IOWA HOUSE REPUBLICANS
“Be sure you put your feet in the right place, the stand firm.” – Abraham Lincoln
July 1, 2011,
On Thursday, June 30th, the House has finally adjourned. Being my first session I had nothing to compare it to. But history says it was the 3rd longest session to date. It lasted 172 days. The learning curve was high. I got to help draft some legislation, floor manage a couple of bill and even got a one signed by the Governor. It will be a year to remember.
I realize there has been a lot of frustration about the perception that we were not moving fast enough to reach agreement on the many issues that divided us. The reason it has taken so long is because the majority in each chamber have very divergent views as to the philosophy of government and the level of spending. It was not until the Senate agreed to the spending level, $5.9 billion, which the two sides finally began to move together. In the period of one week both chambers in a bipartisan manner hammered out their agreement and passed out a budget of $5.9 billion.
I recognize some of the frustration that was felt by those who thought our spending proposals were inadequate. However, as I have said before, we needed to exercise fiscal discipline and construct a budget that would be sustainable in the years to come. For the past 8 years the state has spent more than it has taken in. Last year was the culmination of this practice with the spending of $650 million of federal one time monies in our budget. This year that federal money had to be replaced. In Medicaid money alone we used $450 million of General Fund money to backfill Medicaid, our health services for the poor.
The budget we passed this year represents 97% of the money received including the ending balance. We will come back next year with the resources and the opportunity to address additional needs while passing a budget we can afford. It just took a year of “dieting” to get us on the right track. The big frustration this year was our inability to address property tax reform. I served on the Ways and Means Committee. Our Chairman Representative Tom Sands worked very hard on designing a plan that the House felt would be very effective in reducing the property tax burden of all Iowans. It involved property tax relief for commercial property as well as reducing property taxes that support our K12 education. The Senate had another version which would offer income tax credits to relieve the property tax burdens of small businesses. The two chambers could not come to agreement. We continue to have some of the highest commercial property taxes in the nation. We will be back here to address this again next year.It has been a pleasure to serve as your representative this session. It has been an exciting one and I think we have accomplished much. I realize it has taken some time but I think that time has been well spent and after May 1st it was on our dime and not yours. I will look forward to visiting with you in the coming months until next January. I will be attending several parades and events and will remain accessible at all times to your concerns and needs. Always feel free to contact me. I am at your service. See you next year.
My mailing address is:
Lee Hein, State representative, State House, Des Moines, Iowa 50319 Phone: 515‐281‐3221 E‐mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Or my homes address:
Lee Hein, 11989 Richland Rd., Monticello, Iowa 52310 Phone: 319‐465‐5805
If you have any issues or concerns, please contact me. Be sure to include your name and address with any communication.
State Rep. Lee Hein, R‐Monticello, represents the 91st House District, which includes all of Jones County and the southwestern Dubuque County.