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Upmeyer: I-JOBS program “saddled our state with nearly $746 million in debt”

This news story was published on December 9, 2012.
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Linda Upmeyer

From State Rep. Linda Upmeyer –

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving break and you are continuing to enjoy this holiday season. It certainly is a special time of year. Be sure to take a break from the hectic shopping and holiday party scene to enjoy the simple pleasures that come from spending time with friends and family.

Iowa’s State Treasurer recently released the state’s annual ‘Outstanding Obligation Report’. By law, all political subdivisions in Iowa, including cities, counties, and the state, are required to annually report outstanding debt obligations to the Treasurer of the State.

The report shows that when combined, state and local government had an outstanding debt obligation of $14.4 billion for the previous fiscal year, FY 2012. Of this amount, cities and counties account for $8.1 billion, the state’s public universities and some state authorities are responsible for $3.8 billion, and state agencies’ share is $1.049 billion, which is broken down into the following programs:

IJOBS- $745,510,000

State Penitentiary- $134,615,000

Iowa Utilities Board Building- $20,910,000

DNR State Parks- $1,941,000

Correctional Facility Revenue Bonds- $23,325,000

School Infrastructure- $20,000,000

Vision Iowa- $111,710,000

The biggest standout from the programs listed above is the I-JOBS program, which has saddled our state with nearly $746 million in debt. The program, which was touted by the previous administration and passed in 2009, promised to create thousands of new jobs in Iowa.

Unfortunately, the program has only proven to fund the growth of government. Iowans will be paying $54.2 million per year for this program through 2034…over 20 years! Many projects funded by the program will be long gone by the time they are paid for. We could have funded these projects on a “pay as you go” plan.

No budget is sustainable if it spends more than it takes in, which is why we have pledged not to allow this type of faulty budget practice to continue. It is also irresponsible to build expenses into a budget without having a source of ongoing revenue to pay for them. We have committed to stop the practice of using one-time money to pay for ongoing expenses. Finally, in the past, one gimmick commonly implemented was to pass a budget that intentionally underfunded certain programs, knowing the Legislature would have to come back the following year to bail the programs out. Those days of dishonest budgeting habits are over. We will not knowingly underfund the state’s priority services in order to balance the budget.

Because of these commonsense principles, the state budget now has a surplus of over $688 million and during the previous fiscal year, the state reduced its debt total by $42 million. You should be confident that your state government is working to operate in the most efficient and effective manner possible. I will continue to live by these commitments, because that’s what, you, the hardworking taxpayers of Iowa deserve and expect.

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2 Responses to Upmeyer: I-JOBS program “saddled our state with nearly $746 million in debt”

  1. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    December 10, 2012 at 6:43 am

    Vision Iowa- $111,710,000… so how did Mason City get “free money” from Vision Iowa again?

  2. Creston IA Reply Report comment

    December 9, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    Maybe they should increase the funding for the state penitentiary to keep sex offenders off of the streets!