End of Session Thoughts
As I spoke in my newsletter last week, there was talk of an agreement on the big number (total amount of spending). If that number held, we would be putting the finishing touches on the 2015 session this week. It did and late Friday afternoon the session came to a close.
During budget negotiations, Senate Democrats pushed a spending level of $7.3509 billion. This is 102.3% of on-going revenue and obviously well above the on-going revenue number of $7.175 billion. As we have done since the 2011 session, House majority held firm to our budget principles resulting in an agreement that has the state living within its means. Under this plan, the ending balance in FY 16 is projected to be $262.8 million.
As has been the case every legislative session since 2011, the holdup to adjournment was the spending appetite of Senate majority. Every year they push to spend more than the state collects and every year House majority hold the line while providing workable solutions to spend within our means.
The House Republican budget plan spends 99.9% ($7.175 billion) of on-going revenue ($7.184 billion) ensuring that government does not spend more than it has and lives within its means. This is a 2.48% ($173.8 million) increase over FY 15. The Senate Democrat plan was to spend 102.3% ($7.3509 billion) of on-going revenue. That is a 5.10% ($356.6 million) increase over FY 15. House Democrats, partisan to the end, advocated spending the $7.490 level allowed by our outdated expenditure limitation law.
Why do we in the House maintain our budget principles? Because the money is earned by hardworking Iowans, we have a responsibility to protect the taxpayers, who go to work, play by the rules and pay their taxes. Those Iowans expect to be treated with respect. That is why House Republicans will stand up and protect their money every day. Every dollar the Legislature spends that it doesn’t have, puts the financial security of those taxpayers and families in jeopardy. Responsible budgeting ensures Iowa’s most vulnerable citizens have resources they can depend on next year and the year after.
Iowans are sending $7.184 billion to state government coffers. That is a tremendous amount of money. Spending more than they are sending to the state sets hardworking taxpayers up for either future budget cuts or a tax increase.
So for the fifth straight year, the Legislature has set a budget that spends less than we take in. With the uncertain economy, I believe it is a budget that meets the needs for Iowa and its residents.
With the summer upon us, I will be busy at the farm, participating in parades and attending events throughout the district. If you see me, give me a wave or say hello. I always enjoy hearing what is important to you and the district. Have a fun and safe summer.
As always, please feel free to contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 319-480-1997 if you have concerns about any issue.
Rep. Lee Hein