Traditionally, voting on the department budget bills signals the end of a legislative session. The budget process lasts through much of the session. This year, the process was tweaked to move things along faster than in past sessions. House Republicans and Senate Democrats sat down together and worked on joint budget targets, which were presented several weeks ago.
House and Senate leaders proposed a joint budget target of $6.972 billion, which is nearly $3 million below ongoing revenues. The proposed Fiscal Year 2015 budget is an increase of 7.4 percent over the FY2014 budget, more than double the historic revenue growth of 3.6 percent. I remain very disappointed that we continue to grow Iowa government at this unsustainable rate
These joint targets also do not include a one-time funding bill funding bill as we did last year. If history does repeat itself — and it usually does — then I expect the big spenders in the legislature to make one last push to increase spending in a one-time funding bill. As I often say, there are all sorts of ways to spend other people’s money, but that’s not our job. I will continue to resist any efforts to grow government.
There is a general feeling around the Capitol the 2014 legislative session is soon coming to an end. We look forward to being back in our home districts, and talking to our constituents about the issues important to them. As this session wraps up, we will also be saying goodbye to a few of our colleagues.
Republican Sens. Nancy Boettger, Hubert Houser and Sandra Greiner will all be retiring at the end of session, along with Democrat Sen. Dennis Black. I will personally miss all of these experienced legislators.
Sen. Boettger of Harlan has been in the Senate for the last 20 years, first being elected in 1994. She has worked tirelessly to create a strong learning environment for our children and improve the quality of life for Iowans. Sen. Houser of Carson has been in the Senate since 2002. He has been a champion of renewable fuels and growing Iowa’s agriculture economy. He is ending his four-decade career in public service. Sen. Greiner of Keota has been in the Iowa legislature since for more than 20 years, including the last four years in the Iowa Senate. She has worked diligently for Iowans to improve water quality, agriculture and the environment. Sen. Dennis Black has served 20 years in the Senate following 12 years of service in the Iowa House. Sen. Black is a champion of conservation projects with a special passion for Iowa’s woodlands.