March certainly came in like a lion, but with the forecast ahead, I’m hopeful warmer temperatures will be here to stay.
We had another very productive week in the Iowa House. In addition to passing many overwhelmingly bipartisan bills off the House floor, we also reached agreement with the Senate Majority party on joint budget targets.
This year’s budget proposal maintains our commitment to funding the priorities of Iowans, with the goal of making it easier to support and raise a family in our state. We want to continue to make it more affordable to send your children to college, to own a home in Iowa, and to have access to a world-class education.
Within the budget targets, funding is provided for a four percent increase in supplemental state aid for schools, continued support for the education reform package passed last year, maintaining our commitments to the 2013 property tax relief package, and funding to ensure a second year of tuition freezes at Iowa’s three Regent universities.
The budget targets not only ensure the priorities of Iowans are met, but sticks to the core budgeting principles we have stood by since coming into the majority in the House four years ago:
- 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.
This year’s budget proposal spends 99.8 percent of ongoing revenue, which is $6.9718 billion. Property tax relief makes up approximately $322 million of this figure. This budget target maintains our commitment to funding the priorities of Iowans, while upholding our core budgeting principles.
While the law allows us to spend 99 percent of all available revenue, or $7.6492 billion, this year’s budget spends only 91 percent of available revenue. This will be the fourth consecutive year that we will be spending less than the state takes in. This is in stark contrast to the four previous years where the state spent more than we took in.
As we move forward, our budget committees will be hard at work crafting their individual budgets. I look forward to finalizing the details of the budget in a fiscally responsible manner, while ensuring the priorities of Iowans are met.
Thank you all for your feedback over the past few weeks. Please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 515-281-4618 with any questions or thoughts you may have.