Report, week 5

Iowa House of Representatives
State Representative

Lee Hein

Address: State Capitol, Des Moines, IA 50319 Phone: (515) 281-7330
E-Mail: lee.hein@legis.state.ia.us Website: http://www.iowahouserepublicans.com/members/lee-hein
Iowa House Republican Newsletter
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House Republicans: Align Spending with Ongoing Revenue

On Thursday, February 10, House Republicans were set to announce targets for the FY 2012 budget. The targets will fulfill the campaign promise of aligning ongoing spending with ongoing revenue.

House Republicans are proposing to align ongoing spending with ongoing revenue in FY 2012. This is in contrast to the last four years when ongoing revenue was not sufficient to cover all of the increased spending demanded by the former governor and Legislature.

According to the Governor, the FY 2011 budget (approved by Legislative Democrats and former Governor Culver last year) spent $6.35 billion. This includes $872 million in expenditure shifts, which are general fund expenditures that were funded by one-time and other funds.

For FY 2012, the Governor’s recommendation for FY 2012 general fund expenditures is just over $6.1 billion, or a decrease of $185 million compared to adjusted FY 2011. This is the first budget proposal in five years to align ongoing revenue with ongoing spending and it does it in the first year (FY 2012).

House Republicans agree believe that ongoing spending must be aligned with ongoing revenue and therefore will proposebudget targets that accomplish that goal.

House Republicans’ budget targets will spend $477 million less than the expenditure limitation under current law. This is because current law allows the one-time surplus of $298 million from FY 2011 to be used to fund ongoing expenditures in the FY 2012 budget. In addition, the $119 million from the extension of the federal tax rates should not be used for new spending.

The Taxpayers First Act, House File 45, establishes a Tax Relief Fund to capture the one-time surplus and revenue from the federal tax rate extension to be used for tax relief. This surplus is due to Iowans being overtaxed and should be not used to grow government spending. The tax relief likely will be in the form of lower property taxes, lower personal income taxes and lower corporate income taxes.

These targets will not be easily achieved without difficult work being done to eliminate unnecessary and duplicative programs and spending. But this work must be done in order to ensure the state has the ability to fund the priorities like taking care of the most needy and keeping the public safe.

The budget subcommittees will meet jointly until it is time to approve a bill. The House will start the following bills: Taxpayers First Act, Administration and Regulation, Education, Transportation, RIIF and Health and Human Services. The Senate will start the remainder: Federal Block Grant, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Economic Growth, Courts, Justice System and Standings.

House Republicans believe that the taxpayers should finally have a seat at the table and ongoing spending must be aligned with ongoing revenue to ensure that the budget is sustainable in the future.

Getting Government Out of the Way of Iowa Businesses

House Republicans believe that an important component of job creation and fostering a positive economic climate means government getting out of the way of businesses. There are a number of ways that Republicans are working to reduce burdensome regulations.

The first of these is a tour with Legislative Republicans and the governor, hitting the road and talking with Iowans. They will stop in 10 communities across the state collecting ideas from all Iowans on what administrative rules are getting in the way of business. Republicans are traveling to Ames, Newton, Oskaloosa, Sioux City, Council Bluffs, Cresco, Cedar Falls, Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, and Burlington. Legislators will return to Des Moines and to implement the proposed ideas to remove these road blocks.

The Economic Growth committee will also be discussing a number of bills related to administrative rules. HF 176 requires that state agencies go no further in administering rules or policies than the specific requirements of the corresponding federal law or policy. This means that federal rules or policies would be the ceiling with which the state could compare, not the floor. Federal regulations are quite enough, we don’t need the state to make them even more burdensome. HF 181 is a bill that provides an automatic sunset to all rules five years after their adoption. This act forces a constant updating and review of rules that can become outdated and overly burdensome.

House Republicans are committed to easing restrictions and regulations on business. Removing these barriers will allow for a reduction in burdens on businesses and to increased job creation.

Property Tax Relief is on the Way

HF 189 provides $47 million dollars in direct property tax relief to Iowans passed the Iowa House in bipartisan fashion on a vote of 73-22. Over the last few years, decisions by the legislature have placed a heavy burden on the backs of property taxpayers. This bill helps ease that burden.

The budget guarantee last year for schools was $25 million. The increase this year will be $22 million for a total of $47 million.

In previous years, property taxpayers were forced to pick up the cost of increased funding. Many Iowans are seeing the result in their property tax bills. However, House Republicans are committed to fully- funding the state’s share of allowable growth to stop saddling property taxpayers with a growing burden.

HF 189 covers the budget guarantee increase resulting from fully-funding zero percent allowable growth now moves onto the Senate.

The State will honor its commitment.

By fully-funding zero percent allowable growth, this gives schools certainty, while at the same time protecting Iowa property taxpayers from the large increases they have experienced the last few years.

Our spending reflects our values

Education remains the top budget priority. The state will increase school funding $215 million dollars, but will not continue the recent practice of shifting that burden onto the backs of all property taxpayers.

This helps rural and small schools.

This bill will help schools with declining enrollments maintain their spending levels. Over 277 school districts will receive a budget guarantee.

Protects Iowa property taxpayers

This bill eases the burden of runaway property tax increases, while putting more money into the hands of everyday Iowans to invest, spend or save as they chose.

Recap of Week 5

In this week I had the opportunity to meet with superintendents from the district, representatives from Early Childhood Iowa, and Jones County Limestone Bluffs Resource Conservation and Development.

This weekend I will be attending a forum with the Jones County Farm Bureau in Olin at Selma Café from 9am-10am. On Saturday, Feb 19, I will be attending a forum in Oxford Junction at Shackey’s from 9am-10am. I will also be attending a forum in Monticello on Saturday at Whiskey River Pub & Grub at 10:30am. These events are open to the public. Please come with any comments, questions or concerns you may have about any issues affecting your community and the state.

As always, you can contact me at lee.hein@legis.state.ia.us or (515) 281-7330. Also, if you are ever in Des Moines make sure you stop by the Capitol to visit.

Sincerely, Lee Hein

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