The Paulsen Perspective: Iowa’s Greatest Investment

SpeakerKP

As a parent I have firsthand knowledge that we all want the best for our kids. The same can be said for legislators in Des Moines — as we work on school funding, we are constantly keeping the best interest of Iowa’s students in mind. Part of the balance of setting Supplemental State Aid (the amount of funding our schools receive from the state) is committing to funding that schools can count on and keeping the taxpayer in mind.

Speaker Paulsen meeting with FCCLA students in his office

Speaker Paulsen meeting with FCCLA students in his office

Over the last ten years, the Legislature has committed to funding at a certain level and then after schools have certified their budgets, hired their staff and begun the school year, government yanks the rug out from under them with an across the board budget cut. In 2010, it was a 10% cut, mid-year. This isn’t fair and it isn’t in the best interest of Iowa students, families or taxpayers.

The Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) meets multiple times a year to determine how much revenue is coming into the state. This in turn outlines the parameters for state spending. In December, when the REC met they noted that revenues were not coming in at the rates they once anticipated. That said, there would be about $200 million more in revenue available for the legislature to spend. As the House has begun moving their K-12 education funding bill, we are outlining an increase of $100 million for Iowa’s schools. That’s HALF of all the new revenue coming into the state before any other budget commitment has been made. Overall, the state spends nearly 42% of its budget on K-12 education – and with our new proposal for funding that increases education spending by $570 million over the past five years. Anyone who says the taxpayers are not making a serious commitment to education in this state is being disingenuous.

While this is a significant investment in the state’s education, it is also a promise I am confident we can maintain. Schools shouldn’t have to worry about looking over their shoulder, wondering if a giant cut in their funding is coming. House Republicans will not put them in that position.

If we truly want the best for our kids we must properly fund their future but ensure it is funding they can count on.

As always, please contact me at (515) 281-3521 or kraig.paulsen@legis.iowa.gov with your questions or concerns.

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