NW IA legislators report
Our plan combines all of the budget subcommittee bills into one large omnibus bill for the nearly $6.0 billion FY 2012 budget, which we plan to debate and move to the Senate next week Tuesday and possibly finish Wednesday. My colleagues and I in the House will not wait around for a government shutdown, we are acting and asking the Senate Democrats to move in the direction that Governor Branstad and House and Senate Republicans have agreed upon.
The omnibus bill is made up of legislation that has already been debated during committee work and on the floor of both chambers. This bill spells out the details of the $101 million in increased spending as a compromise that Republicans agreed upon to move toward the $147 million difference from the Senate Democrats' original target. This bill contains a huge commitment to education. In addition to $216 million in new state funds for FY2012 for K-12 education, it also includes 2% allowable growth for FY 2013. We are committed to funding Iowan's priorities and are showing that we can do that while being fiscally responsible.
Our spending plan limits spending to 95% of current revenue coming in. We do not need to spend right to the limit and create economic problems by misjudging the future growth of revenue to the state. We are aware of two months of revenue downturn since February's peak, which should raise the level of caution for the year ahead. We see sandbagging going on in the western part of the state, so we should be prepared to assist with the possible flood damage that will occur in areas adjacent to the Missouri River.
We hope the Senate Democrats will move beyond name-calling of the Republican plan. We can work with an actual proposal, not just threats of a government shutdown.
The bottom line is this: House Republicans are committed to an important set of principles:
- Put Iowans back to work
- Spend less than we take in
- Reduce the size and scope of government
- Make it easier to be or become an employer in the state of Iowa
(Column provided by State Representative Dwayne Alons of Hull)
State Senator Bill Anderson of Pierson:
The twenty-first week of the 2011 Legislature has come to a close without the full Senate meeting. There is still work to be done before we can bring the session to a close.
Last week after Senator Gronstal met with the other 25 Senate Democrats behind closed doors, they came back to House leaders and Governor Branstad and made it clear they were not interested in continuing the bi-partisan discussions. Since then another offer has been made that would provide an increase in allowable growth in the second year of the two year budget, and continue to fund the preschool program. Only time will tell if the Senate Democrats will accept.
For weeks, Governor Branstad, House Republicans and Senate Republicans have been in agreement that the state will not spend more than $5.99 billion dollars. We have made it crystal clear that we stand for responsible and sustainable budgets that do not include the reckless budgeting gimmicks that have imperiled the state's budget during the last few years. If an observer of the 2010 election walked away with only one message it should have been "stop the unsustainable spending." I campaigned on, as many Republicans did, reducing the size and cost of government, and I won my election by over 5,100! The message from Iowans remains clear.
On the flip side, Senate Democrats have demanded that the state continue to spend more money. In fact, their spending demands would actually continue to have the state spend more money than it takes in. Their budgets would continue to rely heavily on one-time dollars to pay for ongoing expenses and would be a continuation of the Culver budgeting practices that led us to deep across-the-board cuts and four years of fiscal volatility.
If Senate Democrats are successful in shutting down state government, that outcome will have serious consequences for the timely funding for our schools and other government entities like our state troopers, prison guards, health and food inspectors and child protection services among many, many others.
Now is the time to join together, work out our differences and move the state forward in a bi-partisan fashion. I believe that is what Iowans expect from their elected leaders.
This weekend I will be walking the Cherokee Rodeo Parade. I look forward to seeing some friends along the route. Angie, Joe and Eva will be joining me as well. We are looking forward to a beautiful summer day in Cherokee.
I want to thank you again for giving me the opportunity to serve you in the Iowa Senate. Please feel free to contact me with questions, comments and ideas.
(Legislators reports are posted as submitted)
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