This is the time in the Legislative session in which most of the budget bills are finally moving through committee and being voted on by the full Senate.
In total, there are seven budget subcommittees and a total of 10 budget bills. As the Senate budget bills come up for a vote, I voted against every single one.
There are major problems with the budget that the Democrats have put forward this year. After two years of fiscal constraint resulting in our strongest financial position in years, the Democrats are attempting to return to the same failed budgeting practices that left the state of Iowa with a $900 million shortfall.
The Governor campaigned in 2010 on passing a two year budget with a five year projection. This helps provide stability to the budget and eliminates some of the budgeting tricks that were used under the Culver administration.
The past two years, the Legislature agreed to the Governor’s request and passed a two year budget. This led to a record surplus and the most stable budget in years. It is hard to argue that this was not a tremendous success!
Unfortunately, the Senate Democrats have decided against using this successful budgeting practice and went back to the same one year budgeting practice that put the state in a huge hole. I believe we need to continue to pass a two year budget and will continue to work to make sure it happens.
Another big concern with their budget is the level of spending proposed by the Democrats. Over the past two years, we have passed responsible budgets that spent less money than we brought in.
The Senate Democrat budget returns to the days where we spend more than we bring in. Their budget spends $6.9 billion in 2014, while we will only bring in $6.8 billion. In one year, the Democrats propose to increase the budget by 11%, or an increase of over $600 million. This would be the largest budget increase in state history! At a time when household incomes are increasing by only about 1% per year, increasing government by 11% is unsustainable.
Voting for a budget that returns to the practices that caused a horrible financial situation and led to a 10% across the board cut in the middle of the fiscal year is irresponsible. I am hopeful that when the final budget is passed, we will have a two year budget that spends less than we bring in. We have come too far as a state to return to our failed budgeting practices of the past.
Tags: Iowa Senate, Iowa state budget, Senate Democrats