health care coverage commission by $167,000
- Prohibits DOT from planting wildflowers unless it is for erosion or weed control
- Eliminates the Rebuild Iowa Office and shifts responsibilities to Division of Homeland Security at the end of FY 2011
- Provides “claw back” provisions for local government funding if found to be ineligible
Also this week, the Senate Democrats released a general blueprint of their Fiscal Year 2012 budget. It appears to spend $6.146 billion or $146 million more than what House Republicans proposed. The Democrat proposal does not include a balance sheet, so the true amount of proposed spending remains to be seen. I look forward to seeing their full budget, whenever it is they decide to share it with Iowans.
I remain committed to passing a budget that gives the taxpayer a seat at the table and does not spend more than the state takes in.
Next week is the funnel week which means all bills sponsored by House members must be approved by a House committee in order for them to remain alive and be considered for the remainder of the session. If a bill is not passed out of committee by Friday it’s dead for the year. This deadline does not apply to tax bills, budget bills or bills in the government oversight committee.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 515-281-3521.