The calendar has flipped over to June and if you are like me, you think it is time for the Legislature to take care of business. On Thursday, House Republicans alongside Senate Republicans and the Governor’s office moved forward by introducing an alternative, fiscally responsible budget plan. |From Rep. Linda Upmeyer
The calendar has flipped over to June and if you are like me, you think it is time for the Legislature to take care of business. On Thursday, House Republicans alongside Senate Republicans and the Governor’s office moved forward by introducing an alternative, fiscally responsible budget plan.
The Legislature typically passes a total budget in several separate bills, which the House has already done this year. However, we still find ourselves at an impasse with the Senate on a budget agreement. As a result, we continue to work to find ways to break the stalemate before the end of the fiscal year. Iowans expect us to do our jobóRepublicans will not wait around for government to shut down.
I know I’ve said this before, but it is important to remember that when the House Republican Majority and Senate Democrat Majority released budget targets in February, $147 million separated those budgets. After months of joint budget meetings, we sat down with the Senate and went through each budget, line by line, to identify and resolve differences.
The result of this work was an honest offer by us and the Governor to accommodate some of the Senate’s concerns and move $101 million toward their position. Even then, our plan shrinks government and reduces spending to 95% of total available revenue. Conversely, the Democrat plan is to spend more than the state is taking in.
Our offers to this point have been rejected and Democrats have walked away from negotiations. While unfortunate, we must move forward with an alternative. Inaction is not an option. As a result, we plan to come in next week and pass a combined budget bill that is made up of budget bills previously passed with modifications that address many of the Democrats’ spending priorities. This bill simply ties the multiple budget bills into one. While it may not be our preferred method, the time for action is now.
The alternative bill continues to not spend more than the state is taking in. and keeps our commitment to a fiscally responsible, sustainable budget. It also holds spending to less than $6 billion. The bill is public and viewable here: Omnibus Bill. It will be public for nearly four days before being debated and we have made our staff analysis viewable here: Budget Bill Analysis
The bill also includes the two-year budget that Governor Branstad has requested. Since there is no revenue estimate for Fiscal Year 2013, our proposed spending for year two is lower than our 2012 budget. That being said, our budget still provides for priority services in the areas of education, health and human services and public safety. The appropriations committees will make necessary adjustments next session.
This proposal reinforces the principled stand we’ve taken towards government spending and budgets. It maintains our pledge to spend less than the state takes in ñ abandoning the past practice of using one-time money for ongoing expenditures. It gives taxpayers a seat at the table and sends Democrats a reasonable plan that they can support.
The House and Senate Republicans along with the Governor have agreed to this budget that meets the needs of Iowans and brings fiscal responsibility back to the statehouse.