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Legislative Update 05/14/2015

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Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means. -- Ronald Reagan


Legislative Update

Friends,

You might notice that this week’s newsletter has changed!  As we close this legislative year out, I strive to balance what you sent me here to do, which is to bring our Northwest Iowa values to the concrete of Des Moines, with responding to your e-mails, phone calls and personal visits as best I can with reduced resources.  As in the past, I endeavor to keep you informed and so the pared down newsletter is an attempt to do just that.     

In regards to our budget issues, progress is being made in many facets that have divided the GOP-led Iowa House and the majority Senate Democrats.  GOP Representatives are still having conversations on a compromise to boost the proposed state aid of 1.25 percent with the addition of a one-time disbursement of $55 million in fiscal 2016, as well as a commitment to set the state aid growth rate for K-12 schools for fiscal 2017 yet this session.

Some would say that it’s just House Republicans that need to be responsible with our state budget.  However, the Sioux City Journal recently published an editorial stating the following:

“Spending no more next year than the state will collect strikes us as the most prudent budget option for lawmakers…”

“Spending surplus dollars should only happen as a last resort if absolutely no alternatives exist, and we don't believe the state faces those dire conditions.”

“Cavalier reliance on using surplus money simply because it's there is unwise fiscal practice and could create bigger budget problems for the state down the road.”

“Resisting the short-term temptation to tap reserve funds this year, even if it's a little painful, is in the state's best long-term interests, in our view.”

“Lawmakers should be creative in examining all possibilities for stretching state dollars, but they should remain disciplined.”

“For the next fiscal year, the state should live within its means and leave its savings account alone.”

Switching gears, I need to address the bird flu disaster.  Legislators were contemplating authorizing use of the state’s economic emergency fund similar to what was done to facilitate recovery from the 2008 flood.  State officials now believe, however, that the governor’s emergency declaration will allow state agencies to make requests for additional disaster funds related to this outbreak.

Secretary Bill Northey has stated that the state does not have sufficient estimates on influenza-related costs, but noted that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s indemnification program would cover much of the cost of the birds, as well as the depopulation and disposal of these birds.  It would not cover the state costs associated with the monitoring and testing, however.

I encourage you all to stay in contact with me.  I can be reached through my website, www.willsforiowa.com, by phone at 712-330-9492, through my Facebook page under username “WillsforIowa” or through my legislative email, john.wills@iowa.legis.gov.  I look forward to continued interaction with you throughout 2015 and better understanding what thoughts and issues are of the most concern to you.
 
Sincerely,

Representative John H. Wills
 


Legislative Priorities 

2015-16 HOUSE REPUBLICAN BUDGET PRINCIPLES

House Republicans are committed to these principles to produce a balanced and sustainable state budget:

  1. We will spend less than the state collects;
  2. We will not use one-time money to fund on-going needs;
  3. We will not balance the budget by intentionally underfunding programs; and
  4. We will return unused tax dollars to Iowa’s taxpayers.
The House Republican position on government spending is reasonable, sustainable and based on simple common-sense budgeting principles.
 


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State Representative, John H. Wills
Governor, Terry Branstad
Iowa Legislature
Iowa Judical Branch
Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey
Secretary of State, Paul Pate
State Auditor, Mary Mosiman
State Auditor, Mary Mosiman
State Senator, David Johnson
State Treasurer
U. S. Congressman, Steve King
Senator Chuck Grassley
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