We had a short, but productive second week at the Capitol. In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the Legislature did not convene on Monday, and on Tuesday, legislators remained in their districts in order to attend their local precinct caucuses.
To some, this year’s caucuses may not seem as exciting as a presidential year, but in fact, this year’s election is perhaps even more important to Iowans’ daily lives. This November, voters will go to the polls to elect our Governor, the entire Executive Branch, and determine the composition of the State Legislature. The results of this election will impact the level of government involvement in your day-to-day life, how the state budget is managed, and perhaps most importantly, how much money will remain in your pocketbook. In the meantime, have no doubt, throughout this session each of these areas will remain at the forefront of our minds.
As I mentioned last week, we are currently in the process of conducting a line-by-line review of the Governor’s budget proposal. Our highest priority is to ensure that taxpayers’ dollars are spent wisely, and we will work closely with the Governor to accomplish this.
Throughout the budget process, we will be looking through the same lens we have used for the past three years- a lens that has produced great savings for Iowa taxpayers. During the previous administration and with different control in the House, state spending grew by 11% in the first year and 17% after two. By year three, the state was borrowing nearly $800 million and by the time we gained control in the House, taxpayers were facing a $900 million budget shortfall. Today, I’m happy to report our budget reserves remain full and the ending balance is projected to be $928 million.
Let me remind you, however, it only takes one undisciplined budget to destroy the progress that has been made. We are committed to sticking to our budgeting principles that have worked so well since coming into the majority:
- We will not spend more than we take in;
- We will not use one-time revenue for ongoing expenses;
- We will not intentionally underfund programs simply to fix the problem down the road; and
- We will return unused tax dollars to Iowa’s taxpayers.
With the rather uncommon bitter cold temperatures and strong wind, I hope you are staying relatively warm and traveling safe. As always, I’d love to hear from you! Please do not hesitate to contact me at 515-281-4618 or email@example.com with the issues you care about.