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Upmeyer: Democrats want to spend more money than House Republicans are willing to spend

From Rep. Linda Upmeyer:

April 17 was a significant day. It was the final day to file your taxes since April 15 fell on Sunday. It was designated Tax Freedom Day since it is the day Americans, according to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, will have earned enough money to pay their entire tax bill for the year. AND it marked the 100th day of the 2012 legislative session, which was hoped to be the date for adjournment. That date has come and gone, and we are still in the final stages of negotiations.

You are likely asking yourself, “Why don’t they END it?” The bottom line is Democrats want to spend more money than House Republicans are willing to spend. While we all wish the job was complete in the state Capitol, we know that sticking to our core principles (the promise we made to Iowans) is worth the time we are spending.

These core principles are focused on jobs, savings, and certainty for the hardworking taxpayers of Iowa. In order to accomplish these goals, the House Republicans remain committed to passing honest, transparent, and sustainable budgets.

We have said from day one that we will not spend more than we take in. We have made this commitment while ensuring that we still fund Iowans’ priority services in the areas of public safety, health and human services, and education. We are also dedicated to ending the practice of using one-time money for ongoing expenses. Anything less places our state’s long-term economic health in jeopardy.

We are only now recovering from the effects of that toxic combination in the budgets of 2010 and 2011. Additionally, it is our responsibility to budget the resources necessary to meet our entitlement requirements. We will not intentionally underfund state obligations to allow spending in other areas.

While our state’s economic future looks encouraging, it is critical that both families and job creators can believe the days of rollercoaster budgeting practices are over. They should be confident they will not be dealt a tax blow that will make it even harder to pay their bills, and even force them to cut jobs.

For too long, leaders in Des Moines resorted to budgeting gimmicks to continue an unsustainable spending spree that resulted in “balancing” the state budget on the backs of taxpayers. This type of bookkeeping is unacceptable. Just as Iowans are required to balance their checkbooks, prioritize their family budget, and spend within their means; state government must also do the same.

Additionally, we will continue to fight for significant tax relief and reform for all classes of Iowa’s property taxpayers. According to data provided by the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency, if nothing is done, Iowans are staring down the barrel of a $2.5 billion property tax increase over the next 10 years. This data reflects current law with adjusted valuations and fluctuating levy rates. The growing property tax burden is taking too much from Iowans’ checkbooks and stalling economic growth in this state. Providing genuine property tax relief is an essential component of creating jobs, savings, and certainty for all Iowans.

I am hopeful an agreement will soon be reached, but rest assured, we are committed to staying in Des Moines until a budget is passed that does not spend more than we take in and does not use one-time funds for ongoing expenses. We will fund Iowans’ priorities while reducing the size, scope, and cost of government.

As always, please feel free to contact me anytime with the issues you care about at linda.upmeyer@legis.state.ia.us or 515-281-4618.

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