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Steckman: No “closer to resolving the budget issues”

This news story was published on April 29, 2012.
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From Rep. Sharon Steckman –

We just finished up our second week of overtime and don’t seem to be any closer to resolving the budget issues. We know regardless of the decisions that are yet to be made, the state will have approximately $610 million in our reserve funds at the end of fiscal year 2012, and over $330 million in surplus funds will flow into the general fund. That is almost one billion dollars surplus, which puts our state in a very good position. Iowa also has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation and just this past week Google announced another $300 million investment in Iowa, adding more jobs.

In the meantime the Conference Committee for Education Reform met twice this week and continues to work with the Governor to  come to some consensus. I am concerned and want to make sure this is not just another unfunded mandate for schools.    We have some definite areas of agreement, but I do not want to see schools cutting staff and programs in order to comply with a reform package we send their way. I am hopeful the next few weeks can bring some consensus on the budgets, education reform, mental health redesign, and commercial property tax.

Vietnam Veterans Ceremony, May 7

On May 7, Iowa will mark the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. A ceremony is planned for noon at the Vietnam Memorial on the South Grounds of the Statehouse in Des Moines. For more information, contact the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs at 1-800-838-4692 or visit

Apply for state boards, commissions

Positions on one of Iowa’s boards and commissions will be opening up June 30th. These panels advise the Legislature and Governor on a variety of issues of statewide importance.

Citizen participation is encouraged for these volunteer positions. Twenty-five boards and commissions have about 125 positions opening up. To view all boards and commissions and to learn more about the work they do and how to apply, go to


Agricultural Education, Council on

Arts Council, Iowa

Brain Injuries, Advisory Council on

Building Code Advisory Council, State

Centennial Memorial Foundation, Iowa

College Student Aid Commission

Criminal Justice Information Systems Advisory Committee

Developmental Disabilities Council, Iowa

Early Access, Iowa Council for

Fire Service and Emergency Response Council

Health, State Board of

Historical Records Advisory Board, State

Historical Society of Iowa Board of Trustees, State

Homelessness, Iowa Council on

Independent Living Council, Statewide

Juvenile Justice Advisory Council

Medical Assistance Advisory Council

Preserves Advisory Board

Public Broadcasting Board, Iowa

Student Loan Liquidity Corporation

Terrace Hill Commission

Uniform State Laws, Commission on

Vertical Infrastructure Advisory Committee, Iowa

Vocational Rehabilitation Council

Volunteer Service, Iowa Commission on

Mason City “Return on Investment” Newsletter

The newest issue of the VMC’s Quarterly Newsletter, Visit Mason City R.O.I is now available!

To view, please select the following web link to download the newsletter:

Visit Mason City Tourism R.O.I. – Jan. / Feb. / Mar. 2012

Smoking Prevention and Cessation Funding
In Iowa, from 2000 to 2010, smoking rates among adults dropped 31%, while on the national level, the rate only dropped by 25%.  There is an even more dramatic drop for young adults; 61% decrease in Iowa and a 36% decrease across the country.

A large part of these reductions are due to Iowa increasing the tobacco tax in 2007 and passing the Smoke Free Air Act in 2008, which banned smoking in public establishments.  Since this time, the number of Iowans admitted for heart attacks has dropped as well.  However, due to the reduction in funding for smoking prevention and cessation programs in Iowa, the rates are starting to level off and climb back up.

At this point, the Health and Human Services budget bill, Senate File 2336, is going to conference committee to iron out differences between the House and Senate.  The Senate proposed $5.4 million in funding, while the House only maintains last year’s level of $2.8 million.

Passenger Rail Public Meetings & Imput
Between May 1 and May 12, Iowans have the opportunity to attend an in-person meeting or go online to view a self-directed tour regarding proposed alternatives for passenger rail routes from Chicago to Omaha.  For more details about the meetings as well as the entire study, you can visit

The meetings and online tour are the next phase of the Chicago to Omaha Regional Passenger Rail System Planning Study.  The purpose of the in-person meetings and the online tour are to accomplish the following four items: illustrate the various route alternatives, explain the process used to evaluate the route alternatives, discuss findings of the alternatives analysis, and gain public input on the route alternatives.

The three in-person public meetings are scheduled as follows:

Chicago, IL – Tues., May 1, 4-7 pm at Union Station, 500 W. Jackson St.

Des Moines, IA – Wed., May 2, 4-7 pm at the State Historical Society of Iowa Building Atrium, 600 E. Locust (Free parking at garage on the corner of Grand and Pennsylvania Avenues)

Council Bluffs, IA – Thurs., May 3, 4-7 pm at Mid-America Center in rooms E/F, One Arena Way (Free parking in Lot D on the south side of the building)

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2 Responses to Steckman: No “closer to resolving the budget issues”

  1. Watchdog Reply Report comment

    April 29, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    Easy way to resolve all of this is for the Democrats to LISTEN to the people. We put the Republicans in charge to stop all this spending.

    So listen Ms. Steckman and tell your liberal friends to put the taxpayers first and stop with the bickering.

    The Democrats need to stop causing trouble in the legislature!

  2. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 29, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    As election time nears, we will hear even more from these folks. Remember, its all because they care about us. Funny how that works.