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Upmeyer: Federal budget “out-of-control”

From the Desk of Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer:

It’s hard to believe that Labor Day weekend has arrived. It has been an eventful summer and I have enjoyed visiting with many of you at various community events along the way. With classes well underway in Iowa’s K-12 schools, community colleges, and universities- the focus now turns back to academics and fun fall activities.

The newly created Iowa Public Information Board recently held its initial organizational meeting. This Board was established by the Legislature last session in Senate File 430 and was signed into law by the Governor. It is intended to provide more transparency in government through a variety of mechanisms, such as educating government entities and Iowa residents on open-records and open-meetings laws, ensuring the public has convenient access to public documents, and investigating complaints of open-records and open-meetings violations. We are looking forward to working with the Iowa Public Information Board as we move forward. Assuring Iowans that state government is operating in the most open, transparent, and honest manner possible is one of my highest priorities.

I recently read an article published in many of my local newspapers by Mid-America Publishing Corporation’s President, Ryan Harvey, that I thought was incredibly illustrative of how out-of-control the federal budget has truly become. While it may be difficult for our human minds to process just how large trillions and trillions of dollars is, the following startling numbers provide a relatable comparison:

U.S. Tax Revenue: $2,170,000,000,000
Federal Budget: $3,820,000,000,000
New Debt: $1,650,000,000,000
National Debt: $14,271,000,000,000
Recent Budget Cuts: $38,500,000,000

Remove eight zeros and pretend it’s a household budget:
Annual family income: $21,700
Money the family spent: $38,200
New debt on the credit card: $16,500
Outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710
Total budget cuts: $385

Regardless of one’s party affiliation, these numbers should be extremely eye-opening and concerning to all Americans. Anyone who has ever managed a personal or family budget knows that spending more than you take in is completely unsustainable and unacceptable.

American families are faced with tough decisions every day on how to best manage their personal finances. Choices must be made and priorities must be ranked. Government should be expected to do the same with your tax dollars.

In contrast to the federal government, my caucus has a proven record of responsible, strong budget leadership. Iowa’s state budget is balanced…and we refused to use any budget gimmicks to get there. Instead, we remained determined not to spend more than we take in, not use one-time dollars for ongoing expenses, and not underfund commitments we have made knowing the Legislature will need to fix it down the road. As we move forward, we will continue to focus on these principles in order to return more of your hard-earned dollars back to your pocketbooks.

As always, I appreciate hearing your thoughts and concerns. If you have any feedback, please don’t hesitate to contact me at linda.upmeyer@legis.state.ia.us or 515-281-4618.

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