Every year since the Republicans have taken the majority in the Iowa House, we have stood firm on budgeting in the same common sense way that Iowa families and businesses manage their own finances. The foundation of our budgeting principles is that the state should not spend more than it collects in revenue from the taxpayers. We do not spend one time sources of money for ongoing expenditures and do not intentionally underfund known obligations, just to kick the can down the road.
By holding to these ideals, we have been able to keep the state budget on solid ground, and avoid dramatic and damaging cuts seen in earlier years.
To begin the process of building the state budget, our caucus released budget targets for the coming year, which continue our commitment to responsible fiscal management. Our targets spend less than ongoing revenue, and do not rely on one-time money sources such as the ending balance, cash reserves, or economic emergency funds.
House Republicans have prioritized spending additional revenue on the needs of Iowa’s students. In our plan, 93% of the increase over last year’s budget is directed to K-12 education. The first bill I brought forth to debate as House Majority Leader was to set education funding for the coming fiscal year and we continue to press toward timely resolution of school aid. K-12 school aid, combined with additional new investment in the Teacher Leadership and Compensation System totals $143 million in new investment in K-12 schools. House Republicans believe this is a realistic and responsible level of funding that fits within the amount of revenue provided by the taxpayers.
Two weeks ago, I wrote in my newsletter about a key piece of legislation that would benefit nearly all taxpayers. The annual “coupling” bill, which would conform state tax law to changes made at the federal level, would benefit small businesses, teachers, seniors, homeowners, parents and students. As Iowans are now in the process of filing their taxes, it is unfortunate the Senate has taken no action on this bill. I continue to hope we will be able to resolve this issue quickly, providing certainty to taxpayers and giving them a seat at the table.
House Republicans will continue to press for resolution on these important fiscal issues. Along this path, we will remain committed to responsible budgeting and sound tax policy. These foundational principles are what Iowans expect of their government.