Hi Daily Iowegian!
State budget work began Wednesday, Jan. 22 in the Iowa Senate. As this process gets underway, Senate Republicans are united in protecting Iowa taxpayers. Last year I joined my fellow Senate Republicans in voting against every budget proposal offered by our counterparts in the Senate majority. I did that for a fundamental reason: I do not support excessive government spending at the expense of Iowa taxpayers. Responsible Iowa families know they must not outspend their income; elected officials should be held to the same standard.
Only a few years ago, under a different governor’s administration, and at a time when fiscal conservatives did not control either the Iowa House or the Iowa Senate, we experienced consecutive annual spending increases of 11 percent and 17 percent. As a result of this excessive spending, Iowans were saddled with a $900 million budget deficit. And that shortfall resulted in a 10 percent across-the-board budget cut and hundreds of millions in borrowing.
Under Gov. Terry Branstad’s leadership, and with conservative fiscal discipline in the House and Senate, Iowa has made great strides down the road to prosperity. The budget deficit is gone due to common sense budgeting practices, and our “rainy day funds” are full. Senate Republicans believe in spending less than the state receives in revenues, not using one-time money for on-going expenses and not intentionally underfunding entitlement programs to balance the state budget. Senate Republicans will once again toe the line on spending again this legislative session.
As we start our budget discussions, we will address some key priorities this year such as making sure resources are available to help reduce student debt, eliminating the income tax on military pensions and expanding high-speed internet connectivity throughout the state. We also must ensure prior commitments to education reform, property tax relief and health care are met.