From Senator Joe Bolkcom’s newsletter:
Yesterday the Senate Appropriations Committee met twice to consider seven budget bills. The GOP-led committee had less than 24 hours to review the bills, and the public had zero opportunity to offer input. Rotten process. All the bills were approved.
IT’S TIME TO REVERSE COURSE AND PUT IOWANS FIRST
With the Legislature now in its second week of overtime, gridlock continues at the Statehouse.
We’re just starting to see budget proposals for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1. Time is of the essence, but it’s difficult to finalize a budget when some legislators still hope to pass tax changes that will have a huge impact on state finances, and mostly benefit Iowa millionaires and big corporations.
Bloated tax schemes could do irreversible damage to health care, education and public safety—especially at a time like this, when state government is making massive cuts, reducing critical services, borrowing millions of dollars to pay bills and taking too long to get Iowans their income tax refunds.
We should learn from the mistakes of Kansas, Oklahoma and other states that were forced to RAISE taxes on hard-working families when tax-cut plans didn’t produced the predicted economic growth.
I will continue to push for fiscal stability and a state budget that reflects Iowa values. That means Putting Iowans First by ensuring we all have opportunities to get ahead, including good-paying jobs, the best education in the country, rural prosperity and a great quality of life.
Provide Input on Clean Air
The state wants Iowans’ input on how to improve air quality with our allocation from the 2016 Volkswagen settlement. Approximately $21 million more from the federal government will be available in Iowa for projects that reduce nitrogen oxides in a cost-effective way.
A public comment period runs through May 25. The draft plan, developed with the help of a public survey last year, and the comment form can be found at www.iowadot.gov/vwsettlement. Specific project proposals will be accepted once the plan is finalized.
State Senator Joe Bolkcom is an Assistant Leader and ranking member on the Appropriations Committee. He also serves on the Human Resources and Ways & Means committees, as well as the Health & Human Services Budget.