Guest post from Representative John Forbes
As a small businessman in Urbandale for 35 years, I know numbers don’t lie and you must pay close attention. To be successful, you need to keep an eye on your income and expenses, and watch the bottom line.
At the Legislature, someone hasn’t been minding the store.
As the Iowa General Assembly heads into its final few weeks, lawmakers will turn more attention to the state budget. It is disturbing to know that a $927 million state surplus in 2013 has now turned into a $130 million deficit.
The Republicans in control have largely failed to efficiently and effectively manage the state budget. Iowa is now tapping cash reserve funds to meet our obligations.
I have written before that I believe the state budget deficit is due in a large part to corporate tax giveaways now topping $500 million annually. Those tax breaks are supposed to generate new jobs and other economic growth, but that just hasn’t happened.
Instead, economic growth has slowed. Additionally, the Branstad-Reynolds administration has failed to deliver on its promise to raise family incomes by 25% and create 200,000 new jobs.
The Republican Party has pledged not to spend more money than is collected, but they have broken their own budget principles by using one-time money to fund ongoing expenses.
As a result of this mismanagement, Iowa faces significant challenges in the 2018 state budget. Elementary and secondary education are languishing. Iowa’s great public universities and their students are being starved under the Governor’s new spending plan for 2018.
The Iowa Skilled Worker and Job Creation Fund is being slashed. These are the programs we need, to help Iowa families lift themselves up, and provide skilled workers needed by employers all over the state.
Further cuts will hurt Iowa’s most vulnerable citizens: seniors, the disabled and children. Iowa is simply not making the basic investments needed to keep our state growing and vibrant.
I believe Iowa would not be facing these challenges if the party in control had spent more effort managing the state budget, instead of looking out for their corporate donors and outside special interests.
They have abandoned their own fiscal principles at the expense of hard working Iowans.
Iowa students and working families are now being forced to pay for tax giveaways and fiscal mismanagement.
Iowa lawmakers and the executive branch must restore financial discipline to the state’s budget making process and make sure that Iowans aren’t paying the price for the party in control’s excessive giveaways.
Fiscal discipline is both what the state can afford and where those dollars are invested.
The state budget should be rebalanced to prioritize a skilled Iowa workforce over top down economics, and to put people before corporate welfare.
by John Forbes