I hope you all had a great summer and were able to enjoy spending time with your family and friends. As the kids get back into their school routines and the football season starts, I am working to meet with many constituents prior to the upcoming session.|I hope you all had a great summer and were able to enjoy spending time with your family and friends. As the kids get back into their school routines and the football season starts, I am working to meet with many constituents prior to the upcoming session.
On Monday, State Auditor David Vaudt came out with a review of the state budget. Overall, he gave the Legislature high marks for our budgeting practices. He pointed out that we made, “huge progress in the area of fiscal sustainability.” He says we’ve, “turned the ship around” and our budget gets spending back on track. He praised our work and said our budget is, “clearly a win for the taxpayers of Iowa.”
When Republicans took control of the House in January, we listened to Iowans and proposed a budget that was honest, transparent and sustainable. Our budget did not spend more than the state takes in and provided for priority services in the areas of education, health and human services and public safety. Additionally, we provided significant tax relief by fully funding school aid and creating the Taxpayers Trust Fund, which returns Iowans’ money back to their own pockets, where it belongs.
Our responsible budgeting went further.
As the auditor recently pointed out, our budget reduces the state’s reliance on one-time money. In recent years, one-time funds like the federal stimulus dollars were used to pay for ongoing expenses. Not only is this type of budgeting a bad idea, it is irresponsible and sets the state up for failure in the future. Our budget, as reviewed by the auditor, reduces this one-time money by 92 percent ñ from $638 million to $53 million.
This is a step in the right direction.
We also made significant progress on how much the state was spending. The last budget passed by Legislative Democrats spent $1.18 for every $1.00 the state was collecting. Iowans grew tired of this kind of reckless spending and sent a message to the Capitol to get it under control. The Auditor uses different accounting methods than we use under Iowa law which results in some different figures. However, he did confirm in his press conference that under current law, the budget spends less than it takes in. We are proud that the current budget now spends $0.97 of every dollar in revenue.
Fiscal sanity has been restored.
The auditor did issue a warning about the potential for a loss of federal funds as Congress works to balance their budget. Coupled with a weak economic outlook, it is a sobering reminder of why we should be conservative in the approach to the State’s budget.
Overall, House Republicans passed a responsible, transparent and honest budget which gives the taxpayers a seat at the table again. We were able to make substantial progress this year and we will carry that forward and continue our efforts to live within our means while providing for priority services to Iowans.