At the start of the 2014 session, House Republicans pledged to operate in a manner unlike Washington, D.C. Despite the highly partisan activities in the Iowa Senate, House Republicans proved, once again, that we can work together with Democrats on behalf of Iowans. House Republicans spent time and energy on bipartisan efforts in both 2013 and 2014 to effectively manage the state budget, create certainty for hardworking Iowa taxpayers, families and employers, and expand opportunities for Iowa’s veterans.
Effectively Managed the State Budget
While states around us struggle to make their budgets work or are strangled by debt, we have created a fiscally strong and stable Iowa by fiercely sticking to these core principles:
- Do not spend more money than the state takes in.
- Do not use one-time money to pay for ongoing expenses.
- Do not intentionally underfund entitlement programs to balance the state’s budget.
- Return unused tax dollars to Iowa’s taxpayers.
Three years ago, Iowa faced a $900 million budget shortfall. As the 2014 session ends, Iowa is spending just 91% of what our expenditure limitation law allows, our budget reserves remain full, and the ending balance is projected to be $740 million. For the second consecutive year, House Republicans led the way on debt reduction. Over the last two sessions, $225 million in debt has been retired. Challenging budget times remain ahead, and Republicans remain steadfast in our commitment to responsible, common-sense budgeting.
Created Certainty for Iowa Taxpayers and Employers
With the constant overreach and intrusion from the federal government, Republicans were keenly aware of the challenges facing Iowa taxpayers and employers and worked to lessen the burdens they face at the state level.
- Created policies that embolden Iowa employers to invest in the state and the workforce through funding for skilled worker shortage grants, workforce training, adult literacy for the workforce, and tuition assistance.
- Continued our collaboration with community colleges on workforce training and job creation and protected the funding by creating the Skilled Worker and Job Creation Fund which now houses all of the worker training programs
- Funded this at over $130 million total over the last two years
- Of this, $33.8 million went to the High-Quality Jobs Program and $1 million to help companies hire STEM interns.
- Increased Community Colleges’ ability to educate Iowa’s workforce by increasing their general operating fund by $38 million over the past 4 years, a nearly 25% increase
- Encouraged Iowans to pursue fields and careers to fill the technical and in-demand jobs Iowa employers are looking to hire. Iowa’s community colleges have received nearly $40 million in general aid increases over the last four years.
- Fought against any retreat on the historic property tax relief approved last session.