Strong and Unified


Another week has passed with legislators in Des Moines working to finish the people’s business for the year. We debated several bills this week and continued working on the state budget, mental health changes and legislation to reduce property taxes.

The most important revelation of the week is the fact there is a strong unified agreement on state spending. On Tuesday, House and Senate Republicans along with Governor Terry Branstad agreed on the overall size of the state budget. We have committed to the taxpayers to significantly reduce state spending. To fulfill that pledge, we have agreed to spend a total less than $6 billion. This is several hundred million less than was spent in previous years with no transfer to the back of the property tax payer.

This is significant for several reasons. First and foremost, spending less than $6 billion will ensure we implement a budget that spends less than the state takes in. For too long, leaders in Des Moines have resorted to budget gimmicks to continue an unsustainable spending spree that has resulted in “balancing” the state budget on the backs of taxpayers.

Our overall budget spends just 97 percent of ongoing revenue and avoids the tactics of purposefully underfunding areas like Medicaid and indigent defense (which we had to deal with by providing supplemental funding earlier this year). We fund Iowans’ priorities while reducing the size, scope and cost of government – a promise we made to Iowans last fall, and a promise we will keep.

Also this week the House Government Oversight committee began working on five bills which were drafted following the Republicans, “Re-Open Iowa for Business” Tour.

Earlier this session, House and Senate Republicans, along with the Governor, traveled the state on the “Re-Open Iowa for Business” tour. The purpose of the tour was to receive input directly from Iowans on government rules and regulations problematic for Iowa businesses. During their visits, legislators listened carefully and are now working through remedies to address the problems Iowa businesses are facing.

For years state government has implemented burdensome regulations, making it difficult for Iowa’s small businesses to thrive. Republicans are committed to working to get government out of the way so employers can start hiring again.

Among the solutions Iowans have proposed during the tour are:

House Study Bill 242- Allows hearing centers to promote their comprehensive hearing services.

House Study Bill 243 –Makes it easier to have more sign language interpreters without lessening standards.

House Study Bill 244- Allows employers who have had difficult financial times another year to keep their current unemployment compensation rate.

House Study Bill 245- Allows companies to get background checks for ice cream truck drivers.

House Study Bill 246- Removes the sales tax from environmental testing service.

The committee will continue to work on these bills and hopefully be able to put something forward soon.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns – you can contact me at my office at (515) 281-3521 or kraig.paulsen@legis.state.ia.us

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Dansette